If you live on the East Coast or even just follow your favorite metal bands on Instagram, you’ve probably heard of St. Vitus Bar. Over the last five years the Brooklyn club has become one of the necessary stops when coming through NYC.
And one reason the spot has become so popular with bands is because it’s run by half of a band. David Castillo and Arthur Shepherd from Primitive Weapons are the co-owners, which gives them a particularly accurate insight into how to make a show rule for everyone involved.
This Friday, April 15th, is both the 5th anniversary of Saint Vitus Bar as well as the release date of Primitive Weapons’ new album, The Future of Death, on Party Smasher Inc. So to celebrate here is David Castillo looking back on some of his fondest memories so far:
It’s really hard for me to qualify my favorite shows at Vitus. I have been to so many that I love, and I hate making music into a competition, that’s what sports is for. So here are eleven stand out moments in my mind in no order. Find me at Vitus and I can talk about 50 more over a few drinks.
Yob – Second Fly Out/Pitchfork Collaboration
We have flown Yob out twice to do multiple shows but the second one still stands tall in my mind. The only reason for this is, I thought it was impossible for them to get any better. They destroyed that concept by playing earth-shattering 2+ hour sets each night that left the audience slack jawed. You must see this band if you haven’t.
Young Widows – Easy Pain Show
I think Young Widows are one of the best and most underrated bands in the United States. These guys always put on a killer show with their custom light-up cabs and pounding goth/noise rock/Swans-ish stomping jams. This show was unique though because they played their entire new record Easy Pain in full BEFORE it came out. I had no idea how it would go, but the house was packed and they absolutely crushed it.
Quicksand – New Years Eve
There are few bands that are more quintessentially New York to me than Quicksand. I grew up loving them and the fact they played the bar still blows my mind. I will never forget champagne being sprayed everywhere while the opening drum fill to “Fazer” came roaring off Alan Cage’s drums. They were in TOP form.
Portal – MDF Collaboration
Getting Portal to play was something I really wanted to happen but seemed highly unlikely due to their Australian home. Then one day Evan from MDF reached out to us to do this show and it exceeded all expectations. The way they brought their signature atmospheric noise/death metal to life with their compelling visual was very impressive.
Hearing classics like “The Doorway” and “Through Silver in Blood” played live in our space was an absolute honor. Beyond how impressive the band was, was also just how awesome their entire camp was. Putting together a show with as much production detail that a band like Neurosis requires, in a space like ours, is no easy feat and they slayed it. Top to bottom it was magic.
Nirvana – Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame After Party
It’s not every night you drink a beer and watch J. Mascis and Joan Jett play with all the surviving members of Nirvana. Totally surreal.
Merzbow – Blackened Music Series
It’s amazing seeing a master at work and this is exactly what we got for not one but two sets in a night. Merzbow destroyed everything and the inclusion of Balazs on drums was a really explosive and welcome addition. Many thanks to Adam Shore for bringing this to life.
Virus and Krallice – Stardust collaboration
My friend Stefan travels the world seeing metal. He for a long time told me about his aspirations of bringing over Virus and we finally made it happen. It was pure magic as people flew in from all over to catch their one of a kind post punk/metal hybrid. Putting them next to Krallice was also particularly satisfying as the Brooklyn band is one of the most unique bands to emerge from the United States. It was a mind bending night.
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Pure fucking energy. When I think they can’t raise the bar they do somehow. It’s like being in a life-affirming riot. The shows they did at Vitus were another level. What DEP do, no one else does.
Gorguts has always pushed the envelope and with the addition of Dysrhythmia’s Colin Marston and Kevin Hufnagel, they just took it to the next level. I love Colored Sands and when they played those songs live it was pure dominance. Luc Lemay may also be the greatest guy ever.
It’s fucking Carcass!