By Enforced (link)
As the world opens up and the gears of the music industry — particularly the live segment — start to churn once more, it’s important to look back on the Year of Devastation to remember how we were all impacted. Bands, music venues, promoters, crew, labels, etc. experienced the worst case scenario. As a way to cope with the catastrophic events of last year, we’re relying on memory of what once was in order to move forward on what will be — back to normal live shows! To that end, we asked Richmond, Virginia-based crossover thrashers Enforced to give us their Top 5 list of music venues up and down the East Coast, since that is the rampaging outfit’s primary stomping ground.
Herewith, Enforced have tapped their favorite music venues from Washington, D.C. and Worcester to Pittsburgh to Richmond. While most of the picks were based of positive live experiences, it’s very clear that these selections are homes away from home, where friends, colleagues, and fellow industry folk work and play. Decibel understands that these aren’t the only music venues out there, but that these are the places near and dear to Enforced’s riff-based hearts. So, call out if you’ve been to these venues… Or, let us know which venues you’d like to spotlight in the comments section. We’re all in this together. Let’s thrash!
5. Songbyrd Basement
This venue is in downtown Washington, D.C., and has been doing more punk and hardcore shows since the beloved Pinch closed. There is a restaurant/bar upstairs and an intimate venue with a decent stage and sound system downstairs. Highly recommended. They also give you free food and booze. That always helps.
4. The Rock Room
Pittsburgh, PA has a few venues that are similar to the next three mentioned. Our favorite to play is the Rock Room in Polish Hill. It feels like a basement but it really is a bar. It helps that Gooskis is right down the hill and you can always get food prior to the gig.
3. Ralph’s Rock Diner
Ridiculous metal and punk venue in Worcester, MA. You can only get hot dogs and chips for food and cheap, cold domestic beer from the bar. The upstairs is where the venue is at, and we’ve played a few packed gigs with our brothers in High Command here. Some of High Command also works at this bar, so it’s always nice to feel welcomed by your friends at a bar they have a hand in running. Big stage, good capacity, and all around a grimey, sweaty, raw venue. Oh, and they’ve wallpapered old hustlers and playboys all over the bathroom.
2. St. Vitus
In many ways, St. Vitus resembles Strange Matter, except it’s in Brooklyn. This is why it feels like such a home-y place for us. I have also been to many legendary shows here, and played with a lot of different bands in that venue. I think last year — or between 2019 and 2020 — we played Vitus like 5 times. Every time it feels just like home.
1. Strange Matter
For many many years 929 W Grace St. has been a palace of metal, hardcore, punk, and all things alternative culture in Richmond. This property provided us with many of our band’s “first shows” and we’ve all seen legendary acts absolutely demolish the stage. Sadly, in 2019 the venue closed its doors and right now sits vacant on W Grace St, which is becoming increasingly taken over by the sprawling campus of VCU. Alternative music venue? How about another student housing complex, fucking assholes.
** Enforced’s new album, Kill Grid, is out now on Century Media Records. The hard-hitting, skull-splitting cross-over thrash attack is available (HERE) on LP, CD, and t-shirt. Take Enforced’s riffs to the head or go home dead!