photo credit Mark Palmer
Tucked away in redeveloping Five Points, the Roxy Theater (2549 Welton Street) is becoming one of Denver’s favorite venues. Under new management for roughly two years, the Roxy is dedicatedly supportive of underground hip-hop and metal performers. The small staff are friendly, and the pours more generous than comparable downtown bars. Security enjoys the shows so much that they can be nigh indistinguishable from fans, and the relaxed atmosphere makes minimal demands on their attention. The local scene is built on collaboration, and the partnership between the Roxy and Manik Aggression Productions is iconic – every show reinforces the value these entities place on loyalty.
The V-Day Metal Massacre show was slightly shorter than usual, with only four acts, but this meant enjoyably long sets. As always with MAP shows, there was no want for intensity. Beyond the Descent was a powerful opener, bringing widely varied riffs to every song with seasoned musicianship. Solid crowd representation turned out for the first act of the evening, and it was all the more impressive given that it was their debut show. It’s not surprising that this new group was highly anticipated, however, since the lineup is comprised of local veterans including former members of bands such as beloved staple group Sanity’s Edge, as well as the second act, Public Display of Aggression.
PDA are known for their infectious crowd engagement, and their set was characteristic of their zany niche. Their single “March of the Damned” (familiar to some from 106.7 KBPI‘s Top 6 At 6) is a mover with its rousing chant, and the rest of their lengthy set was equally evocative. Throughout their rocky history since 2009, this resilient group has blended increasingly heavy flavors into their songs, approaching death textures, but still display their eclectic slew of influences. PDA are a paragon of inclusiveness among bands, and their fan appreciation is apparent in the crowd’s vociferous loyalty.
Following PDA’s act were Arise in Chaos, fitting seamlessly into the night’s themes with experienced and brutal performance of their thrash- and prog-influenced tunes. The moshing was as ceaseless as the strategically employed double-bass, and the solid set was over too soon for everyone except those exhausted in the pit. Then the headliner of the night, popular veterans NephiliM, took the cake in live energy even against these worthy contenders. Drummer Johnny Romero was so lively and entranced in his music that one cymbal stand kept teetering (but somehow never fell). Their “sludgecore” sound definitely hits that nerve that hardcore fans crave, and kicks some thrashy backbeat flavors as well.
Manik Aggression Productions are known for their sense of camaraderie, and their shows always deliver not just an enjoyable fan experience, but also a uniquely welcoming one. Between MAP’s skillful booking and the overall friendliness of the venue, the atmosphere is one of great respect, and lends itself to an incredible live show. MAP events regularly occur at the Roxy – don’t miss their annual March of the Damned show on March 16.