By Drea Atkins
May 9, 2016
Charlotte has always been a town with a struggling local music scene. It has waxed and waned over the past ten years, but now more than ever there is a diversity represented that truly means there is a niche for everybody. Recently, the musical landscape has taken a few hits with the loss of Tremont Music Hall, The Chop Shop, Tommy’s Pub, and we’re about to add the Double Door Inn to that list. In April, The World Famous Milestone Club announced that it, too, is facing the looming danger of shuttering its establishment if desperately needed repairs and renovations are not completed soon. With urban development on a continued rise in the Queen City, it is vital for the local music industry that neighborhoods have places to experience and support live music. Local music represents the pulse and culture of a city. What would New Orleans be without jazz? Austin without rock? Nashville without country? Musicians give their cities an authentic hook that cultivates community.
The Dirty South Revolutionaries give a damn about the local music scene. Blood, sweat and screams, they have led the way in fostering an appreciation for all kinds of music to make sure area and visiting bands know that all boats float in a rising tide. Their music is punk/metal: aggressive, intelligently complex while still giving you headbanging, face-melting fun. One thing you won’t find DSR promoting is discrimination of any kind. If you have a problem with people of a different race, creed, gender, or sexual identity you won’t find friends in them or their music. They are a disorderly brotherhood with a positive mission.
Formed in the QC over a decade a ago, the original idea was to make a super group of local talent to combat fighting and backbiting in the punk and metal scene. While the lineup has changed over the past decade, their hardcore vibe has remained. They have grown a family of fans and offspring acts inspired by their high energy stage presence. Currently with two singers (Adam Lane and Johnny Moss), two guitarists (Sam Fleming and Tyler Bryant), bassist Jesse Glanz and drummer Viken Tashijan, their big sound dominates with as much melody as it does heart-pounding rhythms. The diverse backgrounds of each musician creates intrigue among their songs and, particularly in their more recent album Dead Astronauts, offers something unexpected from a typically heavy band.
While DSR is forever busy with their own gigs and writing and recording new music with Dead Peasant Studios, they are never too busy to support a local act or touring group. They go out of their way to pump up and shout out those who are grinding away at their craft. They have a group mindset to make big and lasting changes to the music community.
Dirty South Fest, a four-day music festival from May 25-30 to celebrate and support local musicians and venues, is the brainchild of one of DSR’s two front men, Johnny Moss. Moss and Michele Rutherford used to run a small promotion company called Dirty South Promotions and came up with the festival in order to reach across the aisle, building solidarity and striving to end elitism among different genres.
But why even support a struggling local music scene? Is it because some of these bands have gone on to make history? Maybe because places like The Milestone are literally the oldest standing punk clubs on the East coast and their walls are dripping with musical legacy? After a recent DSR band practice, Moss had this to say: “The goal of Dirty South Fest is solidarity and rowdiness. We are one city, one people, one tribe. It’s all music. The passion to perform is what keeps it going.”
Adam Lane offered some fun stories of the very first Dirty South Fest and how it came about:
“I can remember the very first Dirty South Fest ever. It was in August of 2004, in a tiny building called Queen City Underground (Which eventually DSR named its first album after) which is now the area of NC Music Factory. I was 20 years old at the time,playing with my first band Denied and singer Brennon Campbell and I dressed in women’s clothing for some reason. Corset, stockings, skirt, high heels and that was the beginning of all of it. Every different style of band was on there. That was the first night we all went back to Stephen Stoner’s (original DSR guitarist) apartment and began what became a ritual of different types of people like punks, goths, metal heads, emo kids, straight edge, drug dealers, gang bangers, nu metal kids and whoever else you can think of all thrown in the mix of one big party.”
Now in it’s 11th year, there is a hefty lineup of local stars, some seasoned touring acts and scene newbies to rock out at The Station, The Rabbit Hole, The World Famous Milestone, Thomas Street Tavern and the Rodeo Sports Bar. To name a few, this fest features Green Fiend, Hectorina, Smelly Felly, Dollar Signs, The Body Bags, Queen City Rejects, The Bleeps and so much more! Expand your comfort zone Charlotte and get out to one of these venues and spread love to your friends and neighbors by having a rowdy time!
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