Druids, Shazu, Karat's Gold 8/17 (Rock, Metal, Doom Metal, Mathcore)
Druids (Des Moines, IA) - Rock, Metal, Psychedelic
Growing up in the small rural farm towns of Iowa can have an effect on youth coming into their own. For the most part, people tend to stay in their bubbles, work in the towns they grew up in and the world stays as it has been their entire lives.
As young kids, Luke, Keith and Drew would daydream about playing music in front of crowds, much like their idols Metallica and Iron Maiden. Finding others to share this love and longing for musical joy was fleeting for most children, but there was something about this world that stuck for the trio. Long days spent air drumming and shredding on invisible guitars to downloaded Napster rips of ‘Ride the Lightning’ and ‘Enter Sandman’ soon transitioned to real instruments, real songs and real audiences.
When Luke Rauch (Guitar/ Vocals) and Keith Rich (Drums) decided to form Druids and make music together, this was exactly what they were rebelling against. Being in small communities with little to no creative outlets, the craving to do more, to see more, to create something beyond hometown conventions, was percolating.
The duo had met a few years prior, touring with another band and became fast friends. With a love for occult imagery and stories involving ritual and hooded figures, it was inevitable that the marriage of dark imagery and love for heavy metal would culminate into something more.
In 2008, Druids formed out of necessity with hopes of being able to play their brand of heavy riff-laden fuzz and devastation to people beyond their starting point of Pella, Iowa. In a short period of time, the two-piece had their first batch of songs, which became ‘Pray For Water’. Gaining momentum in the capital city of Des Moines, the band had opportunities to play with several touring acts. They continued to write songs, becoming more complex while pushing their own personal boundaries and abilities to create something new. Something had to change, something had to fill out.
When time came to round out the Druids sound, the option for a bass player was a clear one: Luke’s brother, Drew. Shortly after forming, the band had their lineup solidified, bringing a new level of tone, sonics and wall-shaking power. Soon after this, ‘The Sound of Meditation’ was born, showcasing new licks, a penchant for solos and increased textures to provide another flavor to their repertoire. It was around this time, the band decided to plant their roots somewhere more suitable to cultivate their creative endeavors: Des Moines.
The songwriting was becoming more consistent, while taking adventurous turns into genres on the fray of heavy music. Incorporating melodic rhythms in juxtaposition with the wailing solos, Druids was forming into something different entirely. But what, it had yet to be seen.
Druids continued playing shows, but felt the need to switch it up. Life changes were happening, full-time employment as well as Keith’s move to Kansas City, Missouri. The band’s songwriting was up in the air, unsure of how to tackle the new material from afar. Searching to find the inspiration to base songs around, science fiction and fantasy took hold and a new path was forged.
The worlds of films like Krull, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dune gave way to a whole new breadth of ideas, concepts and lyrical content. This was the world building opportunity that the boys were looking for. Their long-time love of equal parts Tolkien and the vastness of space became the fuel for the proverbial fire.
‘Cycles of Mobeum’ soon took shape, the band working weekends to flesh out the new material and tighten up the songwriting. Even with the distance between them, Keith and the Rauch brothers would meet up regularly to rehearse, write and keep the songs evolving. The band, feeling good about what would become ‘Cycles,’ had decided it was time to switch things up, to put their music to the ultimate test: Druids would become a regular touring act.
Upon the release of ‘Cycles of Mobeum’, the band hit the ground running, playing weeks upon weeks through the vast United States, exploring new territories and promoting a conceptual space epic in record form. Luke, Keith and Drew came into their own in a live setting, providing intense, face-melting performances, finding out that people beyond Iowa’s borders enjoyed their output as well. The buzz on-stage translated to a buzz off-stage as well. Druids was becoming a regional act with a growing fanbase.
The excitement of the warm reception to the album had the trio ready to ferociously attack the drawing board, working out new riffs, new drum stylings, meatier bass hooks and exploration of vocal approaches. Following the heavy year of touring, Druids began writing diligently, preparing songs for recording with producer, Brandon Darner (Radio Moscow, Dave Kuening of the Killers), to up the ante and bring a new dynamic of their songwriting to the table.
‘Spirit Compass’ was born out of a drive to outdo themselves, show growth and build upon melody and psychedelic moments, while keeping heavy riffs at the forefront. The process of writing and recording this new record had became a call to arms. Playing abilities were stretched to new limits for all three players, testing their limits on the skins and fretboard. Vocal harmonies transitioned into a more refined sound, building upon their previous lung power to sustain notes and melody.
Fans of Druids were eager to hear this new release, resulting in a sold-out show at the end of 2017. Ending the year on a high note, this band was far from slowing down: they worked harder and hit the studio at the beginning of 2018.
The forthcoming album, ‘Monument’, is a testament to a decade’s worth of songwriting chops they have worked hard to hone, crafting more forays into new territory, expounding on their newly stretched skills. As the characters in their songs have become tried, tested, scarred and changed, Druids bare those growing pains of experience in like-kind. ‘Monument’ promises to be a blistering 30 minutes of the band’s most confident work to date, putting every ounce of hard work and tenacity they could muster.
Druids has no plans of slowing down any time soon, hitting the road for the majority of 2019 in support of the release. Excited to share the new songs with new audiences around the US, this will prove to be the boys’ best year yet.
The album will be released on Kansas City-based label, The Company (Hyborian, Inner Altar) on April 19th, 2019.
Update: The album is AWESOME. Druids killed it at nightshop back in June! We LOVE Druids! Also, what an epic bio!
Shazu (Urbana, IL) - Doom, Post-Metal
A great power emerging out of the earth takes form; it shifts in clouds of fog, slowly taking an ill-defined shape. At first the shape is still but just as the lines become defined it starts to move. It is driven forward towards an unsuspecting world, where it will seize the minds of passers-by and force them to follow.
This power is Champaign-Urbana's newest post-metal/sludge band SHAZU. The three piece's debut EP is what you've been waiting for all these years, even though you had no idea it was coming. Shazu layers stoner and psychedelic qualities over an aggressive and unrelenting foundation of sludge riffs and abrasive textures.
You will come to Shazu for the heavy bass tone, the unabating torrent of the drums, and the guitar work that sucks you in only to strike you from point-blank range; but you will keep coming back for the finer details: the lyrics that call attention to "those who chose the shadows," the air the band lets hang artfully between heavy blasts of sound, and the thoughtful tone the album carries with it; inviting you to sit and chew on the ideas being presented, to listen until you fully understand what it is that makes Shazu so powerful.
Karat's Gold (Central IL) - Math Rock, Whitacore
Karat's Gold is a wild and crazy 3 piece Mathcore band. They have been playing for over a year around central IL, opening for bands like Weedeater and Signs of the Swarm. Their fast paced dissonant notes and genre-bending jams will suck you into their realm with ease!
All Ages Until 10PM