Black Note Graffiti put together a wonderful mix of rock, metal, and rap for a showcase called Burn Fest 2022 at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.
You know how you see a band’s name and then check out their music online and think, “Man, I need to go check them out.” And that thought pops up again and again as you see the band has a show here or there, yet for whatever reasons, you’ve got shit already booked and can’t make it. Well, Black Note Graffiti is an Ann Arbor alt-metal band that I’ve wanted to check out for a couple of years and finally made it happen.
For Burn Fest 2022 at the Blind Pig, Black Note Graffiti rounded up a diverse mix of rap, rock, and metal. This is one of the few festival shows I’ve been to that does a great job of mixing up the genres and keeping it cohesive and fun. They also ran everything right on schedule with minimal changeovers. In between sets, DJ Ondemand kept the flow going and covered the rappers during their sets. The Blind Pig has done a lot to get their sound rocking, and the legend Adam Wilkinson manned the soundboard and had every band dialed in and sounding fabulous.
Just as doors opened, Adam Snyder took to the stage for a short solo acoustic set. Adam’s vocals are resonant, warm, melodic, and moving. Many times singer-songwriters are great storytellers but not the best vocalists. Thankfully Adam has both the gift of a great voice and introspective stories. On top of that, the man is a fantastic guitarist. I’ll check out more of Adam’s music and see him again.
From the southside of Ypsilanti is S.L.I.M. Ready. With DJ Ondemand running the tracks, S.L.I.M. took command of the stage with a voice all his own. I can’t begin to provide an adequate review as my background in rap is slim (no pun intended). However, it was clear that S.L.I.M. Ready felt at home on the stage and drew the crowd’s attention.
Bringing stoner rock goodness with a progressive edge is the Distilled Tongues. I can’t get enough of the gorgeous rock this band generates. Having seen Distilled Tongues the night before at the Parliament Room at Otus Supply, I could compare the performances. The Distilled Tongues sounded a bit tighter and heavier at the Blind Pig. Not sure if the band was feeling more crowd energy or if the stage sound was propelling them forward, but I had a distinct feeling that they were feeling good and ready to rock. If you haven’t checked them out, do it! In particular, if you love the blues-based hard rock of Captain Beyond, Earthless, and Atomic Bitchwax. The best song in the Distilled Tongues set was the heavy groove in “Backslide.”
Sage of Six
Next up is Sage of Six. Sage of Six uses some great soulful, jazzy mixes as the foundation for his poetry. His raps were on point, with melodic notes thrown in for good measure. The crowd got into his set with plenty of cheers and a few folks bouncing. He’s got an extensive collection of music available that you should dig into.
Never pass up an opportunity to check out the full metal jacket assault of Nagazi. These guys tore it up at Oigs Fest and repeated their onslaught at Burn Fest 2022. Nagazi were out for blood, with Joe raging with malice as the guitars of Andy and Matt roared with rabid ferocity. Propelling the music with fury is the spirited rhythm team of Nakkim and Jeff. Together Nagazi generate a focused blast of metal that combines the groove of Pantera and the aggression of Lamb of God. They gave a top-notch performance at this show.
The speed of the rap from Shoto was astounding. The ability to deliver lines fluently at high speed is a phenomenon to behold. I felt winded watching this man cast his rhymes like a machine gun. Shoto drew the fans in close and ripped it up. Sadly, I could not find any links to his music, so if you know them pass it along.
The Holy Warheads
My first introduction to the Holy Warheads was at Oig’s Fest 3 back in 2018, and I’ve been long overdue to see them again. Tonight at Burn Fest 2022, they were on fire. The Holy Warheads sound has Tool’s rhythmic pull and melodic drive with the gritty angst of Sunny Day Real Estate. These qualities make the music magnetic. I felt the need to stand up front to feel the blasting wave of majestic heaviness from the Holy Warheads radiating through me. I recommend seeing this band if they make it to your neck of the woods.
Hillbilly Knife Fight
The most unique and intriguing band on the stage tonight is Hillbilly Knife Fight. They play a distinctive and heavy mix: part metal, part punk, and part hard rock. Hard edged guitars, thunderous rhythms, vicious vocals, and horns gel into mean yet bouncy tunes that infect you with the need to pogo or mosh. Hillbilly Knife Fight makes music perfect for a rowdy evening of beer drinking and hell raising fun.
Black Note Graffiti
Closing out Burn Fest 2022 is our host’s Black Note Graffiti. Their new album Volume 3 – Fall is nuanced, highly melodic, and heavy. Being able to experience their music live is money well spent. This band is extremely talented, and their performance at this show was magnificent. The drums are concussive, and Kurt Keller plays them with unbridled passion. Cementing in the low-end is the pulsing bass of Adam Nine.
The guitars of Kris Keller and Ricardo Ortiz ride the driving rhythm creating textured and aggressive riffs. They employ effects and technique to deliver a sound that is compelling and bold. The vocals of Gabrielle Bryant are exquisite. Her performance was powerful and dynamic, combining melody with intensity. When you add in the seething backing vocals from Richardo, you experience the might of the music of Black Note Graffiti in full force.
We’ve got a ton more pictures from Burn Fest 2022 in our gallery. Check them out!
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