Live Hops: Skeletonwitch/Havok @ Cherry Street Station/Wallingford, CT

Last week I got the chance to check out a great metal show at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford, and also interview one of the guys from Havok.

Cherry Street is only about 20 minutes from my house, but for some reason I’d never been there before. I like the way that its set up- it’s spread out with the front room holding the stage, and the bar in the back. There’s also ample seating outside where you can bring your brews outdoors. Beer list was fairly standard. I was happy to see the cheap beer of choice skewed more Narragansett than Budweiser. In my opinion, even if you’re going to drink shitty beer, it might as well be local. Not expensive either- Newcastle bottles and Guinness drafts both cost $4.

Shallow Ground, Early Graves, and Pristina started off the show and they all killed it. Havok and Skeletonwitch headlined the show. I had never seen Havok before, but they were fantastic, full of energy. The last time I saw Skeletonwitch was on a boat, so this time I thrashed just as hard, but without getting seasick.

I chatted about beer and music with David Sanchez of the band Havok, who does lead vocals/guitar. He said that he’s a stout-lover and really likes Guinness, so we sat down and had a pint before the band went on stage. Havok started in 2004, and they are an incredibly hard-working band that does a lot of touring and puts on a hell of a show. I know a lot of bands on tour often have to settle for whatever beer is available. Sanchez agreed and said that they will usually drink anything, but when a nice stout is available, that’s the style he goes for.

Havok is from the Denver, Colorado area, so I asked Sanchez to tell me where he likes to hang out and drink at home. The 3 Kings Tavern and the 1-Up were his two top picks. 3 Kings Tavern has live rock every night, as well as comedy and burlesque shows throughout the month. Sanchez told me 1-Up is a video bar, so I recommended one of my favorite places to drink in Jersey City (and Brooklyn!), Barcade. You can never go wrong with beer and video games, in my opinion.

Havok most recently released an EP called Point of No Return, and a full length called Time Is Up in 2011, both on Candlelight Records. Right now, Sanchez said that Havok is working on some new riffs and plans to record a new album next year. He said they come up with new material spontaneously. The band has recording gear at their house, which makes it easy for them to record the new ideas that come up quickly.

Although Havok has played at large venues as well as smaller bars like Cherry Street, Sanchez says that he doesn’t find a difference between big and small places. “As long as there’s some people there that want to see some rock and roll, I am happy to provide that, it doesn’t matter where it is.”

With so many great records coming out this time of year, both metal and non, Sanchez said that right now the records he’s been listening to are Terra Incognita and Gojira. His musical taste also draws from other non-metal directions, as Sanchez also told me that he’s been listening to Oingo Boingo, Mr. Bungle, and Beethoven. He said that he takes influences from all those places in his performing and songwriting.

Having a beer with someone can be a complex experience, so I asked Sanchez who he would want to have a beer with, dead or alive. The first people he named were Freddy Mercury and James Brown. I can’t imagine having a drink with the two of those guys together, but I know it would be an amazing thing to imagine.

The first half of Havok’s current tour with Skeletonwitch has Early Graves opening, and the latter dates will have Mutilation Rites. Check out the rest of the dates here.

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