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words by Doug Moore, photos by Caroline Harrison
Mike Scheidt, 7/21/2012
Saturday night (7/21) saw an unusual double header at Saint Vitus. The intimate first offering consisted of metal dudes playing decidedly un-metal acoustic music: Mike Scheidt (YOB), Nate Hall (US Christmas), and Kevin Hufnagel (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia). Prurient's post-midnight set offered latecomers a noise-addled second helping. (More on that later.)
Kevin Hufnagel is best known for shredding guitar performances in NYC prog-metallers Dysrhythmia and the death metal legends Gorguts. As a solo performer, Hufnagel cuts the volume dramatically; his recent run of live shows have focused on his baritone ukulele compositions. Though the medium has changed, Hufnagel's voice remained audible. His labyrinthine pieces demonstrated both scary chops and a gift for ghostly melody.
With a broad-brimmed hat casting his face in shadow, Nate Hall cut a Neil Young-esque figure onstage. His plaintive voice tended to wobble off pitch at times, but it's endearing--the kind of mistake that signifies sincerity. Hall fell in line with seemingly every metal musician who dabbles in acoustic balladry (Scott Kelly, Wino, Dax Riggs, Steve Brodsky, etc.) by paying tribute to Townes Van Zandt --his covers included "Kathleen" and "The Rake."
Mike Scheidt is one of the most talented musicians in metal today. His set made it clear that his voice is just as potent as his guitar work. (His considerable fretboard skill did make an appearance via a Doc Watson-influenced flatpicking exhibition.) Scheidt's vocal tone is simply superb; it reverberates with a fluid vibrato that many dedicated singers would envy. His voice illuminated a short but enthralling set that featured a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" alongside a string of originals.
Kevin Hufnagel will return to Saint Vitus on August 22nd for a date with Wino of the bar's namesake band and others (tickets).
Pictures from the early show at Saint Vitus are below.