It's metal out the wazoo at the Festival of Fury

The Bottle Rockets with Geraldine and Lords of the Highway

Grog Shop, 1765 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights 10 p.m., Thursday, February 17



Biaxadent: Banned but not broken.
Biaxadent: Banned but not broken.
It's metal out the wazoo at the Festival of Fury

The metal band Biaxadent will play its first Cleveland show in six months on February 19 at Peabody's DownUnder (1059 Old River Road), where it will headline the third annual "Festival of Fury." Other bands on the bill include KKC, Cardavercous, Speakeasy, Netherborne, and One Hand Clapping. Banned twice from the Agora, Biaxadent, which played a warm-up gig of sorts on February 4 at the Nyabinghi Dance Hall in Youngstown, claims to be one of Cleveland's most controversial acts. For its live show, the group -- which includes singer-guitarist Dion DeSantis, singer-guitarist Steve Pae, guitarist Mike Ray, singer-bassist Shawn Pasbrig, drummer Stephen Beltowski, singer Jennifer Reiser, and singer Mike Moran -- uses lots of fire and simulates sex onstage. DeSantis, who says he's caught his hair on fire only once, hasn't had the best of relations with club owners and promoters, in part because of the band's reputation for its outlandish stage antics.

"Without a doubt, people have tried to hold us back," says DeSantis, who formed the group four years ago. "Other bands have purposefully booked shows against our shows. We were the original band that started the Spotlight [local booking agency] boycott. I was approached by a couple members of higher ranking bands in Cleveland, who convinced me to be the dumbass to open his mouth. I had no problem doing that, considering all the bad things that happened between us and Spotlight."

Boycotts and bans aside, the high turnover in the band has made it difficult for Biaxadent to finish recording a new album. DeSantis says that the group has completed the follow-up to its debut, 1997's The Dawn of Eternal Nights, but has yet to come up with the money for duplicating the CDs. He also said that, because the membership of the band has changed recently, he intends to record a few different songs that the new lineup has worked out, which will further delay the album's release. While not necessarily a concept album, the new release continues the theme of The Dawn of Eternal Nights, which concerned a girl whose mother died of "a government-created disease" and then turned to "a life of sex and drugs to deal with her sorrows" before being saved by a vampire, as DeSantis explains it.

"The whole band was supposed to be a group of vampires, but I'm the lead vampire because I wear the fangs -- no one else can seem to get them to stay in their mouth," he says. "I don't know why. That's kind of the image of the Goth, but the brighter side of it. We're interested in love and sensuality, as well as the effort it takes to maintain a fucking life and try to be happy about it. We've been labeled doom metal and black metal, but we just create music. We're heavy and in your face. People ask what we sound like, and I have nothing to refer to. We sound like Biaxadent. We really do have an original sound -- just like Cryptkicker. They sound like Metallica here and there, but they have their sound."

If it all sounds rather Spinal Tap, DeSantis says the band is simply out to entertain audiences, rather than appeal to the lowest common denominator.

"It's more about not looking like a bunch of potato heads," he says of the band's affinity for elaborate outfits and theatrics. "We'd rather not stand up there in jeans and T-shirts. We don't really talk to the crowd. If I'm there to see Pantera, I am there to see music and give people something they don't normally get -- a little more action."

Tickets to the "Festival of Fury" are $6, and the show starts at 7 p.m. Call 216-241-0792 for more information.

On February 19, Trilogy will host a rave called "Asia." The DJs scheduled to perform include Bad Boy Bill, Rheka and Joy, Navdeep and Jayatsu, and Ming and FS. Ming and FS, who put out one of the best drum 'n' bass records of last year with Hell's Kitchen and dubbed their unique, mix-and-match style of music "junkyard," are worth the price of admission alone. Locals 7up, Sammey, Joe Kidd, Zeb, Centric, and Lovenug will also perform. Doors open at 10 p.m., and tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door before midnight, and $30 after midnight. For more information, call 216-556-0205.

Send local music info and fake fangs to [email protected].

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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