People have lately been saying that heavy metal is back in New York. "I didn't know it went anywhere," says Hellshot bassist Otto Hoering.
Hellshot, playing loud fast and thrash-y, is among the bands playing Tuesday night at Trash Bar in Williamsburg, the sort of place where most of the patrons are living in 1989 or somewhere thereabouts (and still wearing the jeans and Slayer T-shirts to prove it) and a Judas Priest song is never far from anyone's lips. Hellshot go on at midnight (appropriately the bar will be offering a late night special of PBR and a shot of Jack to realize the band's name). Rounding out the pre-Christmas bill are The Pinatas, Sekond Skyn, Dadfight, and Barons in the Attic.
Over the past couple of years, in the wake of Rock Band and Guitar Hero giving everyone the notion that getting up on stage isn't much of a stretch (it is), the comparatively restrained rock and roll karaoke (where people sing with a live band instead of pre-recorded music) has succumbed to Punk Heavy Metal Karaoke at places like Arlene's Grocery, Fontana's (where one can see bands with names like Born of Scars and Hell Bent Hooker almost any night of the week) and Southpaw.
The new school is a mix of those like Hoering, for whom the song has long remained the same, and a younger generation looking to let off steam and an excuse top bang their heads. Or an excuse to drink PBR and whisky all night. Either way.