A Very Cherry Christmas

OFNR Presents: A Very Cherry Christmas

Who says the spirit of Christmas is dead? Bands and fans converged to Cherry Street Station in Wallingford, CT on December 17th to give back to an establishment that has been an a stand for local CT metal in recent years. OFNR (Official Fucking New Radio), an independent internet radio station from Waterbury, hosted the evening broadcasting the entire show live from their designated booth. They made it clear that Cherry Street is in no danger of closing, however the metal community wanted to show their support far all that Dennis, the owner, and his staff have done for them.

I pulled into a nearly full parking lot around 7:15pm, which for most occasions I've been to here, whether attending or performing, it's usually just populated with the bands' vehicles this early. The cover charge at the door was shockingly only $5 and all the proceeds would go directly to Cherry Street as a thank you from the metal community. At such a low door charge, a list of 8 bands on the bill, and a really worthy cause, there was absolutely no reason one should have passed up on this event. At 7:30pm the place was populated with more people I've ever seen there and more and more came through the door to show their support.

I began to see familiar faces of bands I've gigged with in the past including Tim and Nick from Shallow Ground, Brenda from Continuum, the guys from Eyes of the Dead, and many more. The Bagman from the Nation of Decimation, producer Knob, and the many CHAOS shirts of the 47 CEOs of OFNR (long story on that one) could be seen all everywhere I looked. Scott, the sound guy, was on his usual course checking last minute details before show time. Setting the atmosphere were decorations that were somewhere between halloween and Christmas, which included black lights and even a mini fountain with plastic severed fingers floating in it. The man of the evening, Dennis, the owner of Cherry Street, came in a bit later and tended bar for the rest of the night. I asked him if I could get a few minutes with him for an interview for this article, however it was pretty clear he would be stuck behind the bar for the rest of the evening serving up drinks and getting some face time with Cherry Street supporters. Time probably better off spent.

With a total of 8 bands on the bill, it was going to be a non-stop onslaught of CT (and some NJ) metal throughout the night. The 1st band, Symphony of Malice, kicked off the evening at around 8pm followed by Cursed By Reason. The night continued with killer sets by both Eyes of the Dead and then Stagger, who's guitarist broke his headstock on his solid body SG. By 10pm there were severe traffic jams in the bar area and very little breathing room on the floor. This was the most packed I'd ever seen Cherry Street. Continuing the lineup was Cyperna, Risk All In Life, Darkness Descends and finishing it off was Lightsbane and throughout the night the occasional pit broke out.

One point in the evening I managed to track down and corner OFNR's boardman and show producer, Knob for an interview. I found him outside taking a break from his duties as one of the hosts, stealing a minute or 2 to suck down a cigarette. Here's what he had to say about the event:

A lot of people put this event together for Cherry Street, because quite frankly we're tired of fucking seeing really great venues like Cherry Street going out of business like Daniel Street: In january they're closing their doors. Enough is enough. We here, at OFNR and the Connecticut metal scene, have had enough. We will not let another great fucking venue go unheard, unknown. Come down to Cherry Street.

This is the show of shows tonight. It's all about Cherry Street Station, but the thing is it's not all about Cherry Street Station. It's about all these other places too like Cook's, the El 'N' Gee, the Heirloom Arts Theater in Danbury. Occupy a mother fucking venue for once. Do something good. Help the community. Help the independent scene. Without you, without the fans, there is no independent scene. So it's time to fucking wake up and get down to these shows every chance that you can, because you're going to see some awesome fucking music here in Connecticut.

Shout outs to Dead By Wednesday. Shout outs to Eric from Curse of Her Flesh. Shout outs to all these people that are out here tonight to support the metal scene here in Connecticut, because this should not be a state that goes missed. "Oh, we'll do Mass, we'll do New York, but forget Connecticut. There's nothing going on." Fuck that. There's a really lot of awesome music going on here. We brought 2 bands out of New Jersey to come up here tonight to play for Cherry Street. This is where you want to be. Connecticut metal is where it's at.

Taking a step back and really exploring what was done for Cherry Street Station that night opens up hope that the Connecticut Metal scene can be a working community of supporters. There are a few kinks in the chain that need to be worked out, but as a whole metal is alive in CT and can collectively make a difference. With independent radio stations like OFNR and venues like Cherry Street going on strong and constantly enjoying growth spurts, CT metal bands have an outlet for exposure, which will eventually help restore the states reputation for birthing bands like Hatebreed, Dead By Wednesday, and Fates Warning.

About the author

Agrippa is a the general adviser, internet tech sorcerer, and a reporter for the Metal Cyndicate of Connecticut, as well as the author of his own blog about music and music production, Agrippa: Thought Manifest. He can also be found fronting his own band, Agrippa93, on vocals, synths, sequencers, samples, and piano. Agrippa also has an industrial solo project called, Agrippa’s Laboratory. Both projects are produced through his label and studio, Sickle Pation. You can follow him on twitter via @agrippa93, or email at a93@mac.com.