Maybe you’ve passed Krugs Place on East Street before and didn’t think much of it. From the exterior, it looks like a typical neighborhood establishment nestled in a benign strip mall, but on the interior it’s much more than typical every week between Wednesday and Sunday. For almost five years now, Krug’s has been carrying on the hard rock/ death metal scene tradition in Frederick that was fueled in the past by places like the Braddock Inn. On Wednesday nights, Krug’s usually books touring bands passing through to bigger cities. The booking agent isn’t any newbie either, Lakotablue or LB for short also has connections with the Ottobar in Baltimore and pulls in a lot of great bands. Thursdays will be the start of a new open mic night and Fridays, Saturdays, and/ or Sundays are prime time for local tri state bands.
In the past Krugs exclusively booked mostly grindcore and death metal bands, but more recently have expanded to more hard rock and punk genres. For instance, I ventured in on a Wednesday night and was entertained by not one, but four bands ranging from melodic progressive rock to blues infused metal and good ol’fashion thrash metal. First up was local Middletown boys, Admiral Browning who did a nice job jumping right into to their set (literally no hesitation) and warming up the crowd for the rest of the night with their own brand of groovy grunge. Next up was a local favorite, Backwoods Payback from West Chester, PA. Backwoods Payback have been regulars at Krugs over the years, but that night was kind of a welcome back since they hadn’t played Krugs in about six months. There were definitely some loyal Backwoods Payback fans in the audience and on a Wednesday night created a pretty good “pit” like crowd. Backwoods Payback was one of two bands that night with a female bass guitar player, which I thought was interesting and totally unexpected. The out-of-towner-touring band of the night was Caltrop from Chapel Hill, NC. By the time they went on stage the crowd was at it max, about 15 folks minus the other bands and everyone was still buzzing from Backwoods Payback. Caltrop kept up the mojo by breaking out a unique variety blues infused metal rock and some pretty stellar guitar playing. Listening to their collection of tunes on MySpace, doesn’t really do them justice in my opinion. While the recordings are clean and tight, they seemed to have more of jam band style at Krugs that night and I kind of liked that. Either way, I greatly respect artist who can mix genres well. Lastly, local band Lord stood in for Ol’Scratch who is currently on hiatus and finished the night with some classic thrasher style jams. They were the other band who sported a female guitarist and the crowd seemed to be quite happy with the Lords and their energy. In fact, the lead singer and female guitarist were playing off stage in the crowd and the drummer was placed right up front, talk about in your face.
Overall, Krugs is definitely the best place in town for consistent performances on a Wednesday night and I have few negative critiques on the venue itself. First, the things I loved about Krugs include the opportunity to see some great musicians playing just a few feet in front of you and the chance to interact with band members in a low-pressure environment. Even if you’re not a really hard rock fan, live performance junkies and aspiring musicians will find satisfaction in these two things. I will mention that the volume is cranked up pretty high at Krugs, so tender ears will definitely want earplugs. My only notes to Krugs Place is to work on the sound board vocals a bit more and reduce the vibration in the room. I have only visited once, but the vocals were off that night and there was noticeable vibration coming from somewhere. Neither of these things however, prevented me from enjoying the shows. Check out some pictures from the show.
Related Links: Little White Pills @ Krugs Metal Underground Review Photos From 6/23/10