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Metal shows and outdoor festivals in full bloom 

click to enlarge Sevendust: Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon's soulful vocals are among the Atlanta alt-metal band's greatest strengths. - TDC PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • TDC Photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Sevendust: Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon's soulful vocals are among the Atlanta alt-metal band's greatest strengths.

One of the pleasures of being a fan of what might simply be summed up as "heavy music" is that metal-inspired subgenres weave and mutate with their own strange twists and turns, largely unbothered by the trends of pop culture at large. Sure, some offerings from decades past might sound a bit dated to modern ears upon revisiting, but there's never really been a "bad" time to be into heavy music.

And while the musical press quickly turned against the late-1990s/early-2000s era of "nu metal" (after previously heaping outright-hyperbolic praise on early efforts by the likes of Korn and Slipknot, it must be remembered) don't let anyone fool you. Those days, too, were a good time to be into heavy music.

While the upcoming 71Grind IV, quite metal-ly billed as "The Final Chapter," will supply fans with plenty of the best contemporary bone-crunching noise and fury from June 8 to 10, the Black Sheep has a couple blasts from the not-so-distant past hitting its stage this week.

Wednesday, May 23, sees Atlanta's own Sevendust make a stop at the Sheep right on the heels of their 12th studio album, All I See Is War, which was released earlier this month. The Grammy-nominated band can boast three consecutive gold-certified albums and has enjoyed a degree of longevity and prolificness that's eluded many of their contemporaries. The distinctive, often soulful vocal work of lead singer Lajon Witherspoon is among the band's greatest strengths, though one would be remiss to neglect guitarist Clint Lowery's contributions. Sevendust will be joined at the Black Sheep by Memphis May Fire, Fire From the Gods, Madame Mayhem, Iridium A.D., Fall From Silence, Against Himself and Ovira.

The ringing in your ears may not have subsided by the time the ever-theatrical, masked Mushroomhead make their Black Sheep appearance the following night, May 24. While the Cleveland-based band apparently was first established as a side project and used their masked stage costumes and pseudonyms to distinguish this new project from the members' preexisting bands, their second-ever show was opening for GWAR. Just try to imagine that. Currently a seven-piece band, they might also be the only metal act you'll catch where two band members play water drums. Supporting Mushroomhead will be Vyces, Ventana, Gabriel and the Apocalypse and Align the Tide.

Of course, not everything this week will be pushing the decibel levels to the limit — Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and of course that means it's MeadowGrass time. Check out our interview with headliner Ron Pope to get yourself in the mood, then prepare to survey a typically eclectic lineup for the festival's 10th year, featuring supergroup The New Orleans Suspects, Austin indie-Americana outfit Blue Water Highway, Virginia folk quartet The Steel Wheels, alt-country singer-songwriter Nicki Bluhm, and many more, including plenty of local acts of note.

If that weren't enough to do over the weekend, Old Colorado City's 43rd annual Territory Days will also be in full swing from May 26 to 28, featuring, as headliners, Australian country singer-songwriter Morgan Evans, Rikki Dee Hall's VooDoo Hawks, and two Denver-based acts — the Michael Hornbuckle Band and outlaw country outfit Ryan Chrys & The Rough Cuts — not to mention a slew of local acts peppered throughout. And go ahead and park in front of local singer-songwriter Chuck Snow's house while you're there; he definitely won't mind.

Finally, the Rocky Mountain Summer Music Festival is a three-week affair taking place at the Colorado Springs Event Center, and its own proceedings kick off the weekend of June 2 to 3 with "Country Weekend," where you can catch performances from Whiskey Kate, Amon Copeland, Drea Van Allen, Sargent's Sargent, Ryan Davis and Something Like Yesterday.

Send news, photos, and music to reverb@csindy.com.

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