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Warped Tour says farewell while sludge metal stays the course 

click to enlarge Automatic Loveletter’s Juliet Simms waves goodbye at a 2015 Warped show: The emo-centric rock roadfest has announced that next summer’s tour will be its last. - STERLING MUNKSGARD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com
  • Automatic Loveletter’s Juliet Simms waves goodbye at a 2015 Warped show: The emo-centric rock roadfest has announced that next summer’s tour will be its last.
If I had to offer one piece of advice to my younger self, it might be to listen to more sludge metal. Sure, that sounds completely arbitrary, but hear me out: Metallica is all well and good when you’re 14, but you could save a lot of time — and a couple bucks on that eventual, naive purchase of St. Anger, with its tin can drums — by just diving headfirst into the slower, heavier stuff.

Luckily, I’ve seen the error of my pubescent ways, and I (as well as you) can make up for lost time by reveling in the appearance of New Orleans’ own Crowbar at the Black Sheep this Friday, Nov. 24, joined by a decidedly hearty support lineup of Revocation, Tombs, Incite and Tricounty Terror.

Sludge metal, for the uninitiated, combines the ultra-heavy, slow, downtuned menace of doom metal with the abrasiveness of hardcore punk and the dissonance of early industrial music. As an interesting twist, since most of the bands closely associated with the genre sprang up in the southern United States, just a bit of Southern rock usually finds its way into this eclectic, Black Sabbath-worshipping stew, as well.

Aside from being a seminal sludge metal band in and of themselves, Crowbar is perhaps the perfect “hub” band for the genre, as the personnel joining rhythm guitarist/lead vocalist Kirk Windstein since the band’s official inception in 1991 have included members of fellow genre mainstays Eyehategod, Down and Corrosion of Conformity, as well as Black Label Society.

Crowbar’s 1993 self-titled album was produced by Windstein’s childhood friend (and Pantera frontman) Phil Anselmo, and earned the band international notice, with its associated singles “Existence Is Punishment” and “All I Had (I Gave)” even receiving airplay on MTV. The record also contains a blistering cover of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” which is probably a great litmus test for those who are curious. Their latest record, 2016’s The Serpent Only Lies, keeps up both the consistent high quality of their material and their intense heaviness. Bring some earplugs and prepare for the distinct possibility that this band’s punishing low end will rearrange some of your organs.

If you’re looking for a show that’s a good time but won’t actually relocate your spleen, Seattle-based folk punk act Bobby’s Oar will be playing the Triple Nickel on Nov. 25. Earlier this month, the band — which features frontman/guitarist/banjoist Greg Hughes and a revolving cast of friends — released the sophomore album Not What I’m Looking For, a collection of kinetic, introspective, working-class anthems. While this particular Bobby’s Oar tour finds Hughes playing solo, the album features some excellent horn arrangements sure to appeal to everyone’s inner Neutral Milk Hotel fan. See if you can snag one of the limited-edition, blue vinyl pressings at the show!

Meanwhile, in the breaking news department, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman has announced that his roaming music festival will take one last victory lap around the country before calling it a day. The 2018 jaunt — which will include a July 1 Denver date — marks the end of an era for an annual tour that, over the course of 23 summers, hosted more than 1,700 bands and entertained some 11 million fans. How this will affect the future of the Emo Movement is as yet unknown.

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