Doc Maynard's

Neat. The title of this column is pretty literal this week. Well, actually, not so neat for all the folks who e-mailed to profess outrage and despair about the closing of Pioneer Square hard-rock fixture Doc Maynard's. The good news is that Doc's isn't actually closing, per se; live music will continue in some as-yet- undetermined capacity. The bad news is that said live music likely won't consist of the unsung, working-class metal they've fallen head over heels in lust with, as beloved veteran booker Ditch, the one-man army behind State of Siege Productions, is on the way out.

"Beloved" may be a bit of an understatement. This is the kind of guy who gets hugged more than Vito Corleone, only out of love and respect, not fear. This is the kind of guy who gets hauled onstage for backup vocal duties when he doesn't even know the lyrics. He and his regulars are the kind of people who talk about metal, hardcore, and punk rock "saving their lives" and "speaking to them" with an otherworldly, eye-to-eye conviction that somehow overwhelms cliché.

The "family" may end up migrating to the Central Saloon for the hard stuff after March 4, the date of Doc's final State of Siege soiree, which will feature standbys Dissonance (Ditch's pick for breakout Seattle band of 2005), Enkrya, Severus, Underdose, and Mandatory Tough Guy Kleenex. Still, last Thursday's sparsely attended show had its share of melancholy, with the animated, copiously inked big-brother figure taking the stage before opener G.A.W. to toast, "Let's treat this not as the end of an era but the beginning of something new somewhere else."

Ditch stuck around to cajole the clustered faithful and thrash about for Oakland's chicken-strutting Domeshots, whose frontman cleverly kicked things off by eviscerating Britney's "Toxic," then neatly alternated between death-metal barks and jittery, melodic cattle calls. An even better pop reference, although I'm not sure if it was parody or homage: The drummer was rocking an airline pilot's hat and no shirt, à la the muttonchopped weenie from Jet.

The audience thinned substantially for power-trio headliners Reverse, which was a shame. Their dirty originals lacked identity, but they covered Probot's "Shake Your Blood," did an instrumental thrash take on Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name Of," and secured residence in this writer's heart forever by ending with Helmet's—you guessed it—"Unsung." Poetic injustice, anyone?

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