This past weekend, I went to see Code Orange (formally Code Orange Kids) at Strange Matter, a small venue located right off of West Grave Street. My group waited in line for an hour for doors to open, then another twenty-five minutes until we were inside the small venue. For those who haven’t been to Strange Matter, it’s a grungy venue, with writing on the walls, lights placed in weird designs on the wall, old video game stations, cheap drinks, and a constant source of music. Not only that, you also get to witness all different types of people that show up to see up-and-coming bands preform for the rowdy college kids that make up their fan base. All of this combined leads to an atmosphere of pure energy as bands jump onto stage. This energy is harnessed well by the bands, as I witnessed watching Code Orange preform.
Code Orange is a hardcore transitioning sludge metal band hailing from Pennsylvania, currently touring with 4 members, led by Reba Meyers, the band’s guitarist and vocalist. Currently touring with Twitching Tongues, the band is looking to promote their new album, I Am King. Strange Matter reported that the band did in fact sell out the show I attended, confirming the success of the new album, and the band’s new sound.
The set list was a mix of old and new. The band played songs from an older EP, Cycles, as well as their first album, Love is Love/Return to Dust, before progressing into newer material. The band was incredibly enthusiastic for a droning sludge metal band; they showed an incredible stage presence, playing guitar while preforming strange and violent acts of hair whipping and head-banging. Joe Goldman, the band’s bassist, looked incredibly scary throughout the show, and will have no need for a Halloween costume if he wants to scare children this coming Halloween. However, he did combine nicely with the methodical beats and harrowing vocals provided by Jami Morgan, the band’s drummer and screamer.
Each band member seemed to feel perfectly at home in the cloud of music surrounding them on stage. Their music sounded incredibly similar to the recorded music that my roommate and I have blasted for so long, and the audience agreed. The crowd inside the cramped venue was whipped into a frenzy throughout the 40 minute set. The mosh-pit became a place only those wishing to seek a painful death would enter, and people flew on and off the stage, back into the churning crowd of smelly teenage rebellion, pitching and yawing across the floor, until the last chord was played.
The band members seemed to be incredibly human after the show, and were willing to stand outside the venue, talking up fans, show officials, and others that had vacated the venue after seeing the main attraction of the night. For a very metal band, the members are incredibly cool. I would highly recommend seeing the band, if only for a taste of the sludge metal scene that is rising up in the music world.