Sharkey’s Event Center in Liverpool, New York hosted the Pure Filth Festival, a one-day outdoor festival featuring both new and legendary metal bands, with a focus on Thrash Metal in particular. The roster included Exodus, Municipal Waste, Voivod, Integrity, and five more bands.
It was a surprisingly chilly day in upstate New York for the festival – overcast and in the low 60s. While it was weird weather for early summer, we couldn’t complain about the heat and it didn’t rain so that’s a good day for a festival. Sharkey’s is a bar and grill, with outdoor activities like beach volleyball and a venue for events The music was set up on one stage erected at the end of an open covered structure, like a big building with a roof but no walls. It is a great way to provide shade around the stage and the outdoor bar was just a couple of steps away.
Year of the Cobra started the show. They are a doom-oriented duo with bass/vocals and drums. I am continually amazed by acts like this when they can fill the space with music using so few instruments, and Year of the Cobra definitely laid down the heavy. Savage Existence followed them with a more traditional arrangement, turning up the tempo a little and helping the crowd shake off the cold and stomp some more blood through their veins.
I was really looking forward to seeing Bewitcher live. I heard their most recent record lately and was ready to see what their performance would be like. The trio pasted the stage with energy and gave the festival-goers a hard pounding thrumming. They play a speedy version of blackened metal that hooks you from the first beat. Great set! They have made my list of bands I will drop everything to see whenever they are around.
Extinction A.D. pushed off into a more hardcore thrash direction. Was it a coincidence that the sun came out for the first time that day when they were on stage? Maybe. They engaged the crowd with banter and sponsored a push-up contest in the center of the circle pit in front of the stage. I had never seen that done before. Immediately following, Carnivore AD, a version of Peter Steele’s pre-Type O Negative band Carnivore, leveled their sinister gaze on the people of Liverpool and shifted the tone toward the dreary in a resolute display of the range of metal on the bill at Pure Filth.
Hardccore band Integrity kicked off its 2022 tour at the festival. They are on the road for a while now with Bewitcher and Municipal Waste. If Saturday’s show is any measure, that tour is one you’ll want to make sure and see. Those three bands all have different approaches to the music and they each complement each other. Integrity’s insistent and relentless aggression sparked a burst of activity in the crowd and cranked the needle up for the final few bands.
Canadian thrash band Voivod is always an experience to see live. There isn’t any other band like them. Their music has a peculiar combination of chaos and driving order that is at times bewildering. They have a huge following in Canada and are warmly welcomed in the US whenever they cross the border. It seemed appropriate, then, when Pat Gesualdo, founder and CEO of the Metal Hall of Fame, and “Metal” Tim Henderson, founder and CEO of BraveWords, inducted Voivod into the 2022 Metal Hall Of Fame on stage near the end of their performance at the festival. That was a surprise for me – I had missed the announcement previously about this so I didn’t see it coming. It was a moment of genuine, meaningful recognition for the band and a rare occasion to witness.
It had been several years since I had seen Municipal Waste live and I was ready for them. Supercharged thrash party vibes beamed over Sharkey’s when they hit the stage, laying down one short crushing metal song after another and absolutely owning the place. Not only is the band on tour now supporting their new album, they have a long tour laid out in August and into the fall that takes them everywhere. Get out there and see them whenever you can.
Exodus, on the other hand, I had seen just a few weeks back on the Bay Strikes Back tour. For a thrash festival, Exodus is a big get. One of the absolute legends in the metal scene, there is no slow in their game. While it was amazing to see them in the club a while back, watching them play outside in the open air was a liberating experience. It was the perfect ending to an exceptional celebration of metal.
It was a great day at Sharkey’s. I hope the Pure Filth festival returns next year. It is an excellent combination of a relaxed environment and high-energy metal. I’m ready to go again.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY WAYNE EDWARDS