Rapid City Heartthrob’s Carrion Crawlers, Dead Marthas, and Someday Best Kick Off Weekend At Aby’s

First of three shows for New Years weekend at Aby’s starts off with a bang. Carrion Crawlers, Death Martha’s, and Someday Best packed out Aby’s Downtown venue with a show for all ages starting on Friday night. Aby’s venue is very unique. Renovated from a historic grain mill, Aby’s put off very unique vibes with 2nd hand furniture, chairs, and tables. The venue had no ceiling, just rafters that were uniquely insulated and wired for the sound I believe. Aby’s also maintained the barn vibes with old brick walls and uniquely finished barn doors in some areas. The venue was super diverse in taste and I thought the only thing missing from the true barn vibes were drinks served in mason jars. Aby’s was really eco friendly in the remodel and some of the renovated structure was made from recycled materials. Aby’s venue truly captivates the small town essence and country vibes South Dakota has to offer.

The crowd consisted of all ages punks and rockers, their children, yes children, and teenagers of all sorts. The venue is super sober friendly as well, serving a variety of non alcoholic drinks, with water stations easily accessible to the crowd. The holiday break is almost over, but that didn’t stop old and young Rapid City punk fans from attending while in town for the holidays. Kind of a somewhat reunion for some of the more well traveled Rapid City punk and rock fans. Among the crowd were the old Rapid City punk rockers and rollers still boasting of the days they saw “Green Day’ before they were big at old Rapid City venues. I shared with some of the older punkers my Rapid City scene experiences between 2007 and 2012. The local shows have always been very well maintained and strong in The Black Hills area. Being a major stop between huge destinations the Rapid City music scene has always flourished and has birthed some truly talented musicians. Of which I had the pleasure of covering during this show.  

I was hesitant at first glances that the sound of the shows were not going to carry well through the narrower venue, especially when the crowd started packing in. My worries were quickly relished when William Thunder Horse and his band “Carrion Crawlers” took the stage. Will Introduced themselves as “You already know who we are!” followed immediately by the lead into the first song. The three member band is one of the first modern punk bands to come from The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The first song had a huge reception from the audience and the second song “Face Melter” really turned up the heat with the crowd. “Carrion Crawlers” pit consisted of a lot of the younger punk crowd attending the show. The crowd was super engaged throughout Carrion’s set. Through the first couple songs Will vocals were extremely sharp and carried well through the venue. Will is a bigger dude and with that I expected his vocals to be strong and powerful. Wills voice exceeded my expectations. Wills scream to singing transitions were remarkable for such a young artist. Also remarkable was his ability to shred while maintaining such a powerful vocal front. The tenor sound in Wills voice was accompanied by a remarkable ability to hand gesture around his mic and face while quickly returning his hands to his guitar to maintain instrumentals. The talent “Carrions Crawlers” has became evident through just the first two songs, but by the third and forth song I think they should have interluded or taken a breather to refresh. The band was visibly gassed by the end of the forth song, but cant be to blame. The sound of these guys is truly powerful and with that takes a lot of physical embodiment for that sound. The fifth song played by the young trio was in line with the theme each of these bands carry, romance and heartbreak. Will sings, “I wasted all my time trying to make you mine.” as a part of the 5th song and the passion he has for whoever he wrote that truly resonates with his vocals throughout his performance. “Things are not the same ” and “Crawling after you” are some of the clearer lyrics Will projects onto the crowd and he really shares his voice of love and heartbreak through his music very well. “Carrion Crawlers’ ‘ had a great pit vibe. It was a younger vibe, but the put vibes were amazing. Two stepping circle dancers and a little light shoving was well in line with the age demographic of Carrion’s pit. The venue was more packed than before Carrion started playing, but the pit and crowd wasn’t as deep as you’d expect considering the talent of Carrion Crawlers. The last song played by the band was easily the most entertaining of the stage performers. The bassist Troy swung his bass around his back and leaped into the crowd and the lead vocals and guitarist Will Thunder Horse was on his back in true Jack Black fashion playing his heart out on his guitar. The set all in all for Carrion was short, maybe only 45 minutes, but didnt stop it from being high energy and a great opener for the night. While between sets Will shared his point of view about the night and wanted me to quote him saying, “This night f*cks!” Except he screamed it at the top of lungs and immediately asked me if I had an extra smoke! I obliged Wills request as his bands set was entertaining and extremely fun to see. I will never forget meeting and watching the young talent that is the “Carrion Crawlers” at arguably one of the “coldest” shows I’ve ever attended. 

The chilly frost wasn’t the only thing in the Rapid CIty atmosphere Friday night. As the second band was preparing to play, you could feel the anticipation and ecstatic energy start to build. As one of Rapid City’s top local bands were about to perform. The audience and people watching the show from the venue quickly went from young angsty punks and hard rockers, to a more diverse very dense crowd filled with fans of “The Dead Marthas” and Rapid City hardcore. The crowd consisted of the older punk and rock scene fans visiting home for the holidays. The more engaged and intellectual type fans were seemingly ready to watch The Dead Marthas take the stage. The Marthas members consist of more experienced rockers than the Crawlers. Not to diminish the talent of the Crawlers, you could just tell “The Marthas” carried themselves with more confidence that comes with their level of skill and experience on stage.

“The Dead Marthas” members were not easily identifiable on their webpage, I believe due to technical error or they just rather remain nameless. Some of the bands top music videos on YouTube depict them playing in animal masks. The mystery and allure surrounding the anonymity may contribute to some of the excitement this band has to offer. Although I do my thorough research and would never report on a band without knowing the members. In all the band consists of 4 members. Trevor Stine on drums, Russ Hadden on bass and vocals, Dan Carroll on Guitar and vocals, and frontman Scotty Miller on guitar and vocals. The four members are extremely talented in their craft as their first song defined their abilities on stage early into the set. The first song on “The Dead Martha’s” setlist was not super hardcore per say, but set the tone for the energetic and fun set they were about to perform. The first song had tons of “Woohoo” vibes with some eccentric screams to compliment the vocal talents of all three individuals contributing to the sound. The head bang vibes translated very well from the stage to the crowd. The fact that Aby’s sound was immaculate may have contributed to the overwhelmingly positive vibes coming from “The Marthas” set. Not to discredit the sound guy for “The Marthas” that may or may not have been the very young son of Martha’s frontman Scotty Miller. I’m not 100% sure, but while somewhat on the side of the stage I caught view of the four foot tall sound guy behind “The Marthas” stage and from my perspective he couldn’t have been older than a fifth grader. If the sound was tuned or tweaked by the young man, I must say his sound is better than some in the industry that have dozens of years under their belts.

The second song played by “The Mathas” was immediately followed by a technical interlude by the band. Either the equipment needed modified or the sound did need to be adjusted. The band lost some crowd control and audience engagement from the break, but to be expected as breaks do contribute to more sound from the crowd, restroom breaks, and drink orders throughout the show. “The Dead Martha’s” Russ and Scotty improvised some guitar and some impromptu dialog to keep the audience entertained throughout the break. After the break the songs took a small lul in energy. Some of the songs seemed slower and even were accompanied by a change in the way Russ was playing guitar. The sound changed and was more melodic per say and gave off a wavy vibration while continuing their performance. The songs keep in line with the underwritten theme the three of these bands seem to have in their music, love and heartbreak. With the 5th song mostly being about love, quoting “Lets keep it simple you and me.” that didn’t stop it from being a hardcore song though. The vocals were hard and demanded strain in their voices as Russ chugged a “Liquid Death” water during the song as well. The water may have been to prepare for one of their newer songs, “Sharks” which was extremely entertaining to see performed. With the name I assumed it was going to get nitty gritty and little bloody. My expectations were met and exceeded by the lyrics and vocal talent “The Dead Marthas” had to serve in their single “Sharks”. With lyrics like “Blood in the water.” sang in tandem with all the vocalists. Accompanied by the softer breakdowns, “Sharks” contributed to the melodic and hardcore vibes “The Dead Marthas” truly has to offer. There was another break after the 7th song that contributed a little more to lack of crowd control, but immediately resuming after brought back some of that lost. The break may have been necessary as the songs preceding the break were pretty tiring. From my perspective it seemed as though Scotty and Russ may have gassed themselves a little performing their first several song. Completely understandable as the passion “The Dead Martha’s” play and perform with is very astounding.

After the break and breather for the band, Russ’ vocals became more clear and eloquent. The drum work by Trevor Stein became increasingly more astounding as the set went through the last couple songs. Scotty paid tributes and thanks to “Abys” before ending “The Marthas” set which only reassured me of the great qualities “Abys” had to offer as a venue. Towards the end of the set I was wondering if the baseline was intentionally not a strong portion of the sound, but quickly ate my words as the last song blew my socks off with Russ on bass. The last song is arguably “The Dead Martha’s” most popular track right now. “The Wildebeest”is an extremely fun song opening with Russ’ talent on bass, the speed of Trevors’ talents on drums, and the astounding talents of the tandem vocals done by Scotty and the other vocalists. Closed like they opened “The Wildebeest” also has “Wooo” vibes that lighten the hardcore sound this band has to offer, making them fun and more relatable to the “not so hardcore” hardcore fans that exist in the community. The band had a plethora of fans in the crowd. With a dozen rows of over dozens of people packed into “Abyss” to see the music talent that is “The Dead Marthas”. The packed crowd did not stop “Someday Best” frontman Wyatt Fenner from jamming with “The Marthas” in the front row for a few of the songs.  Which I might have to add if I ever find a woman that looks at me the way Wyatt was looking at Scotty and the rest of “The Dead Martha’s” perform I know I’ll have something special in my life. The gaze from Wyatt translated into oe of the best set’s i’ve seen from a punk band in years. 

The punk scene in two thousand eight and two thousand ten in the Black Hills of South Dakota was a very diverse yet opportune moment for bands to bounce back. After the first economic crash of the early two thousands bands were hitting the road and playing small shows in go-between states to recoup some losses from a statistically low couple years. Time were tough and the punk community stayed the same as it was during that time and is what it is now even. Cheap beer, great friends, and wonderful music. The band “Someday Best” embodies what punk truly is, a community. The headliner for the show could have been “The Dead Marthas”, you could go as far as saying “Carrion Crawlers” could have closed out the show with the sock rocking beast of a song they used to close their own set. Troy of “The Crawlers could’ve dove into an more dense crowd. The point is by the time “Someday Best” was going to the stage Rapid Cities punk community inside “Aby’s” was in full form. The drunks were buzzed, the mosh pit was gassed, the bartenders were killing it behind the rail, and the stage was set for “Someday Best” to give the community and twenty twenty three an amazing farewell. “Someday Best” is a four man group comprised of men that can truly deliver a show. Wyatt Fenner, the vocals, has been a musician for his whole life. His songs speak from personal experiences and relatable tribulations everyone can experience in life. The first song delivered to the crowd was hard enough to set the tone for their set, but easy enough to to translate the melodic love vibe in Wyatt’s lyrics. The hearthrob quartet does not dance persay, but the passion and love Ethan Pinero (Drums), Anthony Centineo(Bass), and Alec Ruml(Guitar/Vocals) project makes you want to waltz all your problems away in pit or while viewing them from afar. The second and third song still maintained the melodic love and somber heartbreak vibes we may experience in life. The screams in the first couple songs accompanied the vocal symphony that projects from the vocal duo Wyatt and Alec Ruml. As hard as some of the lyrics can sound the audible lyrics in their music speak to your heart strings as well as your blood pressure. I personally have experienced heartbreak a dozen times in my life. I’m not a stranger to the hate and negativity that can sprout from the moments in life. Even if you haven’t experienced life enough yet to feel the pain that’s inside of love then “Someday Best’s” song will give you an idea of those feelings as well as project the happiness that stems from experiencing those moments after the fact. “Ignorance Is Bliss” was on the set list early on. The song itself reminded us of the inane nature we have as humans to not want to know. Whether it’s for better or worse sometimes not knowing is better. The title itself could be a hyperbole to Australian sensasion’s The Less I know the Better” Tame Impala. The song performed by “Someday Best” translated to the scene of the crowd far beyond the noise that Tame Impala improvises. Ethan, Alec, Anthony, and Wyatt have grown significantly over the years into their sound and art. From the early days of their first album “Girls of Summer” to their upcoming release of a new album. “Someday Best” proved growth to the punk community from their garageband days to headlining a show downtown Rapid CIty. The songs have deep rhythmic guitar, hard rums lines, amazing guitar solos that don’t translate through albums or recordings. “Someday Best” is and will continue to be an amazing live act for all ages, local or not, sober or not, in love or out of love, the music can resonate to the soul and vibrations through the punk community. There is lots of emotion in Wyatts play style and you can feel the passion in his voice for his musics between songs. Genuinely excited in his dedications and even in his band handed remarks to a somewhat unruly punk crowd at times. The music is not just played by “Someday Best” it is a performance from four extremely talented young groups of musicians. The potential elasticity this band can achieve is far beyond the Black Hills of South Dakota. Once recognized by the live punk scene.I personally believe “Someday Best” will be a household name in punk families. The everlasting impact they’ve already made on the music scene in western South Dakota will lay a bedrock for future punk bands to emerge and grow to the farest corners of the states and maybe even internationally.. “Someday” will be with the best as the potential they have is finally recognized. 

The trio of bands playing on Friday night could’ve easily been mistaken as a mainstream show at a mainstream venue with mainstream vibes. The show was much more than a feeling of mainstream, it was love, and connectivity that binds local punk communities. The show scene in Rapid City may not be as kicking as it was in the early two thousands or “The Green Day” show days, but the potential here is boundless. The young potential that “Carrion Crawlers”, “The Dead Marthas” and “Someday Best” contribute to the Black Hills will have an everlasting effect on the scene and community. Addiotionally as “Aby’s’ ‘ continues to maintain its professional aspect and phenomenal sound other bands will come to see Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the loving scene that is Rapid City Punk Rock. 

Words by Kyle Scranton-Blaas

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