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Four Corners Metal Festival takes place Saturday at Top Deck
Window Rock, Ariz., trio I Dont Konform among the acts scheduled to perform at day-long event
FARMINGTON — For the seventh year in a row, fans of metal music from all around the region will convene here for the Four Corners Metal Festival organized by promoter Brian Johnson of MB Entertainment.
Johnson said the event, which takes place at the Top Deck, 515 E. Main St., is designed to serve as a showcase for the many local bands that play in the metal genre.
"It's mostly underground local metal bands, but a few of them have opened for headlining bands that do national tours," he said. "It's a good gathering of talent."
Johnson declined to name any of the acts on Saturday's bill as the headliner, describing them as equally accomplished. Each band will play a 25-minute set, and he said the schedule is designed so that bands of similar styles will follow each other.
"We want them to complement each other, rather than have these drastic, heavy differences in what's going on," he said.
Johnson said one of musicians taking part in Saturday's festival has described the event as a local version of the famed Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, or Coachella for short, an indie music and art festival that takes place each summer in Indio, Calif.
"The enthusiasm and number of bands that want to play each year and the number of returning bands that want to play each year is pretty amazing," Johnson said, citing the popularity of the event in the local metal community.
Among the acts scheduled to perform this weekend are I Dont Konform, a Window Rock, Ariz., trio that journeyed to Denmark last summer to record a new album with famed Metallica producer Flemming Rasmusssen. The resulting self-titled disc features eight songs highlighted by the single "Hungry for War."
IDK frontman and founder Kyle Felter said the experience of traveling to Europe and recording with the legendary producer was every he hoped for — and then some.
"It was one of the greatest experiences I've had so far," he said.
Felter described Rasmussen as a master behind the control board and said he learned a great deal simply from watching him work. Felter said the experience was so surreal he still sometimes has trouble believing it actually happened.
But the trip was far from smooth sailing. During their stay in Denmark, IDK bassist Brett Begay and drummer Randy Billy both became severely ill. Both recovered well enough to perform their parts on the disc, but Felter said it added considerably more stress to an already challenging situation.
IDK's collaboration with Rasmussen has brought plenty of attention to the band. Felter said independent filmmaker Ashkan Soltani, who already was planning a documentary about metal music on the Navajo Nation, got wind of what the band had planned and covered its trip to Denmark last year for inclusion in his film.
IDK also has received numerous invitations to perform around the world, Felter said, and is very close to accepting two of those invitations.
And when Metallica performs Aug. 4 in Phoenix, Rasmussen has arranged for the members of IDK to receive backstage passes for the show, Felter said.
Saturday's lineup also includes Courier, In My Distress, Invengeance, Under Exile, Morbid Justice, Decapitation of a New Day, Haddonfield AD, Heart//Museum, War Motor and Assassinate a King.
Attendance at the festival varies from year to year, Johnson said, but he would like to see plenty of live music fans come out this weekend.
"Every year, I'm hoping the public's going to want to come out and see what each of these bands can do," he said, explaining that the regional metal scene is thriving and Saturday's festival will offer a glimpse of the kind of talent it has produced.
"I encourage people to come out and see people they know or grew up with," he said. "There's a lot of emotion, a lot of stuff going on. They'll be surprised at what we've got going in the Southwest."
Doors open at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for the all-ages show.
Mike Easterling is the night editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4610.