Ostinato with Red Wizard and Horsefang

Ostinato with Red Wizard and Horsefang

music The press release for the show at Outback Lodge declared that “this will be the closest thing to hanging out in the old Tokyo Rose basement you’ve felt in a while.”  Since the Rose stopped hosting shows a few years ago, several venues have offered great alternatives, but none have provided a comparable atmosphere.  On Friday night, Ostinato, Red Wizard and Horsefang sought to re-create the exceptional vibe that characterized Charlottesville’s legendary basement.


Loud enough to wake the dead: Ostinato and a couple of local metal acts revive the spirit of Charlottesville’s great basements at Outback Lodge.

Horsefang set things in motion with thick riffs, off-kilter rhythms and a colossal decibel level that would be the standard for the show.  Although they were the opening act, the enthused crowd moved close to the stage and pulsed to the grinding beats.

Husband-and-wife duo Red Wizard were up next, and the love and exuberance that radiated from their complex metal grooves was heartwarming (yes, metal can be heartwarming). The fact that it was drummer Gray Morris’ birthday boosted their already dynamic delivery.

Ostinato took the stage a little after 1am, but the night was far from over.  The four-piece, who recently added violinist Anna Matijasic (of Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees) to their lineup, gradually built to a frenzy that combined the epic nature of instrumental guitar bands like Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai and the melodic smarts of Blonde Redhead.

The group reached their peak just as the lights flashed on to signal that it was closing time, but instead of cutting off their set, Ostinato held onto the moment and played two more songs. The guitar soared to a finish and Matthew Clark capped the night with a massive drum fill and an equally massive smile. It was a different basement, but the positive energy and the ringing in my ears proved that the three local bands had successfully conjured the spirit of Tokyo Rose.