By Joseph Pratt
Local musician James Rhea has been working with the Blockhouse bar in Portsmouth to provide what he hopes to be a true metal and rock concert experience. He has been eagerly planning his third event with much response from the community.
The concert will showcase four local metal bands, Full Fledged Assault, Ashes Arose, May Prevail and Avanti. Special guest Dave Packard will also be present.
Rhea claims that his movement is growing more and more with each show he produces. Growing from 50 attending the first concert, to the 300 that appeared at his last; Rhea is hoping for an even larger crowd with the next.
“The second really took us by surprise. The second concert had six bands and started around seven. The night just lingered and got better as each band took stage and more people started showing up,” Rhea explained.
Rhea is adamant about having no cover charge at the door, making it a completely free experience for the attendees. He has accomplished this by paying out of pocket for the last two concerts and has sponsored the bands and tech for the upcoming show.
“We know that people from around here don’t have a lot of money. While the music we are playing appeals to a lot of different ages, the bulk of our crowd consists of those in their early 20’s and we all know most people that age don’t have a lot of money,” he said. “Of those that do have the money, they can’t really justify spending it on a metal concert. It is already expensive to go hang out at a bar, so it makes a difference to have no cover charge. Also, we just think our fans deserve a free concert now and again.”
Rhea has also given the Portsmouth Skatepark Project an opportunity to come and give out information, speak, introduce the bands and take collections for their upcoming project. The group is currently looking at building a skate park beside the Spartan Stadium.
“We want them to have the opportunity to let people know what they are doing and how they can help the project,” Rhea explained. “Music, especially this genre of music, typically goes hand in hand with skateboarding, so I figured the crowd would take something from it and Portsmouth Skatepark Project would in turn get to spread the word about their ambitions some more.”
Rhea said that the metal concerts will have a benefiting nonprofit from here on out.
The Blockhouse metal concert will be Saturday, Aug. 2 and will start at 8 p.m. The Blockhouse is at 1107 Lawson St., Portsmouth. More information on the bands and the concert can be found at the Facebook event page, Free Metal Concert.
“What we are trying to do isn’t just organize a local show that you can go see anytime, which even that isn’t happening as much, but a real metal and rock concert. Everyone seems to be well received and the bar is happy with the business,” Rhea said.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.