Craig natives returning for Saturday’s musical performance

If you go ...

What: The Ugly Circus

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 990 Industrial Ave.

— The night of live music features five Denver-based metal bands, including Sunday Massacre, South Bronx Paradise, Dissonance in Design, and more. Admission is $5. All ages are welcome, but the show is adult-oriented. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the opening act starting at 6 p.m. Space is limited for audience members. More information, call 824-2695 or visit myspace.com/darkdeephole.

Having graduated from Moffat County High School several years ago, Sam Johnson and Evan Hertzog haven’t returned to their hometown often.

But, their latest visit will be a memorable one, summed up in one word.

Loud.

Johnson and Hertzog are members of the Denver metal band Sunday Massacre, a group that will be performing Saturday in Craig as part of The Ugly Circus, a five-band collective of Denver musical groups specializing in various subgenres of metal music.

The show starts at 7 p.m. at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 990 Industrial Ave. Owner Beryl Dschaak said she expects “a pretty good crowd.”

“It’s the first time we’ve had live music,” she said. “I’m hoping things will go well because then maybe we’ll start booking more groups.”

Admission for the show is $5 for all ages. While all ages will be allowed entry, Thunder Rolls employees will be working to ensure no one under 21 is served alcohol.

“We’re only going to have beer,” Dschaak said. “There’ll be a limited capacity, and the doors open at 5 (p.m.), so people will need to get here early.”

Dschaak said she originally wanted to book the groups for two nights, but a Friday night engagement in Grand Junction made up the other half of The Ugly Circus tour.

Johnson said Sunday Massacre has been performing mostly in Denver and Longmont.

“We have a pretty good fan base growing there,” he said.

Johnson joined the band about 10 months ago, almost by accident.

“I was looking for a mountain bike on Craigslist, and I saw something about a metal band looking for a singer,” he said.

Having played as a guitarist and bassist in various bands since he was in high school, the chance to take the microphone was a dream of Johnson’s since the age of 6.

“I met with them, and we all just really got along,” he said.

At the time, the group consisted of a familiar face in Hertzog — who joined as the group’s bassist three months before Johnson — as well as Denver musicians Josh Doll, the guitarist, and then-drummer Kyle Chambers, who made the move from the skins to Johnson’s co-vocalist when they enlisted Paul Bruin.

“It was a perfect mix,” Doll said.

Doll described the group’s sound as “Denver thrash/grind/death metal.” Their influences range from country singer David Allan Coe to hard rock band Kiss to metal legends like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slipknot.

But, don’t expect to hear “Rock and Roll All Nite” or “Enter Sandman” when they play.

“We never play covers, so don’t ask,” Doll said. “We want to be as free of normality as we can be.”

The group’s name came from the fact that they were only available to rehearse on Sundays.

“As a band, we were all a massacre, so it just stuck,” Doll said.

When Johnson joined the band, they only had three songs. Since then, their repertoire has quadrupled, with 12 songs under their belts.

“It’s been a super-productive year,” Johnson said.

Part of the group’s success has been in joining forces with other bands. Joining them as part of The Ugly Circus, which Doll described as “a group of artists ready to spit out the truth in a sideshow manner,” are Dissonance in Design, Dekatur and One Shot One Kill.

Also performing is South Bronx Paradise.

“They’re our brother band,” Johnson said. “They’ve got an immense, intense energy, and it’s good for us to play together.”

Johnson said arranging for his band to play in Craig was intentional, hoping to bring a taste of the musical style that he saw little of in person when he was growing up.

“We want to come in and give the kids there something to do,” he said.

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