In the Adult Swim world, the animated can be scary, ferocious, weird and hilarious. Adult Swim’s biggest shows — ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’, ‘Smiling Friends’, ‘Metalocalypse’ and ‘Rick and Morty’ — certainly fit the description when it comes to freaky-deaky. Add in live music and drinks, and you have the making of a oddball party.
Welcome to Philadelphia’s Adult Swim Festival Block Party.
Running from Aug. 5 to 7 within the Fishtown Fillmore complex – The Fillmore Philly, The Foundry, Punch Line Philly and The Brooklyn Bowl Philadelphia, all in partnership with Live Nation – the Adult Swim Festival Block Party is a curated series of ticketed events, packed within a wild neighborhood block party with beer gardens, food trucks, merchandisers, panels, and plenty of live music.
And while music fanatics will be hooked on Philly’s own Tierra Whack and Hop Along, Killer Mike’s Run The Jewels, DJ Diamond Kuts, Spirit of the Beehive, Flo Milli and RJD2, true aficionados of Adult Swim will flock to the live return of Dethklok – the faux metal band-turned-real-life headbangers in the animated series, ‘Metalocalypse’.
Brendon Small, the man behind Dethklok and the ‘Metalocalpyse’ series has been a part of the Adult Swim family from the days of his SquiggleVision classic, ‘Home Movies’.
“Shortly after (‘Home Movies’ four season run), I began falling back in love with my guitar, after having had a guitar identity crisis at music school, and found myself at lots of live metal shows,” says Small. “I became quite obsessed with that music, and went to Adult Swim one day, and asked “What if we did an animated show about the biggest entertainment act on earth… but they just so happen to be an extreme metal band.” Once the network showed interest, I then had to get to work on the music.”
To say that the doom metal of Dethklok is as intense as their role within ‘Metalocalypse’ would be understatement. The lyrics to Dethklok’s songs may have begun as parody or satire, but with time and evolution, they evolved into something bigger.
“Part of the fun of the Dethklok project is that the music can keep bobbing and weaving with the audience – heavy metal allows for a solid straight line wherein it can be blended into the dire, the serious and the operatic,” notes Small. “There are lots of styles within the records and the episodes, touching on everything from rock opera to broad comedy songs, satire songs, natural disaster songs, story related songs or world building. Then, there are some songs that Dethklok just might find interesting such as ‘Go into the Water’. That isn’t a comedy song, but it serviced a part of world building. There are lots and lots of geneses of songs, but they’re not in any particular order. They oscillate from comedy to somewhat serious on each album.”
Once Dethklok began working as a recording band, guitarist, singer and composer Small had to find musicians to make that mellow-harshing music real. “I needed one of the greatest living drummers and found that in Gene Hoglan,” Small says. “Beyond that, I needed people that were way better than me – to make me look like I know what I’m doing – so I’m playing with Nili Brosh and Pete Griffin who play circles around me.”
Adult Swim’s ‘Metalocalypse’ series may have ended its run, but Dethklok rocks on.
“We love doing this live show so much and really love for people to see it for the first time,” says Small. “I love seeing people’s faces and I have the best seat in the house. Dethklok do our best to make this the most fun and ridiculous and heavy metal show you can see and we’re really happy to be in included with these outstanding artists.”