Music » Music Feature

Surviving the Death Sweats

An angry roar highlights the annual Compound Fest.


With the parked ice-cream truck, motley Frisbee game, and pop machine filled with cheap beer, the gravel back lot of the Compound practice space on East 63rd resembled a low-rent carnival. It was the second annual Straight Outta Compound music fest.

Some of the area's best bands performed, representing everything from swerving hip-hop (MuAmin Collective) to inspired indie rock (Machine Go Boom).

Death Sweats proved to be a diamond in the rough; playing only their fifth show, they pulled an impressive number of fans out of the shade for a set peppered with attitude and distaste for everyone in attendance. Guitarist-vocalist Charlie Voltruba berated the crowd between songs in an honestly hostile tone.

The three-piece barked out dueling vocals born of an appreciation for '80s punk and hardcore; the fall-down-drunk guitar riffs suggested the Black Lips in need of new guitar strings. Drummer Ryan Harkins tore into his kit, destroying the snare, but continuing to stomp on through the set, between bites stolen from a fan's cheeseburger.

When Death Sweats launched into a cover of "Mannequin," by post-punk pioneer Wire, Voltruba bounced up and down, his legs transformed into human pogo sticks. It all ended abruptly as a sweaty Voltruba announced, "That's it; we don't have any more angular art-rock."

Later in the afternoon, Giant Eagle let loose a full-throttle rumble, sounding like an angry fugitive from the D.C. hardcore scene. Featuring members of Machine Go Boom and Nine Shocks Terror, this erstwhile Cleveland supergroup contains scarce hint of its other projects.

During "Gold Coins," drummer Mikey Machine smiled at no one in particular as his hands became a blur. Singer Jim Karpinski stumbled back and forth, his distorted vocals riding the rhythm of Kevin Jaworski's guitar to geeked-out heights.

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