It’s party time

Metal band Local 420 is loud, hard and fun

Local 420 draws a diverse crowd with a mix of metal and classic rock.

Local 420 draws a diverse crowd with a mix of metal and classic rock.

Photo By David Robert

Local 420 will participate in the Battle of the Bands at Sparky’s in Sparks on July 28, and will also be playing a benefit concert on Aug. 4 at Sparky’s for an 8-year-old girl who is suffering from cancer. For more information, visit www.

The crowd waiting for the band to finish setting up at Knucklehead’s is diverse—skinny, blonde rocker chicks, guys in wife-beater shirts with pierced eyebrows, blow-dried metalheads, fashion victims and one guy in a porkpie hat and sunglasses who looks like a refugee from the 1980 ska revival. Some are barely 21, and some are pushing 40. If you didn’t know ahead of time what kind of band everyone was here to see, you might not be able to guess.

That’s a good sign for Local 420, one of Reno’s hardest-edged metal bands. It means their appeal spans age groups and radio-imposed genre boundaries. And it means they’ve brought something engaging to a local music scene that guitarist/vocalist Jerry Davis describes as somewhat “dry and unexciting.” Singer Greg Rose agrees.

“Our live shows are hard, loud and explosive,” Rose says. “Whether there’s five people or 5,000, we put our heart and soul into it.”

Local 420’s self-released CD is pretty hard and loud, too. Having recently added new bassist Dave Clark and second guitarist Johnny Maples to a lineup that also includes drummer Byron Jones, the band’s live sound is now closer to what they’ve gotten previously in the studio: a multi-layered, chunky but agile mix of metal and classic rock textures with occasional hip-hop, funk and hardcore punk influences peeking through.

The two songs that Rose refers to as the CD’s “foundation tracks” are both a case in point: “Let’s Go” opens with a drum intro that would have sounded perfectly at home on an Exploited album, but quickly veers off into Metallica territory; “Aggravation,” with its sludgy guitar riff and grandiose vocals, sounds more like Judas Priest.

“Disturbed, Sevendust, Papa Roach and Godsmack are the bands that I find influence me when I write,” Davis says. “This stuff is hot now, and people love that harder edge.”

Playing live on the small stage at Knucklehead’s, with smoke machines and pyrotechnic effects slyly mocking the space’s limitations, the members of Local 420 are clearly in their natural element. Rose frequently leaves the stage to stalk through the crowd with his wireless mic, and the rest of the band keeps the audience pumped up with a steady stream of grinding, high-energy and subtly funky rock ‘n’ roll. When the tempo picks up, a guy comes careening onto the dance floor from the pool table area. Everyone is obviously having a great time.

Speaking of a great time, what about that band name?

“420 is a code for ‘party time,’ “ Rose says. “When we play, that’s where the party is.”

Well, yes. But check out the hidden track at the end of the band’s CD for a more specific interpretation.

Local 420 plans to hit the studio in January to begin work on their next CD. In the meantime, you can catch them playing regularly in Reno area bars and clubs.