The reason Himself carefully slides a reference to our planet into conversation is because the men of Valient Thorr aren’t from where we’re from; they come from Burlatia, a place inside Venus. After crashing their space vessel in North Carolina, they made it their mission to bring feisty rock & roll-tinged metal to places across the globe.
It’s a silly story, but Thorr pulls off the shtick. The band’s shows are vibrant, wild affairs, notable for sizzling instrumentals and Himself’s predilection for audience interaction and occasionally hurling himself off speaker stacks. His taste for danger clearly isn’t limited to using cell phones at gas stations.
Supporting Valient Thorr’s rigorous touring habit are the Thorriors, a phalanx of followers scattered all over Earth. The Thorriors express their devotion by wearing jackets decorated with back patches or stencils of Valient Thorr’s logo. The existence of their substantial following (some 70 chapters, claims their frontman) can be largely attributed to Himself’s captivating presence. On stage, he goes into “space preacher mode,” scurrying, flailing, and shouting during songs. During breaks, he rants with manic enthusiasm, babbling about frivolous stuff like Ms. Pac-Man and junk food.
However, Himself also uses his soapbox for some sociopolitical strafing, giving Thorr’s work value beyond being a Venusian novelty. For years, the vocalist was “talking shit about the wars.” Lately, his banter has been about the financial crisis and the plight of veterans. This opinionated stance is also key to Thorr’s lyrical dialogue. “Gillionaire,” the initial salvo on Stranger, their recent punk-tinged record, lashes out against people who base their existences on the accumulation of wealth. “We don’t sing about dragons and wizards and shit like that. Some people want a little more substance in their rock & roll. That’s why we’re here,” says Himself, slipping from concerned musician back into his intergalactic persona without skipping a beat. “That’s why we’re here on Earth.”
w/ Thunderfist, Radio Moscow
Burt’s Tiki Lounge
726 S. State
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 9 p.m.