The Sword, a stoner-metal band from Austin, Texas, was a surprise hit at the Bonnaroo Music Festival back in June. Despite playing mid-afternoon to an overheated crowd standing in a blowing pit of loose sand, the Sword’s churning riffage and doomtastic songs created more of a party than an uber-aggressive vibe.
Guys in front of me passed around a costume Viking helmet with horns and blonde braids as part of the Nordic-metal-influenced fun. And when the Sword wrapped their set with a cover of ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses,” the band’s heavy-metalized version of the party-rock classic couldn’t have sounded better.
There were no ZZ Top covers during the Sword’s Northern Lights show, sadly, but singer-guitarist J.D. Cronise — a skinny guy with a ’70s sitcom moustache — was wearing a vintage t-shirt from his fellow Texan band. (Sword guitarist Kyle Shutt opted for more traditional metal-wear: a Dio shirt.)