Cringe Con set to change your view of music

by Britt Chester | @awfullybrittish

“A lot of this music is quirky and awesome,” said Anthony Petrovic. “But it is stuff the general public might say ‘what the fuck is that?'” Petrovic is talking about the line-up for Cringe Con II, the second installment of what Petrovic describes as “Reanimators weirdo music festival.”

There are a lot of bands on the line-up, and each one fills a niche that has not been homogenized by massive groups of teens trying to earn their way onto a bill.

Fleshtorn, for instance, is a solo thrashing death metal band led by Zebulon’s own Brannan Hayes. How is a death metal band a solo project, you ask?

“I really started getting into music in third grade, and I was into gangster rap,” said Fleshtorn’s Brannan Hayes. “I don’t know how I went from gangster rap to rock to brutal death metal, but it happened.”

Hayes is a 17-year old attending an early college program in Zebulon. He wasn’t raised around musicians, but his passion for performing is apparent in his enthusiasm about putting on the best show he can.

“Even if I had the flu and was playing live, I need to make it look like I am enjoying it,” Hayes said. His interests in music range from “bluegrass to anything, really,” but his music doesn’t cover that spectrum. Fleshtorn provokes a vengeful ire – bloodthirsty death metal blasted with double bass drums and flesh tearing (see what I did there?) riffs – that will sit perfectly in the line-up at Cringe Con.

Hayes is of the generation that can pull off solo death metal acts. His compositions are written and scored entirely by himself – his latest album he even had to master due to complications when it was returned from the engineer – and the show consists of him wailing vocals and shredding his guitar while a backing track of drums and bass play. He said that he would eventually look into forming Fleshtorn into a full band, starting with a drummer, but that’s only because he appreciates the live element at concerts. Otherwise, the process right now captivates him and keeps him playing music.

“When people are writing music together in a room, it almost feels like you are trying to build a city, but from the ground up,” he said. “It’s easier to do it by myself right now because I can see what’s going on – like building from a blueprint.”

These are wise words from a young, humble musician.

On the other end of the spectrum at Cringe Con II sits Clang Quartet, the solo project birthed from the mind of Scotty Irving. Irving began Clang Quartet in the late 90s, and admits that there was one point where he decided to stop doing what it was he thought would make him successful, and instead live in the will of Jesus Christ. Irving’s show is just as much performance art and expression as it is music, albeit noise music.

Irving grew up in and around North Carolina, but currently resides in Stokesdale. Having started Clang Quartet when he was 30 (he’s 48 now), he took a brief moment to reflect on his career as a drummer.

“I started off on one drum, and if you told me then that it would wind up leading me to play any other instrument, I would’ve been surprised,” he said. “If you’d have told me it would take me half way around the world, I would have laughed at you.” Irving started out with one snare drum in 1971, and he still owns it to this day although it needs some slight repair. He’s also toured through Japan.

Irving’s Clang Quartet is actually a solo project, and though some have overthought the title to mean that it’s Irving and the Holy Trinity playing, he said that although it’s a good idea, it wasn’t what he was going for. He plays what’s referred to as “noise music,” which is exactly what it sounds like: various distortions, static, feedback and other things used for instruments to create noise, which is the music. During Irving’s shows, he employs various drums and other uncommon means to create his music.

He stands in awe that Clang Quartet, something he thinks is “music that is not necessarily accessible to everyone,” has garnered him so much praise, press and world travel. But he attributes that success to doing what he felt led to do, rather than what he thought would make him a successfully traveling musician.

“I’m glad it worked out that way, but I’m really surprised that it did,” he said.

Last year was the first year of Cringe Con and it was held at the Garage. There was a whole superhero/super villain theme going on – sort of a Halloween in the summer kind of thing – but this year it’s a bit more optional if you want dress up as Powdered Toast Man or Wonder Woman while you get down to bands like Fleshtorn and Clang Quartet. There’s a lot more on the line-up that you don’t want to miss, and anytime there’s a “weirdo festival” in the streets of the Innovation Quarter, you know it’s going to be a good time.

“I’ve always come from the standpoint that you need to create your own scene,” Petrovic said. “You can’t count on your town to do it.” !


Cringe Con II will be held at Reanimator Records, The Black Lodge and in the street between Third and Fourth on Patterson Avenue in downtown Winston-Salem. The lineup includes Fleshtorn, Clang Quartet, Tetragrammaton, Eugene Chadbourne, PrimoVanHalen, The Three-Brained Robot, Andy “Freaking” Mabe, Human Pippi, The Infamous Sugar, Your Fuzzy Friends, Yes The Raven and (maybe) Praise The Beast. There is a $5 suggested donation at the door. Support live music.