Heavy metal bands return to Millvale for Metal Immortal Fest 2







A few years ago, Deborah Levine and her bandmates from Lady Beast were in Venture, California, for the traditional heavy metal festival Frost and Fire when the idea came to them: Why not host such an event in Pittsburgh?

"There is literally not a single traditional heavy metal festival on the East Coast," says Levine, lead singer of Lady Beast. "You either have to go to the Midwest, the North or the South, but there really was not anything on the East Coast for pure heavy metal bands. As the saying goes, if you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself."

So Levine and her Lady Beast bandmates did just that. In 2019, the local heavy metal band hosted the first-ever Metal Immortal Festival, which is in its second edition this year. They invited their friends from the metal scene and bands from the '80s to today to put on, as Levine put it, "a really great night of heavy metal" at Mr. Smalls Theater.




This year's event, Metal Immortal Festival 2, is back at Mr. Smalls for an evening of energy and good vibes. "There is zero tolerance for racism, sexism or hate of any kind," Levine says. "It's a place where anyone who is into metal, or not, can feel comfortable and be who they are." New this year is a pre-show event at Spirit (21+) the night before, where Pittsburgh thrash legends Eviction will reunite.




"We are using both stages at Mr. Smalls. There's food, there's a patio so you can sit outside, which is great because the festival does not have access; it's really the best situation you can have at a venue," Levine says. "And we have vendors throughout the event - art, jewelry, clothing. It's really just a way to support hard-working bands and artists, which brings me no greater joy. We do it because we love it and we think it's important to bring it to our city. "




For Levine, the upcoming second festival feels even better than the last. For one thing, it's been a long time coming, as Metal Immortal Festival 2 was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 until COVID forced its cancelation. And this year, the Pittsburgh community has come together to support the event. Vegan punk rock/heavy metal restaurant Onion Maiden, Millvale-based The Attic Records, local metal and noise label Our Ancient Future, and Andrew D'Cagna of Ohio heavy metal band Ironflame are sponsoring the fest. (In addition, Grist House has created an exclusive Metal Immortal Festival 2 beer, which Levine says is "another cool way to feel the support and love of the community."




So Levine and her Lady Beast bandmates did just that. In 2019, the local heavy metal band hosted the first-ever Metal Immortal Festival, which is in its second year. They invited their friends from the metal scene and bands from the '80s to today to put on, as Levine put it, "a really awesome night of heavy metal" at Mr. Smalls Theater.




This year's event, Metal Immortal Festival 2, returns to Mr. Smalls for an evening of bone-shaking energy and good vibes. "There is zero tolerance for racism, sexism or hate of any kind," Levine says. "It's a place where anyone who is into metal, or not, can feel comfortable and be who they are." New this year is a pre-show event at Spirit (21+) the night before, where Pittsburgh thrash legends Eviction will reunite.




"We are using both stages at Mr. Smalls. There's food, there's a patio so you can sit outside, which is great because the festival does not have access; it's really the best situation you can have at a venue," Levine says. "And we have vendors throughout the event - art, jewelry, clothing. It's really just a way to support hard-working bands and artists, which brings me no greater joy. We do it because we love it and we think it's important to bring it to our city. "




For Levine, the upcoming second festival feels even better than the last. For one thing, it's been a long time coming, as Metal Immortal Festival 2 was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 until COVID forced its cancelation. And this year, the Pittsburgh community has come together to support the event. Vegan punk rock/heavy metal restaurant Onion Maiden, Millvale-based The Attic Records, local metal and noise label Our Ancient Future, and Andrew D'Cagna of Ohio heavy metal band Ironflame are sponsoring the fest. (In addition, Grist House has created an exclusive Metal Immortal Festival 2 beer, which Levine says is "another cool way to feel the support and love of the community."

Metal Immortal Fest 2 Preshow. 7 p.m. Fri., June 24. Spirit. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $20. facebook.com/MetalImmortalFestival
Metal Immortal Festival 2. 4 p.m. Sat., June 25. Mr. Smalls Theatre. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. $45. facebook.com/MetalImmortalFestival
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