Durham headbangers Tooth reunite to celebrate The Pinhook's fifth anniversary


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The carnage of the thing: Tooth, at their last show in 2009 - FILE PHOTO BY JEREMY M. LANGE
  • File photo by Jeremy M. Lange
  • The carnage of the thing: Tooth, at their last show in 2009

Five years ago, when the downtown Durham club The Pinhook first opened its doors, the beloved Bull City metal band Tooth took the stage first—outside of the now-defunct Troika Music Festival, anyway. On Nov. 2, the fierce quintet will again play The Pinhook.

For a time, that booking seemed like a longshot at best. Tooth played its last show on Sept. 11, 2009, having released only seven songs. The split wasn’t entirely amicable, either. “[Guitarist] Rich [James] wanted to kick me out of the band,” singer Jme Guptill told the INDY in 2011. “There's not really a nicer way to say it."

Tooth splintered into two: James founded Hog with Tooth’s drummer, Noah Kessler, and bassist, Ryland Fishel, and recruited guitarist Alec Farrell. Guptill, Fishel and Tooth guitarist Ben Wilson founded Lurch with guitarist Bret McGraw and drummer Carson Fishel. The former took a more sprawling and ambitious approach, while the latter recoiled into a punk-metal barrage.

But if any venue is suited to bringing Tooth back together, it’s The Pinhook, which has become a community hub in the revitalized downtown, and the club’s big anniversary. Pulling people together seems to be the club’s credo.

“We've tried to maintain a community vibe through dance parties, karaoke and trivia, and by continuing to be a neighborhood bar in the afternoons and early evenings,” owner Kym Register says. “One thing that hasn't changed is our commitment to the people that come through our doors.”

After four years apart, Tooth will bury the hatchet at the top of a bill that also includes Greensboro instro-sculptors The Bronzed Chorus and old-school Durham punks The Bastages (which features members of Durham’s first punk band, the great and irreverent ’80s hardcore act Ugly Americans).

On Nov. 5, The Pinhook hosts the second installment of its anniversary celebration with Big Freedia the self-proclaimed Queen of Bounce, and Guinness World Record holder for twerking.


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