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Archive: Reports

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Norway Comes To Montana With Hostferd Tour

Up and coming black metallers Hennes Siste Host stopped in Great Falls for the first official day of the Hostferd tour to inject a little of Norway into Montana. Accompanying them were a diverse range of bands from around the state that ran the gamut from hardcore to death metal. Playing the Heritage Hall at the local college of technology, each band put on a great show and added their own unique take on metal. Despite a disappointingly low crowd turn out, the energy the bands brought and the amazing acoustics of the venue made the show a very satisfying experience for all involved. More...

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Dream Theater Slays Calgary Fans

Progressive Nation 2008 swung by Calgary, AB this weekend for a two-night musical extravaganza, featuring Dream Theater, Opeth, 3 and Between the Buried and Me.

While much of the sold-out crowd was still working its way through the doors at Friday’s show, the Woodstock, NY-based 3 kicked things off in MacEwan Hall. A wild blend of acoustic and electric guitars and a keyboardist pulling double duty as a second drummer fired up the crowd and a lot of people who came just for Opeth or Dream Theater were drawn into the hall, rather than going straight for the beer gardens – a rare feat for opening bands at shows of this caliber. A high energy stage presence and an increasing heaviness and rapidity to their music left the crowd wanting more – and 3’s frontman Joey Eppard probably wanting some new guitar strings as they snapped up from his acoustic at the end of their final song, “Amaze Disgrace.” When I caught up with him after the show and commented on the serious string breakage going on up there, he gleaned proudly and stated “I broke all of them!” Turns out the guy plays so hard, his Knucklehead strings can’t always keep up. Sometimes they stand up to the abuse, sometimes they don’t. Somebody get this guy an endorsement! More...

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Seattle Gets Progressive with Progressive Nation

The Progessive Nation Tour’s headlining acts are a match made in heaven for prog fans. Combining Opeth and Dream Theater on the same bill is something that should have happened a long time ago, and sweetening the pot with prog newcomers Three and the more experimental Between the Buried and Me created a perfect storm of progressive metal. To further set this tour apart from similar acts the bands chose to use almost entirely fully seated venues instead of the typical standing setup. More...

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Shadows Fall Brings A Variety of Metal To Jaxx

I was happy to hear just a week before this show that Shadows Fall's tour was hitting Jaxx in Springfield, Virginia on April 13, 2008. I had already resigned to missing the tour, which featured a great lineup with Droid, Arsis, The Showdown, and Kataklysm as support, because the Baltimore date was the day before Ministry's final stop in my area, and I'm just too old for back-to-back shows! The April 13 show worked out perfectly, as I really wanted to catch this tour. The show was also on a weekend and I had not been to Jaxx in quite a while, not that I needed so many reasons to go to this show. More...

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Mustaine's Smaller Gigantour Returns Strongly

The Bell Center is a pretty good venue in terms of size and sound quality, but for those of us who weren’t able to buy ground tickets before they sold out, the seats were a bit lame. I don’t want to complain, but the bands were really far away – you try headbanging from the stands with five inches of standing room without bashing into the people standing nearly on top of you.

On the other hand, the people-watching in the large arena was excellent, particularly because Megadeth tends to draw metal fans as well as metalheads. By this, I refer to the hordes of young teenage boys flocking to the over-priced merchandise stands to don $40 Megadeth tees as their girlfriends went about in whatever Hot Topic is peddling to the angsty-girl demographic these days. On the opposite end of the spectrum, overweight middle-aged men guzzled down expensive beer and sat in their seats looking bewildered until Megadeth came on. Before I become too disparaging of the crowd, however, I am compelled to note that the enormous pit where people are typically embroiled in hockey battling looked like a great deal of fun from where I was sitting. More...

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Kalmah Finally Delivers Finnish Metal To Canada

Although it’s a decent, smaller venue, something was clearly wrong with the sound quality at the Théatre Plaza on April 28, when Kalmah, Talamyus and WarCall came on Kalmah’s first-ever tour for this continent.

I’m not a sound technician, yet this is a problem I’m not as willing to attribute to the bands, as to the location, the equipment, the set-up, or something of that nature. The middle of Kalmah’s show offers an example of this issue, as the bass started producing an annoying, droning feedback – quite noticeable as I was stationed in front of Timo Lehtinen. Pekka Kokko had to stop the show and call for assistance, leading the audience into a shout of his new favorite curse word, “tabarnak!”

WarCall, a local band (from Montreal), opened the night and they were definitely sub-par, at least compared with the headliner. Their music was of a progressive nature that caused the mind to wander, and I ended up getting sucked into the saga of a large, drunk man harassing the bartender who waved water in his face, in vain.

Another Montreal act, Talamyus, picked up the crowd and got everyone thrashing about and ready for Kalmah. Even from closer to the back of the venue, where the sound is typically of a better grade, something was a little off in the performance of Talamyus, who did not manage to achieve their studio-quality sound. I don’t really enjoy admitting that, as I find this to be a talented and innovative group. They tackle Viking themes from a more brutal perspective than fans commonly see, tossing in old-school death metal growls more suggestive of earlier Amon Amarth work than melodic, folk-driven music.

The most recent release, “In These Days of Violence,” got a good deal of attention, and “God Of War” and “Conviction” were my favorite songs from their setlist.
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Vikings Set Sail For North American Paganfest

To begin with, Korpiklaani was not present for this leg of the Paganfest tour, and it’s nothing short of a tragedy that North Americans had to miss out on the Forest Clan for this event.

Eluveitie was also not in attendance, supposedly because they didn’t file the proper paperwork with the Canadian customs in a timely fashion, so Gwynbleidd was on hand to fill in as an opener at the Medley in Montreal, Quebec. These New Yorkers weren’t quite as folksy as their Scandinavian counterparts, yet they offered a melancholic, progressive metal – slow, dark material, somewhat similar to High On Fire, and they set the stage quite nicely for Tyr.

Tyr looked the same as ever, long-haired and bare-chested, and they treated the crowd to a song from their newest album, “Land”. Fans were pleased to see “Hail to the Hammer” and the Faroese “Ramund Hin Unge” get some play, as well as “Wings of Time”. Unfortunately, their set was cut mercilessly short after a few songs, and they were replaced by Turisas. It is safe to say, even among the crazy Ensiferum fans, that Turisas stole the show that night. They swept up the crowd into the palm of their head and collectively placed it in their pocket. More...

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Fallen Martyr and Live To Die Rock Krug's Place

On Saturday, March 22, 2008 I made a point to get out to the best (if not only) local Frederick, Maryland metal venue, Krug's Place, to catch a local show. My main incentive to go was to see two bands I'd already seen there and enjoyed: Live to Die and Fallen Martyr. Of course, I was interested in checking out the new bands as well, and happy to get out to see some live metal and not have to drive an hour or more to do so. More...

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Death Angel Become Lords Of The Underworld

Camden's Underworld venue has hosted some great performances from many of the old school thrash and death metal legends. Death Angel would be no exception.

The first band to hit the stage was Austria's Demolition. The band demonstrated some really good sounds in the vein of older death metal acts and were quite possibly the heaviest band of the night. Whilst they were good at what they did, they received only a limited reaction from the audience, which was a shame because they were pouring their heart and soul into the set. Demolition was a good live band that restores your faith that there is "real" death metal still going. More...

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Ministry Rocks Seattle One Last Time

The night was cold and wet. Perfect weather for Meshuggah to feel right at home. Oddly enough we also were blessed with a healthy clap of thunder and a strike of lightning, giving me the impression that the night was going to be interesting. Upon arriving at the venue, the early birds endured the cold and wet weather for about an hour and a half before being separated into two lines: one for the men and the other women. The search was easy and despite my skull belt was let in with no troubles. More...

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Firestorm Fest Hits Chicago

Last night Firestorm Fest (American Hardcore Lives) rolled into Chicago. My sons, along with one of their friends, accompanied me into the city to see the show.

And what a show it was. I think my ears have stopped bleeding and I think my hearing is beginning to return. We all agreed that it was one of the best shows we've seen in some time.
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Queensryche and Dokken Rock Atlantic City

In the 1980's, when metal ruled MTV and the radio airwaves, two of the greats from the era are the legendary Queensryche and Dokken. When the news of this pairing for a 2008 tour was released, fans made sure they purchased their tickets early. They did not want to miss what was sure to be an evening that evoked long-lost memories and truly great music. There were many surprises in store on this tour--even more that usual.

Queensryche is known for their social awareness, and being artists who do more than write music about it, they take action and get their fans involved too.

During their Mindcrime I and II tour in 2006 they partnered with Buell motorcycles and VH1 to raise money for the Save the Music foundation, fans donated and got to ride along with vocalist Geoff Tate and guitarist Mike Stone from one venue to the next on their one of a kind custom motorcycles Eric Buell designed especially for Stone and Tate.

I do not have the exact tally of the funds raised for Save the Music Foundation, but I understand it to be in excess of $80,000.

Mike Stone told me both he and Geoff Tate are very passionate about music programs remaining in the schools and that it offers children a chance to grow and develop creatively. It is in fact one the reasons Stone is a musician today. Seeing Queensryche live is proof positive that the world and our children stand to lose too much that can be derived from music programs, so they must be kept going, period. More...

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Bane Show Report From The Knitting Factory, NYC

Ah, Bane in New York City’s Knitting Factory: non-stop straight-edge hardcore at its finest. Boston’s Bane plugged their gear in, and from the first force of front man Aaron Bedard’s strong vocals and heavy and energetic 3-chord and punch-packed drum backing from the band, fans were singing along in unison while moshers threw themselves across the floor. Bane made it clear they were excited to play New York City.
Bane’s merchandise booth was jam-packed with fans waiving their money and pointing to shirts. Personally, I fell in love with their black shirt with gold glittered ‘BANE.’ Inevitably, Bedard gifted me with a shirt and a hoodie. I can’t express enough how much this band RULES in every way! More...

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Sonata Arctica Plays The Warehouse

Currently trekking across North America on a 15-date tour, Sonata Arctica made a pit stop Monday night at The Warehouse in Calgary, AB. Kicking off the show was homegrown progressive/death hybrid Nebucadnezzer. Barely in their 20s, but playing the local circuit for over three years, the quartet did a fabulous job of warming up an already enthusiastic crowd. Performing local favourites like “Leviathan,” as well as tunes from their soon to be released independent album “Affliction,” Nebucadnezzer proved that the opening slot can be just as audibly intense as the rest. With talent beyond their years, Nebucadnezzer showed up with what seemed like no other plan than to slay. More...

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Amon Amarth Conquers Vancouver

It was a cold and dreary winter night on December 14th, 2007 in rain-soaked Vancouver. Viking ships disguised as tour buses pulled up in front of the Croatian Cultural Centre, carrying a crew of Norsemen prepared to pillage the venue and to unleash Swedish death metal upon the crowd of angst-ridden teenagers and drunken metalheads. After a pat-down by the anal retentive security guards at the CCC, we made our way into the main hall that already smelled of a mixture of various kinds of smoke and kids who hadn’t yet realized that deodorant use comes with puberty. More...

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The Dillinger Escape Plan Bring Chaos to KY

Live shows are always about taking the good with the bad. December 6th at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, KY would be no different. The bad things: Severely insufficient parking, The long, seemingly endless line to the door in the blustery cold, outrageous alcohol prices, fans trying to scream through their cell phone rather than taking in the performances, young couples bickering and opinionated Machine Head fans. This is all normal. Fortunately the bands came through in spades. A toasty venue, responsive bartenders, and expedient band crews didn’t hurt matters either. More...

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Marilyn Manson Returns To Perth, Australia

Returning for the first time since the now-infamous Big Day Out festival in 1999 - when he walked off stage after being hit by a bottle - Marilyn Manson played Perth's Challenge Stadium on Saturday 15th October, with Melbourne all-girl band The Spazzys in support.

As the venue filled with goths and wannabe goths. The Spazzys played some Ramones-inspired pop-punk and received a largely disinterested response, although they weren't booed off stage as apparently happened at the Melbourne show. The crowd were there to see one man and weren't in an accommodating mood. More...

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Summer Festival Slaughters New York City

On July 8th 2007 I went to see the Summer Slaughter Festival at BBkings in New York City. Of the venues in my area that book metal bands, BBkings has been one of my favorites for its amazing sound and size. It is never too loud that I feel like I’m going deaf, but still loud enough that I feel the music and rock out. The venue definitely has great tech guys running the soundboards and lights. With this in mind, I knew that I would get proper enjoyment of the bands and not focus on how much I can't hear a certain instrument or the vocals. I entered without knowing what to expect because I am not a fan of most brutal death metal, but there were a few bands I recognized and wanted to see how they were live, namely, Necrophagist, Beneath the Massacre, and Cephalic Carnage. I really wish I could have seen Arsis, but they had troubles with their van on tour and couldn't make it out. More...

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Ventflow Take Back Their Territory

August the 3rd may well have been the most important and highly anticipated night all year for Swindon metalheads as two of the areas biggest and best bands returned and a much hyped band performed their first gig together as well as a visit from the best Welsh band since Budgie. And not one band disapointed. More...

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Forwardhead Takes The Next Step w/ Pieces Release

Now that Forwardhead has announced the first batch of their headlining tour dates, I am officially late on this show report. On Saturday, May 26, over Memorial Day Weekend, I made my second trip to Baltimore's excellent Ram's Head Live, this time to catch the Metalunderground.com-sponsored Forwardhead CD release party. The bill sported five local bands playing a show in celebration of Forwardhead's long-awaited album "Pieces" being released. The all-ages show was to feature a screening of their first video as well.

I entered just as the first band, Phantom Communique was taking the stage. The crowd was a decent size - somewhere upwards of 200 people I'd estimate - which worked well for the Ram's Head Live's configuration. The balcony areas were closed off, as the main floor (that I consider small for a sold out show) was sufficient for a crowd this size. The venue seemed ideal for a smaller crowd like this and the show had a feel somewhat more professional than a local show, but more laid back than a bigger concert. More...

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