So I guess you could say Balance and Composure, was…balanced and composed… No but really, they did have a smooth and clean sound that was very easy to listen to. I have never heard them before but they were certainly pleasurable.
Chon is a technical, unique, and instrumental group with hints of west coast influence. I thoroughly enjoyed their set and even with the technical riffs, they were clean and relaxing. Something you can just close your eyes and escape into.
Thrice always takes me back to the good old days of post hardcore. Off topic, but the first time I saw Thrice, they opened in Philly with almost no one around watching them. They started playing and we all looked around like, is this real life?! The energy surged through the room and many people started running in. I was so blown away how good they were and how I hadn’t heard them before. I went straight over and bought their albums and proceeded to blast them to this very day, like actually right now. Back on track, although their sound has shifted a bit since the late 90s early 2000s, nonetheless, still an outstanding set. They played many relaxing songs, but still made sure to blast the oldies.
Circa Survive, Anthony Green specifically, in my opinion, is one of the most enthusiastic musicians out there right now. His high energy and passion elevates everyone in his presences. I have never seen a bad or boring Circa show, and this was no exception. Green even brought his sons out on stage to have fun and break-dance. Not only that, he saw a father with his young daughter in the crowd and had them pulled out of the pit and up on stage to watch. All night high fiving crowd surfers and anyone that got close enough.
I was slightly bummed about the lighting, which was even darker than normal, but that just meant I didn’t get the action packed photos I wanted. I still can’t complain about the show though, all in all another amazing night of music.
Insomnium was coming back to the US. There was no way I would miss them. Although I had only good things to say about the other bands they were touring with, it was bittersweet not to have them headlining. (I was hoping there was some self-proclaimed hierarchy for my favorite bands.)
I must first preface their opening with a slight disappointment, not for the band, but the venue. I have always enjoyed the Troc, but if the band does not have their own light show, it can be very dark, back lit and unforgiving for photography. Photography issues aside, even seeing the musicians faces can be a challenge.
Insomnium took to the darkened stage, a fitting backdrop for their sound, as masters of doom and sorrow. Their genius for melodic death metal only progresses further with a blend of other metal genres on their new album, Winters Gate, from which they played many songs. Although they may sound deep and dark, their stage performance was energetic and had an almost pal-around feel, with lots of smiles and riffs played together. Hearing my favorite songs live gave me goosebumps and I honestly can’t wait to see them again. Their music is moving, with melodies that will stay with you long after the music stops.
I have unfortunately never gotten to see Lacuna Coil live until now, and they were certainly show stopping. Having been around over two decades, their playing style is refined, while still retaining their signature sound, a down-tuned, bass-heavy bliss. Donning straitjackets with their sanitarium stage show, their vocals are both harmonious and harsh, which makes for a compelling contrast. Cristina Scabbia is an absolute pleasure to listen to and one of my favorite female vocalists. So happy to finally see them.
Symphonic metal has a bold and worldly sound that I have always enjoyed. The flawless Simone Simmons belted her operatic vocals as full force and power of the epic! Epica shook the Troc. Cristina Scabbia of Lucuna Coil even joined them on stage for a song. It was a night not soon forgotten.
After arriving over an hour early to ensure I wouldn’t miss a single band in this planet aligning show, I walked up to a line that wrapped twice around the block. Fans kept it positive though, with endless compliments about the awesomeness of T-shirts, handing out high fives for obscure black metal bands, nods and smiles for great bands, and even taking pictures with people in shirts that matched or coordinated. The time passed quickly, and we were pleased to be able to hear (pretty clearly) Russian Circles play the first set of the day. Finally, at the gates… I kept walking closer to the stage and getting more and more stoked; I would be able to shoot Opeth after waiting over ten years. Holy Moly, it was starting to sink in as I walked past the barrier and into the photo pit. Boomtime!
The Devin Townsend Project was on. A solid performer and certainly a talented one. To be honest, I knew only a little of his work, but enjoyed it nonetheless. He definitely seemed to have a decent following and offered some pretty quirky stage antics. Oh hey, guess what? They didn’t leave enough room for security guards and photographers so all of us with photo passes got the boot. Hopes and dreams, shattered.
It could have been worse though, I could have been one of the photographers who flew in from LA to shoot for a publication covering this momentous show. Yeah. Sorry dude, that kinda sucks. So into the madness of the crowd we went, shielding our cameras as best we could, and while fighting for a view of the stage. It got a little rough.
Up next, jamming with their signature rock and blues sound was Eagles of Death Metal (EODM). Joining them onstage was Brent Hinds from Mastodon. Even though they’re not in the same genre as the other bands that played, they still fit right in. Such a great set!
Gojira is always amazing. They have quite a unique sound that incorporates many different styles of metal. The crowd was energetic as they sung all their songs and it echoed through the venue. Amazing. Add a heavy dose of stage smoke to the mix and it gave the whole place an eerie atmospheric feel. I love these guys and it was great to see them sharing the stage with so many amazing artists.
I inched as close as I could get to shoot Opeth. Their set was a good mix of old and new work. At one point they even acknowledged no one liked their new songs when they came out, but hoped everyone would now. They’re a different breed of musicians, and seem to play for themselves, working to stay authentic to their sound even in the face of opposition. I respect that even though we still sometimes want to hear Mikael rip out some old tunes. They are definitely one of my all time favorite bands and of course they killed it! I think my buddy Scott Brewkegger, self proclaimed “greatest dude ever” said it best: “they don’t know how to hit a bad note.”
Mastodon, is still a behemoth of metal. I had never gotten to see them live before, and hell, it was worth the wait. Showcasing a full set of all their greats was amazing to hear, and the crowd surged liked a incoming tsunami. We were all pushed up close to the stage, packed in like sardines. Kind of scary with camera equipment, but still closer nonetheless. Worth it. The stage visuals and light show intensified all the action bringing the show to an outstanding and satisfying finish. Overall, it was a monumental show with outstanding performances all around; to see so many of my favorite bands converge was a show that could not be missed.