In-Depth review time!
Mr. Smalls Theatre is about 15 minutes from my house on a typical day. However, as many mentioned already, this was not a typical day in Pittsburgh. It took an hour and a half to get to the club last night with all of the snow plus rush hour traffic in said snow. Apparently it was a record snowfall for this time of year with 8 inches. Anyway, we got there around 6 and waited outside for about an hour in the falling snow. My girlfriend and I talked to a lot of pretty awesome people, including a guy from Ohio who came from about two hours away and someone from Toronto. I was a little surprised they didn't open doors at 6:45 because everyone was set up inside from what the merch girl told me. At 7pm we got inside and I immediately went to the merch table. I'll put the next sentence separate for those of you going to one of the last 3 shows.
Immortal sold out completely of 3 designs before the show last night and sold out of another one after the show was over.
So if you're going to buy merch be sure to not wait and get it as soon as you get in the room. At 8pm Absu came on with a fury I've never seen from an opening band before. Yes, Prosciptor wore the headband again and it was ridiculous, but he was even more animated than he was when I saw them as a four piece a few years back. My only real criticism I have of Absu was that the bass player handled a lot of the vocals. Granted, he was really good, but I wanted to see more of Proscriptor doing vocals while playing blastbeats. I didn't recognize some of the songs as they played a new song that was absolutely killer, but from memory they did play Night Fire Canonization, Amy, Spell 181 (complete with awesome intro from Proscriptor) Highland Tyrant Attack, Manannen, and Never Blow Out The Eastern Candle closed their set. I can't wait to see Absu again, and I believe the band truly enjoyed playing their first show in Pittsburgh after a 20 year career.
After a surprisingly quick set changeover, Immortal came on around 9:20. For the next 80 minutes, Abbath had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. The place went absolutely nuts when the first notes of All Shall Fall played, and Sons of Northern Darkness afterwards was a fantastic choice for a second song. They were a little heavy on the last three albums, but it does help that they played mostly the best material from those albums. I personally would have rather seen Unearthly Kingdom instead of Hordes to War, but Norden on Fire was an absolute monster. The crowd went nuts for Tyrants and Grim and Frostbitten Kingdoms. During Tyrants, Abbath did that walk only Abbath can do while thrusting himself towards the ladies on the opposite side of the stage I was at (the left side where Abbath spent most of the show). After One By One, the band left the stage for about a minute and returned and played Blashyrkh with more intensity than they played any other song previous to it. Closing with The Sun No Longer Rises was a great choice. Immortal left the stage by thanking the crowd and saying "See you in Chicago!" The band played spot on with no sound issues from my spot. This may have been a once in a lifetime experience to see Immortal, and I would not let anything have changed it.
Nick Cave/Warpaint: 7/11
Pitchfork Fest: 7/18-7/20
Future Islands: 8/8