The small stage and intimate environment may have had something (or even a lot) to do with it, but also don't discount low expectations as a primary factor in why you may have enjoyed the show more than you thought you would. That kind of thing happens to me all the time, and not just with music. Movies are another area of entertainment where low expectations have saved the day on more than one occasion for me.
Having said this, I'm surprised Ravenheart isn't thrilled at every gig or movie he sees.
Oh, and for the record, this is me making a good-natured, civil post in a thread that (1) you started, and (2) is focused on a band I care absolutely nothing about. Just felt like pointing that out.