Venue: Il Motore
Opening bands: Hitch Hike Rats & Lord Dying
I went to this show right in the middle of my work week and following a night of partial insomnia, so I was pretty exhausted, but I decided to go anyway since I already had bought my ticket and I had a good time. When I got there, not long before 9 pm, the local openers Hitch Hike Rats (from whom I had never heard about before) were about to start. What startled me was the virtual absence of crowd: there were maybe 10 people in the venue, generously speaking, which was a bit alarming for the turn-up of the tour. Some more people came in when the band started (their friends I assume), but the place was still almost empty. The opening band gave an enjoyable performance of stoner doom mixed with hardcore/stoner rock à la ETID/Cancer Bats. Their drummer was creative and their singer had impressive screams and clean vocals also reminiscent of Every Time I Die, though his volume was a bit low. He was also really angry on stage; throwing bottles and microphone stands everywhere and punching the air with his douchesque (or bodybuilderesque, but I always mix them up
) tattooed arms. The whole band had good energy, but unfortunately, the quality of the riffs wasn't constant. They've got room for improvement, but they could become a great band in the few next years.
After them, it was time for the touring bands, the first of them being Lord Dying from Portland, Oregon. They had just released their debut album, Summon the Faithless
, on Relapse Records and it was their first real tour. I must say that their doomy sludge metal was very efficient in a live setting. Their sound made me think of Bison B.C. and High on Fire with more traditional heavy metal riffs (and more juvenile songwriting, but that will probably be resolved on their next record). Their guitar and bass tones could have been rougher, but they still were crushing. Their guitarist/vocalist was also pretty crushing in terms of body weight; I think he wins the award of the fatest musician I've ever seen play in a band... and he totally pulled it off! His vocals were powerful and he played those riffs and leads tightly. The band had great chemistry, which is impressive for such a new one. They played most of the songs from their demo and from their full length. The more they played, the more I started to dig their songs. I'll have to give their debut a listen for sure.
I then went outside for a little (and fun - it really helped wake me up) talk with some friends, and at some point, I realized that Howl had started, so we rushed back into the venue. Fortunately, we had only missed one song; and also fortunately, the place had filled up a lot more for the headliners. The Rhode Islanders gave the most energetic performance of the night by far. They were all headbanging and moving, especially the two guitarist and the vocalist. Their sound was heavy and hard hitting and their frontman was entertaining. He kept belching out nonsense about mexican food, health care and the french language. Near the end of the set, he made attempts to speak french. They were pretty good, but still attempts...
I only would have wished to hear more than only two songs of their fantastic debut album Full of Hell
. I have to say I'm not a huge fan of the "new" Howl: I don't like the new singer's screams or lyrics that much and I disapprove their idea of replacing most of the more atmospheric parts with Pantera-ish thrashy riffs or grooves. Still, the seven new songs that they played for us sounded a lot better live than in their studio versions, that suffer from a horribly sterile production. To sum it all up, this wasn't one of the most outstanding shows in my regular concert-goer life, but it definitely was a fun evening with three good bands.
One Last Nail
Embrace Your Nerve
With A Blade