Support: Texas in July, Skies Beneath
Night 2 in 3 of shows after Sabbath on Sunday. Was really looking forward to seeing this as Ive been a fan of Unearth's pretty much since they began and Ive seen them several times through the years, 8 now I believe including the first time in HoB Florida in 2005. As discussed in other threads, Unearth are a band that for some reason haven't stepped into that next level yet and it's hard to understand why. I was really hoping that since Winds of Plague had to drop off, they may have done the Oncoming Storm in its entirety as perhaps a warm up for the upcoming tour, but alas it was not meant to be. Either way though, on this night, they were fan-f***in-tastic!!!
Showed up at 830 to try and catch the tail end of Ottawa's own Skies Beneath, but they were already done when we go there unfortunately. No set.
We then waited forever for Texas in July to start. We watched them set up and start sound check, then the drummer flashed a 5 sign, so we thought theyd start in 5 mins. Cool right...no, they took a 5 min break then came back to finish their sound check and didn't start until almost 915. So this already set us and some others off right away. Once they finally started, they were alright. I hadn't checked them out before going but knew of them somewhat so I wasn't expecting too much. They were of course hardcore sounding but lacking. the crowd really enjoyed them as the pits started instantly when they began. Most likely to let off some frustrations of waiting so long for them to start . They had some good highlights with some good breakdowns and some upbeat tempo parts of songs, but not enough to really make me a fan. Not knowing them at all and I haven't been able to find any sets on line, I cant provide one.
Finally, Unearth returns to Ottawa after at least a 4 year layoff and they did not disappoint! They hit the stage after 10 and busted into Watch It Burn! One problem though...no Trevor? The band continued into the first chorus with no vocals at all. The crowd sang along a bit, but I think we were all more confused than anything. Then they stopped and low and behold, Trevor comes walking on stage much to the chagrin of his laughing bandmates! they didn't really explain why or what happened, but obviously some ruse was in effect. After a few laffs, they kicked right back into it and did not stop for the rest of the night!
Mavericks is a small little bar and venue so I was unsure how they were going to be their normal energetic selves but they still brought it right through the end. New drummer Nick Pierce really fits right in with the band. They needed someone like him there as they have not been the same since Mike left. Derek couldn't keep up but Nick is the right man for the job. His drum solo was sweet!!
John "Slo" is still on hiatus and has been for some time. I dunno if he's ever coming back really. So Matt DeVries has been filling in and he really fills in nicely. If Slo doesn't return, Id imagine Matt will be the F/T replacement and that's definitely not a bad thing. Buz and Ken were their normal selves, constant riffage, playing the crowd and each other but you could tell they really wanted more room to be more active. Luckily, it didn't slow them down at all. Trevor was in fine form too, he sounded much better than the last time I seen them. In all reality, they really sounded the tightest and best Ive heard them sound in a long ass time. Seems like this new ensemble is the step in the right direction and I hope it continues for them.
I filmed the whole show and got some great shots of the band. Highlights def included The Great Dividers, Endless, Giles, This Lying World, Arise the War Cry and Black Hearts. I seen another set where they closed with Sanctity of Brothers and was looking forward to hearing it but they didn't play it. My assumption, thanks to TiJ's delay it was cut short. Thanks TiJ!!
They did play a new song as well (yet to be named) and it sounded pretty good. Hard to hear new songs live for the first time and actually gauge them but this was a good sign of things to come for the new album due at the end of the summer/early fall. The middle of the set below may be a little out of order but those songs were definitely played.
Onto the crowd...Ottawa is not known as a metal town unfortunately hence a lot of bands tend to skip us by going through Toronto and Montreal. We also don't have the midsize venues that Mtl and TO do so its tuff to host bands in these smaller venues. Not usually a money maker or what the bands want/need for their enjoyment. Ive seen many a show where the crowd does nothing and then Ive seen them go apeshit. Well tonight, they went batshit CRAZY!!!!
I haven't seen a good pit like this in Ottawa for a long time. It started right off with their first song and didn't end until they walked off stage! Trevor kept mentioning it between songs and even gave us the nod with an "Ottawa WINS" at the end! So much so, that they are not going to wait another 4 yrs to come back and I will be there the next time as well
Cant wait to see them at Heavy MTL this summer either!!
Watch It Burn
The Great Dividers
Eyes of Black
This Lying World
Arise the War Cry
Black Hearts Now Reign
My Will Be Done