Thursday, April 14, 2011

Accept - Sabaton - Katatomic - A Sound of Thunder -- Jaxx - Apr 13 2011

A Sound of Thunder - I saw this metallic quartet once before at the Velvet Lounge and was interested to see how their thunderous sound would translate to the bigger stage. Not surprisingly, the big PA helped them deliver a solid set of interesting metal. The rhythm section was loud and strong throughout, with the drumming standing out nicely. I recall how mesmerized I was watching him set up his massive kit at the Velvet Lounge and was surprised to see it a bit simpler tonight. But there was plenty of tools at his disposal and he sounded spot-on throughout the set. The guitar work is metal precise and with enough flourish to get the crowd revved up, although at times it was a bit buried in the mix. Not often, and it did not really hurt anything and may be even part of the intent. Nina's vocal work was interesting and elevates their sound by not being overly cliche-metal. It reminds me a bit of prog and punk bands that dabbled with metal like Circus 2000 and Penetration. I think as they progress, they are capable of progressing into an original sound that could be quite amazing. We shall see. For now, they are certainly going to give the DC area metal crowd something to get excited about.

Kat Atomic - I have seen this band before here and again there were a lot of covers, maybe all covers as I am not the full expert on all things metal. They have a decent enough sound--something akin to "the sound of the 80s" they say as they played songs from then and before. "The Immigrant Song" came off ok, but I was less interested in the Dio number and for "Barracuda"? Please, I'll take the cello version of Rasputina before I want to hear this. I find this band somewhat out of place in a night of original music. But they paid to play and that is the way it works here.

Sabaton - I knew nothing about this Swedish metal band and was actually a bit worried during their opener as the keyboards reminded me of dated Michael Mann soundtracks. However, by the second song, I was won over and everything continued quite wonderfully thereafter. Even the keyboard sound changed a bit and got better. The key was that a few of the songs had vocal work and song structures that reminded me of the folk work of Dick Gaughan (5 Hand Reel, Clan Alba) or Martin Cockerham (Spirogyra). No real surprise there as the Scandavanian metal scene is far more than death metal. Many bands have a good understanding of the great folk and folk-rock bands coming from Norway and Sweden in particular. But there was nothing quiet or pastoral with Sabaton. They had a ton of energy and a nice accessible quick pace in their music. They also seemed pretty sharp and lyrically covered a lot of history with wars and battles being the themes (Gallipoli, WWII, etc.). A winning set that the nearly full club was definitely into.

Accept - I do recall listening to Accept's first album back in the early 80s when a metal friend lent me his albums in exchange for digging into my punk collection (this was right at the crossover beginnings after all). I always thought they were kind of AC/DC light which didn't excite me a whole lot, not being a huge AC/DC fan, but Accept could occasionally nail a really good song. And yes, I can't avoid it... they were a perfectly acceptable band to my ears. They hit the stage with their new singer they have had for a couple years now and had a loud and proud sound that was a bit bass heavy. The two guitarists cut through it well enough and this was the rare mix at Jaxx where the vocals weren't too over the top. I was enjoying it all well enough and the band had a bit of subtle variety in the songs. It did get a little long in the tooth I thought, as they are not exactly Metallica or even AC/DC as songwriters. I did enjoy the moment the bass player and guitarist were trading licks one for one, while the rhythm guitarist stayed back. That was unique. So all in all, a good set that delivered a classic metal sound to the Springfield crowd (Note to touring bands like these guys and Sabaton... I know it's always a winning formula to do the "hello 'town that you are in' shtick, but I have a feeling that there is only a tiny percentage of people here actually from Springfield. Even the club management has thanked patrons that come from beyond the DC/VA/MD area to the shows here).

Quote of the Night: When the opening band was told that they should do their last song after completing their second not-too-terribly long song...  "Fuck, really?" They rightfully looked surprised but quickly kicked it in and did several more 4 minute songs. I really don't understand Jaxx sometimes as 35 minutes seems reasonable to me. The second band got cut off of their "Paranoid" cover after the second verse at the 26 minute mark. I love efficiently run shows, but things seemed a bit odd tonight.


Earthdog70 said...

I did not see the first 2 bands. But I thought Accept was great. Wolf sure can shred!

Anonymous said...

That was my favorite quote of the night too. Technically speaking it's not pay to play though, it's sell tickets to play. Often winds up being one and the same though. FYI, Accept's management was extremely anal retentive and insistent that the band go on EXACTLY at 10:30pm, and their crew took forever with their sound check. They actually ended up putting Sabaton in a bit of a bind with very little time to set up and do their sound check, and A Sound of Thunder and Kat Atomik got no sound check at all.

David Hintz said...

Yes. The ticket selling is Post-"Pay to Play" and has been around a while. I don't mind it in some respects and can see some good reasons along with the obvious bad reasons for having that policy. I have talked to bands willing to do it and others that won't touch it with the ten foot pole. And thankfully, there are venues that offer alternatives, but seemingly never enough for everybody. Headliners can be really demanding, so I am not surprised. Funny, although I am probably in the minority, I think Accept would have been better served starting a little later and tightening their set down a bit. Because they were really hot, just a little long for me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Sound of Thunder is just not quite there. i wasnt turned on by these guys..seen it before, weak lyrics.

David Hintz said...

Perhaps you are right about SofT, but I like young energy in an opening slot and don't compare them to the headliners. And for lyrics? I don't really pay much attention to them at metal shows and many other shows for bands I see the first time. And aside from Sabaton and a few others, most metal lyrics are better being indecipherable.