Vadim Von - Death metal night at the Howard Theatre. Up first is a three piece with bass/vocals and two guitars. The drums look rather naked and silent up there, but drums are being played somewhere. Oh, it's a backtrack. When a crowd member asked the obvious question, the singer said "we fired our drummer for being a fucking douchebag." The thought of immortality is frankly a bit depressing as I age, but I do hope to live long enough to see the retirement of tiresome words like douchebag from the lexicon. Anyway, these guys tried but it was a flat effort. The crowd was still filing in and the lack of a drummer with them riveted to their positions did not make for much of a show here. I think they knew it and only played for 23 minutes as is. Still, the last song featured some great guitar and some real power. So there is a kernel of something they can work with.
Grave - This Swedish death metal band has been around 26 years. The one original member, Ola Lindgren, sings and plays guitar in classic death metal style. His bassist, drummer, and lead guitarist add plenty of muscle. Lead guitar work is on the shorter side and they trade tight gutsy leads at times. The band is conceptually strong with less than memorable songs, but they executed really well and got the crowd of 130 or so fired up. A guest vocalist came out for one song for the first verse of "Black Sabbath" which they embedded in one of their songs--odd but a nice change-up. Good band that I would see again.
Dark Funeral - Another long running Swedish metal band hits the stage with full death make-up and gear. They have a vocalist, a couple guitars and a rhythm section. Their music is fast thick noise related metal that sounds more like Swans than Metallica. It is effective for the most part. Good drumming and instrumentalists that control the maelstrom. The mosh pit which formed last set is getting stupider. Some know what they are doing by keeping it in check and picking the one stumblebum up when he goes down. But there's a couple guys running around with beer bottles. Another idiot has fists pumped and throws people around and one guy goes flying into a table. Security slowly moved in. Fist pumping idiot finally rubs someone the wrong way (after I tried to push him in the pit pointing to where he should stay). Quick fight as the idiot goes flying. Security tosses them both and I feel a bit sorry for the guy that had had enough. Security did well by 'letting them play' yet being there when needed. But back to the band. Fair enough set when I could focus on it. Musically good, lyrically... well, "666 Voices Inside" or whatever that song was reminded me too much of "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall". Yet, the musical frenzy was solid.
Morbid Angel - Another twin guitar attack with the bass player handling the vocals. And the vocals immediately stood out as they were surprisingly interesting with some sound effect moments in between the strong more typical delivery. Good muscular attack with some interesting songs. They seem enjoyable, but I find myself watching the pit and security a bit more than I would like, so I didn't stick around for the full set. Good music tonight for the most part, but it will be interesting to see if metal is headed back to the suburbs.
Quote of the Night: From Dark Funeral... "This is our last song and your last chance to tear this place apart!" ... Uh, how about we tear your tour bus apart? This is our home--you are just a tourist with a microphone. And you come into our house and ask us to tear it apart? (Extra credit to anyone who spotted the Coen brothers movie I am channeling)