Sunday, July 28, 2013

Amaranthe/ The Kobra and the Lotus @ The Note (West Chester, PA) 7/18/2013

We were on holiday and happened to be able to journey up north to see number 1 dance metal band Amaranthe in West Chester, PA. This venue was actually not that far from us (2hr or so drive, normally)- which is good information for the future as well. We saw Bobbie, Nick, and Carolyn from MD there as well!

We got there around 8ish, and surveyed the venue- a band was on, which seemed about right, as Shattered Sanctity was supposed to go on at 8. A few minutes later, after ambushing Bobbie n Nick, the band on stage stopped. I guess they started early. They didn't sound bad, but I can't really recall much about them except... guitars.

The venue itself had  a bar area near the door, then a small ramp down to the floor and a small stage. A stairway on the left side of the venue led up to a balcony, which I am not sure if only VIP people were allowed up there or not. Aforementioned balcony was about 15 people across. The sound was actually rather clear and not bad at all. Pretty surprising for what the venue looked like inside (a kind of nondescript bar with not too much character. Bricks, wooden bar. metal railing. ok.

Merch wise, Kobra and the Lotus had a ton of merch- stickers (25 cents), about 4 shirts ($20 I think), thier CD ($10, I picked this up). Amaranthe disappointingly had the Nexus CD ($12), a single of the Nexus or Burn w/ me (I can't recall) ($5), and ONE shirt ($25) w/ a lame design (IMO) (looked similar to  this w/ dates and the band's backs at the top). I was hoping for a decent shirt design. Maybe I should have gotten one just to get one. Whatever- judging from the crowd reaction I think they may be back before long...

The Kobra and the Lotus, whom I've heard good things about, was on next- a female fronted (adjectiveless) true metal band w/ NWOBHM references. I for one, was excited. They stormed onto the stage with a power that really didn't let up until the end. They were a solid slab of metal, and despite not a ton of the crowd being familiar with their songs, they certainly held the crowd's attention. Tight rhythm section- check. Twin guitars- Check. Soaring vocals- check.   I think my only complaint would be that their singer had the same tone for her singing on a lot of songs- and that made many of them sound similar. I'll see if that holds true when I listen to the studio album (update- I listened to most of it so far, very solid). Overall a solid opener that I would totally see again.

The crowd got a bit thicker as we all eagerly awaited the Amaranthes. at one point, we notice a large metalhead escort a slight hooded figure with nice legs thru the crowd, up the stage and up to the balcony (VIP?). I missed a couple paparazzi shots, but oh well. After 10 minutes or so, they worked their way back, which indicated that the show would be starting soon!

Amaranthe rolled out to some short intro tape and the crowd erupted! They opened with the mostly bombastic 'Invincible' and were received incredibly. There were die hard fans who were singing to every song and a 'fivefingerdeathpunchmohawk' guy starting some pits. At one point I took it upon myself to stop a completely unnecessary 'locked arm spinning' pit maneuver when that fellow and another chubby guy. I hated doing it but ain't no one got time for jackasses spinning in the pit.  I think you should have fun at a concert, but don't invade other people's personal space with unnecessary BS like slamming into people with zero regard for them. Now moshing is fine, but come ON.  Apart from that guy, I think the group was generally amped and just wanting to have a good time.

Jake E (male clean vocals)'s mic was kind of having some issues during some songs, but he still sounded fine. He had a scowl or nervous look for many songs, and I dunno if it was cause of the mic issues, the 2nd night of the tour jitters/jetlag or Elize getting the most of the attention, or what- but it was pretty noticeable. That did not affect his performance soundwise at all, however. The harsh vocalist sounded fine. No complaints about the rhythm section, minus the drum solo. The guitarist looked visibly nervous, but sounded album perfect. I think he def got overlooked or maybe feels overlooked, with so many frontpeople for this band. 

Every song sounded pretty great, even the ones I thought would be a bit meh (ex: 'Burn with Me'- truly a very good ballad live). I think 'Mechanical Illusion' or 'Afterlife' were the best sounding, with 'Amaranthine' being a very close choice as well. During 'Amaranthine' Elize was having a moment with the crowd singing along (hey, that chorus ain't easy)... pretty touching, and def one of the best sounding songs of the night. The beautiful Elize also had a few costume changes (leather hot pants w/dress over it, leathers, salmon 'Burn With Me' dress, which was fun ;3

I think they could have picked some different/more songs from their newest album ('Stardust,' 'Razorblade,' or my favourite 'Electroheart'- which they apparently DID play at another date later!), especially for their short set (about an hour). Come to think of it, those 3 are probably the most 'dance metal' of the 'Nexus' album. IMO the set length should have been over an hour, but what can you do? Their drum solo could have been dropped, but it was kind of bearable. The keyboard parts were piped in from an obvious laptop next to the drum set, which is fine- Wintersun does the same thing.

Whatever you classify them as (melodic death metal? Swedish death metal? dance metal? pop metal? Abba v.3.0? power metal?), the combination of Gothenburg, clean and harsh AND male and female vocals, poppy/sing along choruses, sweet synch/keys parts, and a little engrish- they do it very well. I am hoping this tour will encourage them to return soon!

Short horrible video of 'Mechanical Illusion'

Venue pix
Kobra and the Lotus starts
Kobra and the Lotus II
Kobra and the Lotus III
Korba and the Lotus and the Cowboy
Elize's back
Amaranthe on stage
Amaranthe starts
Amaranthe - in the groove
Amaranthe most of the band
Amaranthe slower
Amranthe- BURN WITH ME
Amaranthe costume changes
Amaranthe more rocking
Amaranthe Encore time
Amaranthe more
Amaranthe finishing!

(I lost my notes for Kobra and the Lotus, so this is an approximation, I can't recall the other song titles except for 50 ... I imagine they played a similar set as the other dates)

Kobra and the Lotus (8:20ish- 9:115 ish) (includes...) (UPDATED 12/22/2013)
  • ? (probably  Nayana )
  • No Rest For the Wicked
  • Welcome to my Funeral
  • Forever One
  • ? (probably Heaven's Veins)
  • Sanctuary
  • My Life
  • ?(probably Dark Passenger)
  • 50 Shades of Evil

Amaranthe (9:26- 10:30)
  • Invincible
  • Leave Everything Behind
  • 1.000.000 Lightyears
  • Serendipity
  • Afterlife
  • Infinity
  • Drum Solo
  • Burn With Me
  • Mechanical Illusion
  • It's All About Me (Rain)
  • The Nexus
  • Amaranthine
  • Call Out My Name
  • Automatic
  • Hunger
want another opinion?

(12/22/203 - found  my notes, with Kobra and the Lotus times and songs! and my Amaranthe drawings)