So we got there a bit too early, but had some socializing time. Parking was abundant (shoulda looked for street parking oh well..next time) for this small Monday show. Metro Gallery is actually ...a gallery it seems. They had several exhibits up (mainly video related exhibits, I think it was some themed gallery showing), several leather seats and a couch, a few tables and tall chairs, and a bar in the back. I asked about some beers and the bartender (very indie looking) said she only drank cheap shitty beer. I promptly asked her what was the cheapest beer. She was taken aback by that a little and I think it was PBR. They did have a decent selection of craft (and local) beer, so that was good, even if the prices were nothing special.
The stage setup reminded me a little of Ottobar, but it really was only reminiscent. Here is a picture of the venue from their site. The stage was pretty tiny...Holy Grail barely fit on it! From the advertisements and staff this place must usually host indie/hipster/not heavy shows. The sound system (my biggest complaint of the night) certainly was not used to such heavy metals being propelled thru it! Not to mention the soaring vocals which were buried in the mix for many of the songs. The restrooms were in varying conditions, which was kind of unacceptable since the rest of the venue was pretty shockingly clean.
One of Holy Grail's guitarists (w/yo-yos apparently) was manning the merch booth, which had several tattoo/ stoner style t shirts ($20), CDs ($10), patches ($5), backpatch, Vinyl, AND A FUCKING CASSETTE ($10). I nearly flipped the merch table.
Area 52 came on a bit later than anticipated (I think the explanation that the billed 'March to Victory' couldn't make it, so things got moved up). It was a three piece- a singer/guitarist in gym shorts, bassist, and drummer in some sweatpants. Parts of their songs strangely reminded me of an unrefined Arsis, which was good. However, they had a lot of stage banter that didn't go over. That got real annoying, real quick. They brought a couple fans on stage to do the 'Timmay' vocals for a cover of "Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld..." for their second song. A bit jumpin' the gun, no? On one of their last songs, they demanded that the crowd 'get on the floor' and that they would jump up at ...some sort of signal. Not many people followed. The last part of their last song sounded very technical and very good- their best IMO. Well overall I've def seen way worse openers, and these guys may just need to work on their craft (and stage presence).
Zach's band Strong Intention was up next. I'd not seen them before and was curious as to what they'd sound like. This band was ALSO a 3 piece - same setup. Their sound check sounded sufficiently heavy, and significantly louder than Area 52, so I was getting pumped. Abruptly, they started up and flew right into a hardcore/punky song with staccato vocals. There was so much energy, which was very enjoyable. Zach and his band (which included a rip van winkle esque bassist) were tearing thru their set- they must have played about 10 songs, each rather short (I didn't catch the name of any of them). Hardcore/punk is usually not my thing, and it was rather hard to distinguish the songs from each other for me. So I really couldn't get into 'em, but I could see them playing their hearts out and that was fun to see!
Holy Grail finally came on around 9:40 and almost blew the speakers up! They regrettably sounded a bit of a mess initially. They had a ton of energy, with their 5 piece setup, crowding the small space given then. The crowd was mostly headbanging and fist pumping for many songs. There were a few small pits, but nothing too out of hand. I think that fit with the old school vibe they have going. I am pretty sure the crowd was into it, but I was busy headbanging for 90% of the set. I got jumbled around in the pit for 'My Last Attack,' and that followed by the Rainbow cover nearly broke my neck. The crowd surged to the front and I know *I* was rather enthralled by them from nearly start to finish. I would have swapped "Rains of Sorrow" for another song, that kind of slowed things down a bit more than I would have liked. They did have a kind of short set, but for $10, not bad!
They evened out the mix for some songs, and others were a bit rougher. I had seen Holy Grail opening for Anthrax earlier this year at the Fillmore and they sounded way superior (due to the amazing sound system they have there)- so it wasn't the guys, it had to be the venue's sound system. barring that, they had a very good setlist and played many of my favourite songs of theirs- at an intimate show! I don't know why I didn't get a photo with James Paul Luna (like last time) or any of the other band, they were readily accessible. Especially since Kate was first in line and I coulda sidled there. Overall, a very fun show, great company, an odd venue, and I was home before midnight!
Next Show: Lynyrd Skynard and Bad Company or Amaranthe, Kobra and the lotus in PA!!!!!!
More Holy Grail
Holy Grail and co finishing up
Area 52 (8:00- 8:25)
- Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld
Strong Intention (8:47- 9:13)
- Bleeding Stone
- Chase the Wind
- Ride the Void
- Too Decayed to Wait
- Call of Valhalla
- Dark Passenger
- Crisis in Utopia
- Rains of Sorrow
- My Last Attack
- Kill the King (Rainbow cover)
- Fight to Kill