Saturday, September 21, 2013

Anathema / Alcest/ Mammifer @ Empire 9/13/2013

We went to see Alcest... and a couple other bands at EMPIRE (Empire). We saw surprisingly a large number of people, and several that we knew- Heavy Metal Chris, Ethan, Antonio, Joel, Marie + her dude, Iri, and I think Marysol was there too. And this to me was surprising cause this was not really a heavy show. I'm using a pic of Alcest here, cause I think their pix came out great.

When I got there, I noticed that the parking lot was pretty full. I assumed maybe 'normal' people were still here, eating dinner or something. But then I stepped inside and was met with smoke and a large number of people! Overall I think there were a little more than 300 people there- way more than I expected, but I was not very familiar with how big these bands are.

As I walked in there was a bunch of red light and a lot of smoke- more smoke than I think I've ever seen at Empire/Jaxx and then I heard something somewhat music. There were few notes so I figured it was a soundcheck (not to mention how things can be kind of late here). I saw it was after 7 and then I realized the band Mamiffer was already on stage and they were playing one of their songs. Or rather have their song that they play because it all sounded like one song. I met up with Ethan and a couple other friends, so I really wasn't appreciating it.  For stuff that seemed to be just on in the background, with the notes being very sparse and very ambient, it quickly lost my attention. They had a guy on guitar and  a girl on keyboard.  I am really not digging the very non technical stuff, but I can kind of see how some people would get into it. It was just like way too empty sounding and I thought they were definitely the worst of the night. That being said, their merch definitely kicked ass (if you were a fan). They had a plethora of items- CDs, shirts, cassette tapes, patches, vinyl, and even an art book! Also one of their designs had a pretty cute cat on it.

Alcest was on next and they were way more enjoyable IMO than Mamiffer. I was only familiar with a few songs, but the rest of the crowd seemed to be diggin' it. There were harsh vocals in like one or 2 songs, I think I liked those the best. The lighting also led itself to several pretty cool pics (see below). Again, more ambient rock, but with a bit more direction. They were way more energetic than Mamiffer (not too hard), but something about their song progression was a bit more accessible to me. I think some people call them post-metal which I don't even get/like/know/care/who cares what is after metal... I guess it means they sound ambient-not-quite-black-metal except for some harsh vocals they sounded pretty good I was getting a little bored or tired during their set. I think as their set went on their songs got better.  They also played a new song. Hell, they were pretty much all new songs to me. Around this time, there was an asshole who kept on shouting during the very quiet parts and at a couple times started to jump up and down and try to jostle other people. I thought that that was very rude- at this type of show people just want to chill. Especially with the atmospheric songs you can ruin someone else enjoying them by shouting like an idiot. You can do that at heavier/louder shows, but its not nearly as noticeable.  I was feeling rather sleepy about 2/3 of the way thru their set, which was not good. I figured I would pass out, after recalling the couple songs I had heard of Anathema (both sloooow). Pray for mojo!

As Anathema came on, the crowd got way more energetic- super amped! I was confused when the first song they played had more energy in it than the show that we had heard so far. I was taken aback because all I had heard were their slow songs. Now we get some more lively rock (not metal) songs? Ok let's see how this goes. They mentioned playing a song at the Milwaukee Metal Fest, and I promptly didn't understand that joke. Their set was decent, more lively- which is what I needed at that point. I only recognized like one of their songs, but everything sounded pretty good. They had variety- some slow songs, some rockers, some proggy songs, and even a robot song (see below).  So that was pretty distinctive, and enjoyable to hear their range- made me appreciate them a bit.
Anathema reminded me of Coheed and Cambria- particularly their singer. They don't really sing the same, but it is moreso their expressions and stage presence were similar. Claudio can certainly play circles around this guy, whose guitar skills were closer to that of the guitar wearing Paul Stanlet than Vinnie Vincent. They also reminded me a bit of indie or something. I'm not really sure how to describe it reminded me more Motion City Soundtrack show that I went to. So it was more of that rock, but safe rock vibe to it. I would not call these guys metal, but some sort of indie rock/pop. At the encore, there was strange song where the singer had some effects on his voice to sound like a robot and it was just all keyboard otherwise- very different from all the other songs they played, and it really seemed out of place.

Case in point- they changed guitars a ton of times... and there were about 2 discernible guitar solos of any skill. That is not to say that the songs weren't in different keys or what have you, but it just seemed a bit of overkill. Yes, yes I know the couple guitar solos the one guy did were alright they weren't great. I think I've been spoiled by pretty much any other (well I guess any) metal band.  At one point, the singer implored people to "go crazy," which the crowd interpreted to move mildly, not wildly. Yeah, that's real crazy guys, watch out for security.  There was a little movement- jumping, swaying, clapping, cheering- again, the safe things. Not that there is anything wrong with that. 

There were two pregnant women at the show who at one point were talking to each other and it blew my mind. One of them  got a shout out by Anathema as well. One of the funnier comment that the guys from Liverpool made was that near the end when they were thanking a crowd coming for coming out even if they didn't know who the fuck they were just wanted to see Alcest. I cracked up, at least these guys have a sense of humor.
Overall the show went WAY better than I thought it was going to be (especially for a not very heavy show). It was more entertaining than I anticipated which was good. Not to mention the tons of friends there! But I don't know if I would go see Alcest again- once might have been enough for this lineup.

 next show: Metanium? Death Ray Vision? Day of the Beast?
Want another opinion?

Alcest II

Mamiffer (7- 7:29)
  • ? 1 song?
Alcest (7:44-8:58) (thanks, I can't speak French)
    • Autre temps
    • Là où naissent les couleurs nouvelles
    • Les voyages de l'âme
    • Opale
    • Souvenirs d'un autre monde
    • Beings of Light
    • Sur l'océan couleur de fer
    • Percées de lumière
    • Summer's Glory
    • Delivrance (some new song, allegedly the first time playing)

    Anathema(9:31-11) (
      • Untouchable, Part 1
      • Untouchable, Part 2
      • The Gathering of the Clouds
      • Lightning Song
      • Thin Air
      • Dreaming Light
      • Deep
      • A Natural Disaster
      • The Beginning and the End
      • A Simple Mistake

      • Closer
      • Fragile Dreams