Sunday, February 2, 2014

Amon Amarth/ Enslaved/ Skeletonwitch @ The Fillmore, Silver Spring 1/31/2014

We went to see Amon Amarth headline the Fillmore ($25) and there were a TON of other people we knew there. There would have been even more if another more underground show wasn't on the same night (Morbid Saint). We saw John and Kate, Shabba,  Jaime, Ariel y su Mujer, Jose,  miss Victoria, Ethan, Basil, Matt C, Matt R, Jen n  Bridget n Kris, Marysol y su hombre, my bro and his daughter, Sean, Scott, Larry and HIS brother, Ms Sam, Sarah, Dan P, Nick and Dan, Nicole n Dan (too many dans)! I think that's all.... whew

We venture over from the pub slightly around 7:30 for the 8PM showtime... and see a few people queued up, we distribute some tickets, but I need to wait... and then everyone at once shows up and a line around the corner is where Shabba and I end up.

We eventually get in and the place is packed. Jaxx was sold out (capacity 500) when we saw them last, and I think the Ram's Head stop on that tour was pretty full as well. I think they've gotten bigger over here, as the Fillmore is a bigger place (capacity 2000) and was pretty full (it seemed close to Slayer full, but I think a bit less than that. Either way, you'd have to get there early to get up front/closer an maybe have a pit wish too- the floor was active for most of Skeletonwitch and Amon Amarth's sets, and the faster Enslaved songs.

Skeletonwitch started promptly at 8 and... sounded like Skeletonwitch. This was the clearest and possible best sound they had (but not my favourite experience with them tho), due to the Fillmore's pretty amazing sound system.  The intensity was a little lost by watching all the way in the back, but they were certainly loud enough. They had a pretty fun set with some new songs, albeit there was a bit of the 'what song is this?' factor. I'm not a huge Skeletonwitch fan, but they are very entertaining live. They still have one pair of spike bracers between the vocalist and a guitarist. Their short 30 minute set was just right, I think more than 45/50 minutes of them would be a bit... attention wandering.  Fun fact- they got the "Silver Spring" part right. 

Enslaved was up next and was on for about 45 minutes, a nice surprise that met my estimate and was fitting for their longer songs.  I think we got enough time to get a little immersed in their particular brand of progressive black metal. Their whole vibe, however, is a bit less straight-ahead aggressive and has a different energy  than Skeletonwitch or Amon Amarth.  Not that I don't like them, but they just kind of diminished the momentum a bit IMO.  One friend remarked that he thought they were like the Deftones w/ different vocals, which I don't see how they thought that and cannot agree with.  Near the end of their set the crowd got a bit more into it. They were receptive, but no t as mobile as they were for Skeletonwitch.  Fun fact- they played a year ago on the same day in the area (at the Ottobar).

Amon Amarth came on to their newest single off of "Deceiver of the Gods" and the crowd went ape more and more after each song.  They sounded a bit fuzzy at first, but then maybe my ears got used to it, because they sounded close to the album polish.  Some songs sounded ridiculously heavy ( "Varyags...", "Warriors...").  Compared to reports on other dates, there were a couple songs switched out, which was interesting. I think they could have played anything and still sounded good- I personally would have liked to hear "Valhall Awaits Me," but I was pretty sure they were not going to play it.  I know some people would have loved to hear earlier stuff (from first 3 albums), but their setlist was comprised of mostly from their 2 most recent (6 from their latest and 5 from before that!). I don't think that's necessarily bad, but with 9 albums, there is a LOT of material to choose from.  It was nice to hear the brand new stuff, more than just the 'singles.'  I think this is OK because their new albums are pretty solid, as opposed to some other bands... newer albums... that can be spotty at best. That being said, I think the new stuff being sub par can really related more for the hair band stuff...

The crowd was rather vocal and participative, jumping on command, moshing, and throwing the horns, but also singing along to a couple songs (they're European, so there was the prerequisite 'sing with us' demands). It was almost chilling to hear some leads ("For Victory...") very clearly.  Their stage show wasn't very fancy, just a huge backdrop (one friend remarked that each band's backdrop/banner got progressively bigger) of The Deceiver of the Gods cover and a smaller banner of printed warriors at stage level. There were also smoke projectors which I'm sure would have shot fire if this was outside/in Europe.  So that was kind of lame... just smoke. OH WELL.  Johan looked a little chubby when we saw them in better light near the middle of the set. I think the last song was almost "In Pursuit of Doughnuts."  Regardless, I think this was a great show to start off the... heavier ... concert series of 2014. Fun Fact- Johan implored people to hang out after the show to see the relatively new "Father of the Wolf" yubtub video clip. The screen started to come down after they left the stage... then went back up. OOPS.

I must note that the set times (as I had predicted) were entirely satisfactory- 30, 45, 90. In this day and age of 50-60 minute headline sets (wtf, on a NON co-headline tour), I felt the money we paid was more than worth it. Just this year, I saw Stephen Pearcy and a couple openers for $20 and he had a 1 hr set. This show was $25 and had 2hr 45 minutes of touring bands. So I was feeling pretty good about this show.

Next show: Dark Tranquility/ Omnium Gatherum (missed the local showcase :/)

Amon Amarth


Skeletonwitch (8- 8:30)
  • Serpents Unleashed
  • I Am Of Death (Hell Has Arrived)
  • Burned From Bone
  • Sacrifice For The Slaughtergod
  • Beyond The Permafrost
  • From A Cloudless Sky
  • Crushed Beyond Dust
  • Beneath Dead Leaves
  • Within My Blood

Enslaved (8:45-9:30)
  • Death in the Eyes of Dawn
  • Ruun
  • Ethica Odini
  • Allfaðr Oðinn
  • Isa

Amon Amarth (10-11:33)
  • Father of the Wolf
  • Deceiver of the Gods
  • Death in Fire
  • For Victory or Death
  • As Loke Falls
  • Coming of the Tide
  • Runes to My Memory
  • Varyags of Miklagaard
  • The Last Stand of Frej
  • Guardians of Asgaard
  • Shape Shifter
  • Warriors of the North
  • Destroyer of the Universe
  • Cry of the Black Birds
  • War of the Gods
  • --------------
  • Twilight of the Thunder God
  • The Pursuit of Vikings