As I circled the parking lot I saw that it was pretty full, but I found a spot. Not a bad omen for the night. However it was bad that I got there late enough to miss Shadowburn AND Cilver. Oh well :/ There were a bunch of signs out front, indicating meet and greets for the first X fans who bought some merch, for each of the bands. So that was interesting, I dunno if they had VIP packages that didn't sell or what.
As I entered the main room, I was hit with a wall of heat- I was practically sweating in my leathers, and was confused as to how this was way hotter at this show, not quite sold out, (but there were a ton of people) as opposed to the sold out Between the Buried and Me show just a few days ago! I checked out the merch, Cilver had shirts, maybe a CD. Eyes Set to Kill had a couple CDs, shirts, posters, whew and probably a couple more things. Lacuna Coil had a measly one or two shirts and a couple CDs. Sick Puppies had a bunch of shirts and I'm not sure what else. I again should have taken a photo or three argh.
There was a healthy crowd, especially for a Sunday night- A couple hundred people there. I did find a few people I knew, but there were a ton of people I've never seen before (octane fans?). Whatever the case, it's not bad for Empire to spread the net wide and it is always interesting to see how different fans react.
The badly named Eyes Set to Kill was the first band I caught this evening, from Arizona with not one, but 2 "Hottest chicks," who also happen to be Hispanic(!!). They have a metalcore sound, with some kind of angsty vocals. Something was amazing with their bass sounds, because it sounded like it was exploding- like Destrophy had! The singer looked like she was a bit strained, especially in between songs, trying to catch her breath. She was also really hot, and was wearing a t-shirt draped on her like a flag, kind of scandalous. Overall I thought they were alright, a decent start for the show (for me). I think I was talking with a fan of theirs, wondering why I've not really seen/heard of them before- the conversation drifted to them touring with... not great bands. They also had a pit for their last song, unexpectedly.
I caught a picture with one of the "Hottest chicks" from ESTK (Anissa) afterwards, but it was a bit blurry!
It was PACKED on the floor with people waiting for Lacuna Coil, and when the took the stage it was noticeably louder then anything previously this evening. I for one came here to see Lacuna Coil, mainly. Lacuna Coil started and powered into 2 newer songs- and I immediately decided it was totally worth it coming out to see them. The initial mix sounded pretty great, maybe a bit too heavy in the bass. But Christina and Andre's voices were very powerful and mostly clear. Then a trend of fuzziness continued throughout the set, but revoltingly Christina Scabbia's vocals were a bit too low for the last couple songs. :/ Regardless, people were singing along, jumping like maniacs, and maybe even a small pit. They played some 'hits,' some newer songs, and some brand new songs from their upcoming album as well! It blew my mind that Sick Puppies was headlining over them. I dislike that Lacuna Coil's come by with odd lineups (last year it was Sevendust who I am indifferent about, and Coal Chamber who I wanted to see also... but apparently that show sold out!? And now this show, where Sick Puppies has a female bassist- who I don't think contributes any vocals. It seems a female fronted band would have been a better choice to be headlining.), but was glad that I finally got to see them. Maybe they'll tour again after their new album drops. I didn't think I was such a Lacuna Coil fan until this show!
After Lacuna Coil, a large number of people beelined to the merch table to meet the band and grab merch. I don't know if they left or just milled about near Lacuna Coil or what... but the floor was definitely less crowded and easier to breathe. You can also tell by my much closer and clearer pictures. I was pretty sure that Lacuna Coil had more album sales than Sick Puppies... but who knows.
A Note on the actual tour 'gimmick'- the "Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock 2014-" really a sexist and really tacky tagline. Focusing on 'oh hey its a girl' instead of 'oh hey this is good music that happens to be played by a girl.' I suppose there is some empowerment element here or the like- I def saw some younger fans with their parents- that bonding was nice to see. Now, these bands must have agreed to be on said tour- so that's their choice. I don't get why they pick what seems like mostly obscure bands (well I never heard of Sick Puppies before this tour), but maybe the more... successful female fronted bands are already doing their own tours or are European (Within Temptation, In This Moment, Nightwish, Doro, etc.). Oh what was Sister Sin doing? or Huntress? But I guess this is 'Hard Rock' and not 'Metal'... whatever... close enough. In any event, that is a whole Pandora's box of discussion...
Sick Puppies came on a bit later, to a still pretty loud crowd (this surprised me because I had no clue about who these guys were until maybe a month ago)! They had a very elaborate light show setup and used that- It looked a bit small on the Empire stage. I thought that this Australian power trio actually sounded pretty solid for their first 2 songs, pretty heavy. And then they started throwing in some unremarkable ballads (IMO). There were also some sing-along parts which were actually pretty loudly sung by the crowd. So all in all their the part of their set that I did see actually was way better than I thought it was going to be. Their brand of Octane Hard Rock was just that, but with a bit more angsty vocals. Their frontman was pretty charismatic, and seemed to hold the crowd's attention. Their bassist was the 'hottest chick' for their band, but she ... was far from the focal point, especially for a tour focused on that sort of thing. She did address the crowd at one point and I thought her accent was hot. Her bass playing was fine, I think the frontman drew all the attention :/ I left after about a half hour of their set. I was considering staying longer, but they really weren't drawing me in. I think I was still bitter about Lacuna Coil.
Overall, it was totally worth it coming out to see Lacuna Coil. The other bands that I saw were better than expected. I did NOT like that I made a 3/3 tradition of leaving shows before it ending with this show. Not a trend to continue...
next Show: Face Melting Friday- Cassandra Syndrome, Iris Divine.. DOGS AND DAY DRINKERS
Eyes Set to Kill
Eyes Set to Blur- me and Anissa Rodriguez
Sick Puppies I
Sick Puppies II
Eyes Set to Kill (7:32- 7:56 )
- Killing in Your Name
- Where I Want to Be
- Little Liar
- Trip the Darkness
- Kill the Light
- Fragments of Faith
- Die & Rise (new song)
- I Don't Believe in Tomorrow
- Nothing Stands in Our Way (new song)
- Our Truth
Sick Puppies (9:32- ) (thank you Bridget!)
- Die To Save You
- Walking Away
- Odd One
- My World
- There's No Going Back
- The Trick The Devil Did
- Nothing Really Matters
- You're Going Down
(2/25/2014 6PM- updated w/ full Sick Puppies set from Bridget)