Thursday, October 16, 2014

King Diamond / Jess and the Ancient Ones @ the Fillmore Silver Spring 10/13/2014

I went to see the legendary King Diamond ($35) at the Fillmore, Silver Spring. This was basically THE Metal show of the year- nearly everyone was there- Ariel y Ilem, Dwanye, Rod, Dickie, James, Marysol y Mark, Yave y Sara, Kyler, Ethan, Miss Victoria, Miss Lindsey, Marie, Robinmerch, Gori y Omar, Alex T, Henry, other Henry, Sean, Dorothy, Bridget P, Greekgirl, A Josh of Thunder, Tony Dio, Chris C, Luke, and Tom. I know others were there but I didn't see in person- Neil and Michelle, Nina, Jesse, Chris Crazy Wolf, Metal Chris, Gerber, and more I'm sure! Many people had been waiting since 2005 (last at Jaxx apparently), and more had been waiting... longer!

There was a line around the corner to get in, even around 8:12 when I got there (after Jess and her Ancients started around 8, doors at 7). After waiting a bit in line, I saw a mob of people around, especially at the merch, which I went for first. After merching (see next paragraph), I noticed that the inside of the Fillmore was very packed! As one of the early shows on this long awaited North American tour and nestled between 2 sold out shows, I guess I should not have been surprised.


Merchandise was a plenty- and 2 hard working merch ladies were working constantly. There were a wide variety of shirts at reasonable prices ($25 for most), a scarf, a hoodie, and I think there was a CD? In any event I def grabbed a shirt. There was also a seasonal Halloween shirt that was a little more expensive.

Zoiks Scoob! Jess

Jess and the Ancients,  a kind of occult, retro sounding band of about 8 people cluttered on stage in front of shapes of black (drums and set for King Diamond). They really just stood there and played. Jess (I assume the singer), had a decent voice, but I really would have thought a more metal vibe would have been a better match. To me, it really sounded like some old 60s music or something that would be playing in the back of a Scooby Doo episode, but a bit more trippy. I thought musically they sounded good but uninteresting. The crowd didn't seem into them but was respectful and gave them  a smattering of applause. I only heard a couple songs.

King and his Grandma, behind some cemetery  GAAAAAATTTESS

Finally, about 17 minutes after the reported start time of 9PM, the curtain went down, and the tape intro started and we see a massive spiked fence across the stage. There was a catwalk with 2 staircases on either side, and the drumkit in the middle. There was an illuminated baphomet/pentagram in the middle of the backdrop and 2 lighting up inverted crosses on either side. There were various other items like skulls and lanterns and some cool lights across the stage. This would be an interesting performance! Part Alice Cooper, a very tiny part Kiss, part Sabbath, part neoclassical, and part musical theater- that's what we got in a very metal package.

The crowd was positively ecstatic for King and co, but they didn't seem as loud as the Coheed and Cambria show. In between songs, the crowd was a bit more active with applause, but I guess I was expecting more rowdiness. There were a lot of fans shouting along during "Tea," and "Welcome Home," and the special treat of a couple of Mercyful Fate songs of course! Setlist wise there was a good mix of tunes from all across the King Diamond discography, from his first to most recent- although there were some albums that were overlooked ("House of God," "Voodoo," "Spider's Lullaby"). "Conspiracy" was the best represented, with 5! I am a bit hesitant to count the interlude of "Let it Be Done" and the outro of "Insanity" played over the PA on a tape. Apart from that, a pretty decent setlist- although the Fillmore's anticipated time of 9-11 (2 hours) was a bit short of the 1 1/2 hr set that we got (a fine headline set, but I know everyone wanted more King!). I think for some fans King could have played anything and they'd have been happy- for me not having seen him before I of course wanted the familiar ("Welcome Home") and then some deeper cuts.

GRANDMA! welcomed home.

Show wise, we saw "Grandma" wheeled to the stage, and eventually serving Tea and then getting Cremated (!) in a big red casket with a Doctor an a Priest and King watching over. The same actress held some candles for "...Sabbath" and was the puppet in a very short skirt for the "Puppet Master," a shape of black, and maybe a couple other roles. Along with the lights and some smoke, these theatrics were pretty fitting- perhaps a little hokey (not sure if I can say that because I love whenver Eddie makes and appearance for Iron Maiden), but I loved the immersive nature of it. King Diamond knows how to put on a great show! Too bad there was no pyro, but what can you do?

King Diamond himself sounded amazing- I noticed his backup singer/ wife nestled on the far side of the stage, singing backing vocals. I at first figured that the heart surgery recovery was going rough... but I was astounded when I realized that she was only occasionally singing, and not very much at that! What we got was 100% King Diamond- pretty damn close to album quality if not better. That combined with the clear and harmonizing twin guitars and pounding drums- you couldn't really ask for a much better performance or sound! Andy LaRocque sounded particularly on point. King Diamond seemed to have some sort of do-rag under his top hat, I wasn't sure what the deal with that was, but I don't think I cared.


Overall a great show, a main contender for show of the year! King Diamond is on of those cult acts that really proves that art can win over more mainstream/blase stuff. After the show I realized there were people from PA, from NC, and from the MD/VA/DC area I all knew- a metal family as it were. Also, King got it right with Silver Spring and NOT SILVER SPRINGS.

next show: Arsis or Arch Enemy!

Jess and the Ancient Ones (8-8:35)
  • ?
King Diamond 9:17- 10:45
  • The Candle
  • Sleepless Nights
  • Welcome Home
  • Never Ending Hill
  • Let It Be Done
  • The Puppet Master
  • At the Graves
  • Tea / Digging Graves / A Visit from the Dead
  • Evil (Mercyful Fate cover)
  • Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover)
  • Shapes of Black
  • Eye of the Witch
  • Cremation
  • The Family Ghost
  • Black Horsemen
  • Insanity (tape)