Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Crowbar / Unearth/ Black Crown Initiate / Yesterday's Saints @ Empire 12/7/2014

I went to see Black Crown Initiate on their tour w/ Crowbar and Unearth ($18.50). I was on the fence about this show because I like BCI but was kind of meh on the others. I ended up going, as you can tell. There were a decent number of people there- I saw Chris Crazy-Wolf, Kris, Bridget, Dale, Matt R, J. Oliver, Ashleigh~, Dorothy, and Kyler there.



The turnout was about 120-150 people, not a lot for  Sunday night, but not exactly miserable. The bartender was certainly busy and I'm not sure why they didn't utilize the extra one they had sitting in reserve. The crowd also included the 3 tiny tots (I believe they were affiliated with of the drummer of Yesterday's Saints) with huge headphone/noise cancelers.

 
 


Merchandise wise, YS had shirts (new album coming soon!), Crowbar and Unearth shared a table of merch (CDs, shirts), and Black Crown Initiate had a table. BCI had shirts ($25, one was $15), EP ($10), "Wreckage of Stars" ($15).

Killer solo

I noticed that pretty much every band on this lineup had at least 1 extra string on their guitars. Black Crown Initiate had an 8 String guitar and a 6-string bass(!). Crowbar had a 7 stringer, and I think I saw a 7 string and a 5 string with YS.




Yesterday's Saints was on first and decided to hang out up front with my buddy Chris (who pretty much always does that every show he goes to), so I got way up close and personal with the Saints. Usually I'm watching from further back so I can see everyone, but sometimes being up front is fun. The drummer did his Jesus Christ Pose and then we were rocked into the YS set! The sound I think was better further back, but it was certainly a different experience that close! Singer Matt R. got up and fogged the camera on my phone, which was rather comical. Apart from that, I think I got more into their set as it was pretty similar if not the same as their last one with Exodus, so the heaviness and familiarity combination was a success. The vocals were really low in the mix for some reason, as it sounded oddly distant even tho I was about 3 feet away (if even) but I could heard the rest of the band pretty clear!



Black Crown Initiate, the blackened death metal band from Pennsylvania was up next. I had heard about these guys when a buddy linked me after they were supposed to be on the Septicflesh tour. I grabbed their full length "The Wreckage of Stars" and I dug it. Their sound is like progressive blackened death metal- it reminds me of a proggy Dimmu Borgir at times. The vocals from frontman James Dorton (second from right)(who looked like a straight up Babylonian king) were also a bit distorted, but during the proggy parts where only one or two instruments were going on were crystal clear. I think the crowd was a little not sure what to do, but seemed somewhat into them. IMO they were my favourite of the night.


Djenty

Black Crown Initiate got a little Djenty during a few passages of their set, but I certainly didn't have a problem with these progressive djentlemen (see also: Tesseract). They blend a lot of styles without it getting to be too Between The Buried And Me all over the place and unlistenable.


snake? SNAKE! SNAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!!

The one guitarist had a damn mullet and I apparently had about 20 shots trying to capture it. So here is a montage to try and convey it to you. His look reminded me of Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid.


The metalcore dudes Unearth were up next. I had recalled getting "In the Eyes of Fire" during some Tower Records going out of business sale, and recall that album being not very good. Their set was very samey sounding (like that CD), but the crowd was pretty electric and I will admit I enjoyed the breakdowns. They were definitely the best part and evoked headbanging and was heavy enough.  However I can't say I could tell you if one song was that distinct from any of the others they played. I enjoyed their energy, but did not get into any of their songs, and the pit of course was full of slam dancing/windmilling/Karate morons. I can't deal with it. During the last song of their set, some guy got clocked and went down to all fours and was pretty out of it. There was a protective circle of people around him as he slowly recovered. This dude was able to walk out of the pit area eventually, but it. All in all, Unearth seemed to be the best band (tho not in my personal opinion, but  more of that the crowd was behaving like maniacs- now THAT is a good live band!) of the evening.

Cleared out for a lil bit

The crowd thinned out a LOT after Unearth (see above), which had me wonder which band has the bigger draw. I did see most of the people who stepped out from the floor were back for Crowbar, tho. They did not bring the same energy and movement that they did to Unearth's set, however.


Crowbar featuring Kirk Windstein was headlining this evening. I really had only heard a couple of their songs, and was way more familiar with Down and Corrosion of Conformity (my tolerance and love for Stonerish stuff is very particular), so I was not really that excited to see them, but certainly open to a new experience.  They came out and were... very heavy and sludgy and... the vocals were not very up in the mix. The crowd was pretty stationary, which didn't help my enthusiasm. In between several songs, Kirk and co turned around, went to the back of the stage and... tuned their instruments. Crowbar's silent tuning breaks between their slow and stonery songs really slowed down the timing and made things drag on a bit. After about 30 minutes of OK sludge I decided to call it a night and head home. No offense to anyone involved, but none of their songs grabbed me.

This guy

Overall, it was worth seeing some bands I hadn't seen before (especially Black Crown Initiate), YS was solid again, and to note which bands I really DON'T need to see again (Crowbar).


Next Show: HIM?

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Setlists
Yesterday's Saints (7:46- 8:16)

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Black Crown Initiate (8:32-9ish)

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  • The Great Mistake
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Unearth (9:17- 10:04)

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  • The Swarm
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  • Sanctity of Brothers
  • ? Last Wish?
  • Guards of Contagion
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  • ? new song
  • Now Reign

Crowbar (10:37- 11:02 + I left at 11ish)

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