There is a natural fear when going to see a band that you have been a fan of for years, but up until this point have not had the opportunity to see them live. This fear is that it won’t be good, that they will let you down by performing poorly or not playing anything you love or whatever, but you won’t find out unless you go. I think the primary example of this is the current Bad Brains that have been touring recently, a band that people have put on a pedestal for years and they finally come around to touring and all that is heard is horror story after horror story. I finally came to the point where I went and saw it for myself, and I honestly haven’t been able to enjoy the band like I did since. So to be going to see In Flames for the first time after being a fan for so long, I was worried about being affected in the same way. I’m still a fan and I love them just as much, if not even more. To say the least, they did not disappoint.
Before I get into the bands, there is one thing I would like to discuss. Between one of the breaks I went out and sat down on a bench out in the drink and food area. Next to me sat a young man only a few years younger than myself and he proceeded to look over and ask who I came to see that night, to which I responded with In Flames. I went on to inform him that I was there to write a review and tell him about the magazine. He then asked if I was actually into Metal or if I was just sent there and had absolutely no knowledge about the bands or the scene itself, now this lead me to realize that one has to in a way at least understand the scene no matter what it is to properly write a review on the show because otherwise the feelings the fans have won’t truly be understood. After that thought passed through my mind I responded to the guy with a yes, that I was actually a very big fan of the scene and had been for years. He looked down and looked back over to me and told me that I am the bridge between them(the fans) and the band and that I needed to make sure that the bands knew how much they truly love and appreciate what these bands put out and do. I stood up and looked down at him and told him that they do know this and they appreciate their fans more than anyone would believe and without them they would not be doing what they do, I then told him it was nice to meet him and said goodbye. What I was trying to get at with this was that the bands really do love their fans just as much as their fans love them and that will always be the case.
Onto the show!
The band to start the night off with was Kyng, the moment I saw them standing up there I thought to myself how they kind of looked like The Melvins, although I think this was just due to the bass player’s appearance. Their sound and style though was a mixture of varying Metal genres that went from Thrash to Sludge to just plain old Heavy Metal. The performance itself was sonically bashing, but kind of lacking energy which didn’t help the crowd get moving too much, although there was a lot of headbanging. They do go back to an older style of Metal in general and I think that some of the fans that are more into the modern got left out during their time on stage, but that doesn’t mean they are bad at what they do, in fact they are a perfected machine up there and I think that might cause a problem for them due to how serious they are with it leaving it to lack on the fun factor.
Next up was Veil of Maya, a band that is high in the ranks within the current Deathcore scene. The aggressiveness and technicality that they pull off is what one could call astonishing, how the single guitarist pulls off both rhythm and lead live and the bassist shredding on his 7-string is insanely impressive. On an energy level their output is in one word, thrashing, they really do grab you by the throat and do not let up. If these guys want to leave a mark in the world of Metal, then I can say that they certainly have the ability to.
Co-headlining this night was Trivium and they have gathered a grand following in the United States particularly over the recent years, getting heavy radio play and an immense amount of promotion. When they took the stage you could tell that many of the members of the audience had come out to see them because the place blew up with excitement at an enormous level. They came out to an amazing light show and when they ripped into those first chords the crowd exploded into a frenzy of moshing and headbanging. As the show carried on they went through songs that landed on the harsh and soft side, but still left wanting something with a little more feeling the whole time, although their showmanship was top notch. It almost seems like they are trying to pander to a certain audience whether they know it or not, but in the end the heart is kind of lacking. But to the fans out there that love what they do it is a great show that will be certain to please.
Photos by Ann Bodan
Finally, it had come to the main event, at least for myself and various other members of the audience. For me, watching In Flames come out on stage was simultaneously a moment of unexplainable joy and a moment of absolute fear. Joy because I have been a fan of the band since I was a 12 year old kid and fear because this was my first time experiencing them live and I didn’t want to be let down by a band I hold so dear to my heart like I was with Bad Brains. As they went into the first song I was more than glad to find that I had nothing to fear, the way that they performed showed that night why they are viewed as gods in the Melodic Death Metal scene. Not only did they create a connection with the crowd on an energetic level, but on an emotional one as well. Their hearts were thrown out onto the stage to be viewed by the crowd with the amount of passion that was brought out with them. They played for what seemed to be one of the greatest hour and a half of my life, going all through their discography from The Jester Race up to the new album Sounds Of A Playground Fading and every moment of it was grand whether it was new or a classic. Their interaction with the crowd was one of the most fun-loving and genuine things I’ve ever seen, if you really paid attention, you could tell that this isn’t just business for them instead that they clearly are still those Metalhead kids at heart and that love for it will never change. I hope that any true fan of Metal can have the chance to experience In Flames live one day because it honestly is a show like no other that I’ve gotten to attend over the years, it is in a plain and simple description pure beauty because of how they put themselves out there and not just because of their place in the Metal world.
After leaving the show I felt that I was so lucky for getting to attend it and see In Flames in such a personal setting because it really showed me the high potential for not only In Flames, but Metal as a whole to be an emotionally beautiful experience that could be hardly rivaled by much else. The scene needs to realize this and step up, and not just leave it to In Flames, so that it can show any naysayers exactly what it is capable of instead of leaving them to just think it is nothing more than kids who don’t care when in reality it is a bunch of people who truly feel a deep connection with each other and the music.
This show was an amazing one that I know will always be held in my heart with its own special place because of what In Flames did that night.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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