I was pretty excited when I found out that as warm-up for their tour with Kamelot, Alestorm and The Agonist, Blackguard would be doing a headlining show in my area. (If you don't know why I'm crazy about Blackguard, read this post.) They'll play a whole set, I thought, which means a bunch of their old stuff! (These days they tend to mainly play songs from Firefight, their latest album, with a few old ones thrown in along with a comment about their fans who've followed them since the beginning of time and how they used to be a folk metal band, which always causes me to throw the horns and yell, "FOLK METALLLLL!" Although before that, they were a black metal band.) But anyway, I digress.
Well, this show started late. By the time we managed to get our butts in gear and get out the door (and stop by Giant for supplies..) it became clear it would be past 9:00 when we got to Frederick. We figured we were going to miss most of the opening bands, which made me sad since the tiny samples that Sixteen Cylinder put up online sounded pretty tempting, and I wanted to hear some full songs from them. But it turned out the show, which was supposed to start at 8, didn't start till 9. We missed Sanhedron, but Sixteen Cylinder was on when we got there.
Sixteen Cylinder is an insanely heavy band, with a little industrial flavor particularly at the beginnings of their songs, and also a female vocalist with a great voice. I was glad we got to see them, disappointed that they didn't have any CDs or merch for sale. I guess they're just working on their first album. They had an amazing, loud and heavy sound for a band that's so new they don't even have an album or full song samples.
After Sixteen Cylinder, we skipped out for a bit. Krug's place is more of a bar and restaurant than a real concert venue - there was plenty of seating, as well as pool tables, in the bar area to the left, and the room to the right where the bands played was jammed with tables, chairs and five bands' gear. The "floor" area was so tiny and the "stage" so small and low, that it was wonder none of the moshers crashed into any of the band members. Things at the venue were pretty relaxed, so it was easy to go in and out..so figuring we were in for a long night, we left and got some fries.
When we got back, Fallen Martyr was on. We missed Vitality, whom S. would have liked to see, but I was not that excited about. Fallen Martyr has a pretty nice sound, and they sound more intense live than on their recordings, but they're still missing something. Their songs tend to be long and ramble a bit, with lots of different pieces that don't quite come together. They have epic and heavy guitars, but the singer doesn't quite live up to the rest of the band. He has a nice voice, but in my opinion he doesn't sing strongly enough - although this was better live than on the recordings; S. thought he would be more suited to a different music genre.
By the time Blackguard finally came on stage - I think it was near midnight, I didn't even dare look at my watch cause I had to go to work the next day - there were only ten or so people left in the floor area. We chatted a bit with Terry (guitarist) earlier in the show, and found out that since Kim (lead guitarist) couldn't make it, they were not going to be able to do any songs from their Profugus Mortis days, only a limited set that the guest guitarist (someone from Destrophy \m/) had learned. And then since they came on late, they announced they were only going to play a short set :(
They started with "Firefight" like usual. I felt like there was something off about the song, but maybe that's just from listening to the album version too many times. Even with a small crowd in a small space, they sounded loud and awesome, and they used the low stage to their advantage - the bassist got on the floor a couple times to join in the pit, and Paul put his hand on people's heads and gave one avid fan the chance to sing into the mic. The highlight of the night for me was that they played "Sarissas," my second favorite song from the new album and one that they don't usually play live; I said to S., "If no one else starts a pit for this song, I think I'll have to." No one else did - so I ran into a bunch of big dudes, who looked at me like I was crazy - I'm female and kind of small, so I don't think they believed I was serious. I couldn't get a real pit going for that song, but I joined in a few more and tried to start a folk pit for "Allegiance." (More about folk pits in the next review XD) Overall, the expected solid, fun performance from Blackguard, and it was just too bad that there weren't more people there to hear them. (S. commented that the advertising for the show and for Krug's Place in general was pretty nonexistent.)
Next review: I believe the one I will post after this is Kamelot, Alestorm, BLACKGUARDDDDD and The Agonist, from 8/27/11