Saturday, September 1, 2012

Concert Recap

So, life was pretty crazy over the summer - I changed jobs and moved suddenly, and then spent two months on a boat sailing off New England. Somehow, I squeezed some concerts in there too, and when I looked over S's list, I realized there were a couple shows in the spring that I somehow didn't review either. So here are some summaries of shows I've been to.

Iron Cross Band, Aug. 11, 2012, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, UMD: The "IC Band" is Burma's biggest rock band, and now they're finally free from the fetters of government censorship. They played for over 3 hours, and would have played more but were stopped because the audience was so rowdy. The Clarice Smith Center was an odd choice of venue for such a heavy act - about half their songs were heavy enough for headbanging, and the audience was pretty excited. People were going to the front, standing up and jumping around. The police were called in and took someone away for not going back to their seat. The band featured four singers and guest vocalist D Lun. Lay Phyu was definitely the best of the vocalists; the whole band sounded worlds better when he was on stage. They played a variety of songs - heavy metal, pop, even country, with a fair number of covers redone with Burmese lyrics, including an Yngwie Malmsteen song. Their lead guitarist, Chit San Maung, is probably one of the best in the world; he played a ten minute solo which included playing the guitar on someone's head. There were a few other solos including a keytar solo that sounded like a guitar solo. It was a neat experience but for someone not familiar with IC's music, it went on far too long.

My Enemy Complete, July 21, 2012, Zero (The Meeting Place): My friend's band played at a weekly goth/industrial club that I like to attend. They sounded louder and heavier than I've ever heard them. I love the instrumental segments of their songs - they're heavy and headbangable, or industrial and danceable. The songs seem to lose momentum during the vocals, though; I wish they would keep up the heaviness. Still, they sounded good and had a nice crowd.

Scorpions, Night Ranger, Jul. 12, 2012, Merriweather Post Pavilion: Scorpions are one of S's favorite bands. They were good, and I had fun at the show. "Winds of Change," the only Scorpions song I know, sounded just like the recording. It's amazing that they sound so good after all this time.

Marduk, 1349, Withered, Weapon, A Strong Intention(?), Jun. 2, 2012, Sonar

Corpse paint for free drinks. And also just cause it's fun.

We actually got there just as Weapon finished. A lady at the merch area scolded us for missing their set :(
Withered was good. They sounded loud and heavy - until I heard the other bands. They had some fast segments, and some slow trance-inducing atmospheric segments. Thanks to the quickly downed free drink, I was rather tipsy and couldn't go in the pit.1349 was faster and riffier than Withered. Marduk was even more intense, with a solid, heavy sound. Their old songs had a distinctly thrashy or rock-and-roll sound. We left before the end of the set, around 1am, cause we were just too tired - I had probably worked overnight the night before or something.

Sabaton, A Sound of Thunder, Amphibious Apes, May 21, 2012, Empire (formerly Jaxx): I was looking forward enormously to this show; Sabaton and A Sound of Thunder are two of my favorite bands, so putting the two of them together promised to be a night of awesome. Not only that, but in the second slot A Sound of Thunder was able to play much longer than a local opener typically would. We did hear a bit of Amphibious Apes on our way in, but didn't listen too closely (sorry, guys, just not a fan of the experimental stuff). A Sound of Thunder played for nearly an hour, almost entirely songs from their new album, except one from their EP. I tried a couple times to start pit, especially for "Fight Till the End," but could not get anyone else to participate. Sabaton was awesome; they were pumped (even with 3 new band members) and so was the audience. The songs sounded perfect even with the new recruits. They played most of the favorites, as well as new song "Carolus Rex," plus some more obscure songs, like "Swedish Pagans" (which I've always heard other people demand at shows but am not too familiar with myself). I never thought I'd mosh for Sabaton (I did spend about a third of the time jumping up and down and shouting along) but I did this time; I even started a pit when I didn't know lyrics (that was "Into the Fire"). Some silly stuff happened like a stuffed animal being tossed around, and a guy with a sombrero wandering onto the stage. S. got a shout out from Joakim (vocalist) for his Rainbow shirt.

Rammstein, Apr. 25, 2012, 1st Mariner Arena: I had just gotten off a sail on Pride of Baltimore II, and was kind of tired. Before the show, Joe Letz from Combichrist was DJ'ing, and I was amused by the stuffed unicorns on his table. Rammstein put on a great show. There were lots of pyrotechnics and other stunts - roasting the keyboardist in a giant pot, crossing a catwalk (most of the band on all fours with leashes on held on to by the drummer) to a small stage in the middle of the crowd, the keyboardist crowd-surfing in an inflatable raft. We could feel the heat from the pyro even way up on the second level; it must have been roasting on the floor.

Iced Earth, Warbringer Mar. 13, 2012, 930 Club: Crowd was rather small for this show. Warbringer was pretty good for a thrash band. Even after the singer called for a pit, only a few people took part; I wanted to help out but I was wearing a skirt :( Iced Earth gave a solid performance, and Stu, their new singer, sounded good. He pulled out a mask for "V" which was kind of fun.

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