Sunday, March 2, 2014

Face-Melting Friday Melodic Metal Edition - Cassandra Syndrome, Iris Divine, Dogs and Day Drinkers, Fair Skies - 2/28/14 at Sidebar, Baltimore, MD

I'm on a quest to make my kid into a little metalhead :) As part of that, I took her to a show organized by my friend Bobbie at the Sidebar in Baltimore: Face-Melting Friday, Melodic Metal Edition. The lineup changed a couple times before the show, but I was still excited to see the bands. I'd heard good things about Iris Divine and Cassandra Syndrome, and heard that Dogs And Day Drinkers were folk metal, so I figured they'd be fun.

We got there before they were even ready to start selling tickets, although there were already people milling about inside. Shortly we were asked to form a line, inside. We met up with S and some other friends, and staked out a spot near the front, since besides being rather short and needing to be close up to see, Iz also just plain likes to rock out at the front of the crowd :D Unfortunately, this meant I had to wear earplugs, which I felt seriously dulled the sound. (I never wear earplugs. Why bother going to live shows if you can't hear the thunder of it being played live?) Partly for this reason, I don't feel like I got a very in-depth impression of any of the bands.

Not too long after we got in, the first band, Fair Skies, took the stage. I didn't know much about them besides a friend's comment that they were "power metal but not really." They did have soaring power metal vocals; I got some serious Stratovarius vibes from the vocalist during their second to last song, "More Than a Memory." The music had a bit of an oompah beat in the beginning (something that seems to happen occasionally in power metal) but settled into more of a NWOBHM sound as the set went on.

Next up were Dogs And Day Drinkers, all the way from Chestertown, MD (home of the schooner Sultana :D ). They were supposed to be folk metal, but they didn't actually seem to have much in the way of folk melodies. They perhaps had more of a Viking metal sound, with songs about drinking and war and science fiction. The vocals were average, rather like I think I'd sound if I tried to sing. Their take on Priest's "Breaking the Law" was decent. The crowd was pretty excited for them and there was a bit of moshing.

After that was Iris Divine. They were very proggy, but not in annoying way. The guitarist seemed to have a bunch of pedals that gave his guitar a synth-like sound, and they might have had some synth piped in, too, I couldn't tell. Unfortunately some drama happened during their set so I zoned out a bit and even had to go outside to deal with things :(

Finally, Cassandra Syndrome ended the night. I don't know how I never got into these guys earlier! I think I heard a song or two several years ago but somehow didn't get interested. I definitely should have seen them earlier. They featured lovely soprano vocals - I didn't know we even had a band around here with vocals like that! Their music was pretty straightforward heavy metal, with nice solos, but it was the vocals that really made it for me. So beautiful.

I enjoyed all the bands, although I would have preferred to hear them without earplugs. But Iz had a great time up at the front, dancing for Fair Skies and Dogs And Day Drinkers (and also taking some photos with her Leapster, which I should try to retrieve before she draws all over them :) ). Even though she got pretty tired and cranky by the end, it was still a great night, and everyone was telling her what an awesome little kid she is :D I'm not sure if I'll be able to make the next Face-Melting Friday since it's the day after The Ocean, but I can definitely see these face melting shows becoming a regular social fixture for me and Iz :D

Next show: Hoping to go to a locals show on March 8. After that, Children of Bodom, Death Angel and Týr on March 21. (The Fillmore's website seems to have the wrong date for this show, saying it was Feb. 28 O.o)

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