Amaranthe rolled into Minneapolis on Wednesday night, with an excellent choice venue stop at The Cabooze. With a little over a year since Amaranthe played in the Twin Cities, I was excited to see them back on another headlining tour. This time around they had a new record in tow, Maximalism, which was released about four months ago.
I arrived at The Cabooze in time to catch Citizen Zero and Failure Anthem getting the night started off. I was pleased with the fact that, for a mid week show, the venue was nicely full as there were still many filing in the door.
Citizen Zero started off the evening’s final three bands with a hard hitting set. They played a solid 40 minute set that got an overwhelming response from the crowded room. The four piece band from Detroit, Michigan, filled their set with energy and really got the crowd moving. They began with an instrumental intro, before launching into their current single, “Lure and Persuade.” They also played “Go (Let Me Save You),” another song that many may have heard playing on the radio. After that, Citizen Zero performed a cover of Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold.” They ended their set with “Home.” During that song, lead singer Josh LeMay spent most of the time on top of the barricade, singing with the crowd. As Citizen Zero’s set came to a close, much of the audience had found a new band to check out.Failure Anthem quickly followed Citizen Zero and kept the momentum going. Failure Anthem got right to the point on their full-length debut album the cleverly titled First World Problems. The Greensboro, NC quintet hit the stage and dove right in with hard rock fan favorites. As I made my way through the crowd, you could tell the deep involvement from the crowd as their eyes were clearly fixed towards the stage. Their sound is a tried-and-true approach that feels timeless as they deliver a simple dose of hard rock that puts the crowd into a seemingly hypnotic state. Like a big screen blockbuster, the crowd couldn’t turn away from the band’s set. They were fully entranced from start to finish. By the time that Amaranthe was ready to hit the stage, it appeared to be a near capacity show, people struggling to find any remaining spots with a decent view as they readied themselves for the band’s arrival.
A few minutes before 9PM, the stage lights dimmed, earning some deafening fanfare from the spectators as the bands’ intro created a mystical vibe for the performance, the recorded voice that acted as a narrator of sorts introducing the “grandmasters”.
With that they stormed the stage, guitarist Olof Mörck and bassist Johan Andreassen settling into their spots on either side of the stage, while Morten Løwe Sørensen somewhat disappeared as he seated himself behind his monsterous drum kit. Elize Ryd, Henrik Englund Wilhemsson, and Chris Adam Hedman Sörbye, spread out along the center as they ripped into “Maximize”. The song served as an amazing opener that instantly created an electrifying atmosphere, generating some light movement from some in front of the stage. The chorus felt like an anthem, as if Amaranthe was asking for every ounce of energy the spectators had in them, the three vocalists often thrashing around as the song came to a tight end.
There was no downtime before the subsequent cut from Maximalism, “Boomerang” having its moments where it was somewhat poppy, though it wasn’t without its grit, especially when Wilhemsson was belting out his lines in his deep guttural unclean tone; and at one point he approached Mörck, placing his arm around the guitarist as he continued to scream.
The band then turned a corner and took fans back to their self-titled debut record and pulled out “Hunger”, much to everyone’s delight, while “Invincible” built upon that power metal-esque style, sounding a little more symphonic and even operatic due to the striking notes Ryd was capable of hitting, digging deep and holding nothing back as she nailed them with ease. Just a few songs in and it had already become apparent what a well-oiled machine Amaranthe is, as every song thus far having been impeccably tight. The six of them made frequent changes in the stage roles looking effortless. There was never a moment it didn’t feel or look fluid, even with the focus often even shifting to Ryd, Mörck, Andreassen, and Sørensen, as they reminded everyone what a superbly tight band they are.
“Endlessly” was all Ryd … and was a beautiful moment. It was a true masterpiece that had Ryd mustering every ounce of emotion she could as she demonstrated how versatile she is as a singer, delivering a ravishing performance vocally. The response from the crowd resulted in a huge roar, with some wiping tears away.
The 56-minute long set was closed down by a series of favorites beloved by the fans, from the soaring “Automatic” to the exhilarating “The Nexus”, Amaranthe guaranteed they would end this show in a fashion that would appease everyone there. That became even more true when they pulled out “Amaranthine”, making the classic into a sing along by holding their microphones out to the crowd, encouraging them to chime in.
Amaranthe’s records do a remarkable job of capturing their more unique dynamics and showcasing the three vocal styles extremely well, however, it pales in comparison to what you get in the live environment. It was in this setting where one was able to admire all of the nuances and the true complexity of Amaranthe’s music, a great amount of precision going into it to get everything right, particularly in regards to the vocals. It was this excellence that made The Cabooze crowd feel something and gave them a great rush, and fulfilled their appetite for a solid metal performance.
Amaranthe’s current U.S. tour will run through March 11th, concluding in Reading, PA at Reverb.