I woke up with a tickle in my throat. I knew what that meant. Give me a couple of hours and I would be up to my head in strep throat thickness. No…. of all the days to get sick why did it have to be the day of an awesome show. I instantly started drinking my weight in tea while sleeping all day just hoping to wake up to a miracle. I woke up just in time to make it to the show on time and, thankfully, my throat was still just at the tickle stage. Most sane people would call it a night and just stay in as to not miss any work in the upcoming week. Not me. I grabbed a tea for the car and headed into downtown Saint Paul.
As soon as I walked into Amsterdam I was greeted by hugs and high fives from people I hadn’t seen in months. I guess I didn’t really realize how long it had been since I had been at a good old fashioned metal show stacked full of talented locals. Although it had been months and I spent majority of my time last night catching up with old friends over a drink or near the merch tables, it felt like I really hadn’t missed much. All of my friends are still supporting this scene that made us all friends in the first place. It was definitely heartwarming. They wanted to hear about my recent travels and if I truly did enjoy the Beyonce show and I wanted to hear about the smaller shows that I’ve had to miss due to opportunities like covering Queen Bey. Throughout all of the conversations that tickle in my throat was still there but I was at the show… I was good… all was good.
With the show starting at 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday and two stages going, there was plenty to see. The smaller side stage was full of some of my favorite locals including The Culture Of, Druid, Terraform, and Fail To Decay. Even at 4:30 in the afternoon, The Culture Of was absolutely destroying the stage and the surprisingly large crowd (I mean, it was 4:30 on Football Sunday… I really wasn’t expecting a huge crowd that early so I was pleasantly surprised) was clearly ready to let out some aggression and energy. Sets were short and it seemed like as soon a The Culture Of took the stage, they were saying thank you to the crowd as the audience moved down to the mainstage in order to catch another local favorite of mine- Mirror of Being.
The Culture Of
Mirror of Being
Mirror of Being destroyed as they always do but, again, sets were only about thirty minutes long it felt like as soon as I started noticing little quirks about each band, they were hauling their gear off the stage and I was being shuffled to the other side of the venue. Druid hit the side stage next with a sense of power that only they have. The way vocalist Noah Lecuyer’s veins popped out of his neck said about all that needed to be said about Druid’s set but, again, it was too short and in no time I was shuffling back to the main stage to catch Portraits of War. Portraits of War brought a little sense of comedy into the night thanks to guitarist Jesse Holland who was spotted creating an almost siren like sound with his guitar while looking around like, “What is that? Who’s doing that?” Cheesy? Absolutely but if you know Jesse, it was adorable and so perfect. Beyond the comedy, Portraits completely killed the stage (again, as they always do) and in no time I was back at the side stage for Terraform.
Portraits of War
Just as I suspected and just like the bands before them, Terraform killed it. Although playing on the smaller of the two stages without proper room for a pit to form, the kids closest to the stage started pushing and shoving and got a little circle going. To see that at a side stage during a local band is one of the reasons that I always say that the Twin Cities metal scene in the best. The amount of support and respect is insane and that sense of support and respect didn’t falter as the crowd shuffled back to the mainstage to catch the first of the tour package- Adrift on River Styx. Adrift on River Styx showed the audience what Ohio has and to say the crowd (myself included) was dumbfounded would be an understatement. They had energy and brutality. Their sound was intense and a bit more grindcore than anything we had heard yet which made it for a stand out set. Although the first of the tour package, their set was still short and I quickly found myself making my way back to the side stage to catch Fail to Decay (who obviously killed it).
Adrift on the River Styx
Fail to Decay was the final band to perform on the side stage but they left no survivors. They had a sense of anger that had yet to be felt. Singer Joshua Carlson comes off as a very angry young man with his mannerisms and the way he screams into the microphone but he still comes off as somebody you could talk to and a friend. Again, yet another reason why I absolutely love this scene. Watching all of these guys (and gal– shout out to Liz of Portraits of War!) on stage is always mesmerizing. They come off as so brutal, so scary but when you get to know them, they are anything but. It’s such a contrast but adds such a cool element to going to see local metal bands.
Fail To Decay
Following Fail to Decay’s set was the one and only Buried Above Ground. Although local boys, BAG are actually part of the tour package which is truly impressive and something to be proud as hell about. They fit in perfectly to the brutality that this tour has and seeing them kill it on stage in front of all of their friends as a nationally touring act– not just those local boys– was so heartwarming I can’t even explain it. Sure, they’ve done tours before but it’s becoming a bit more constant now and the tours are becoming longer and with bigger bands so missing their faces at concerts is getting to be a new normal but it’s a good new normal considering why they aren’t at all of the local shows anymore. They destroyed it– killed it– they did exactly what I knew they would do and my throat was doing exactly what I knew it would do. By the time Buried Above Ground left the stage, my head felt like it was about to explode and I just couldn’t take it. I gave in and left.
Buried Above Ground
I was really looking forward to seeing Nekrogoblikon– a metal band with a goblin in it. I would have loved to see Upon A Burning Body leave no survivors like they typically do but I just couldn’t do it. At least I got to see all of my local bands and honestly, that’s all I needed. Thankfully my photographer was able to stick it out.
Nekrogoblikon was one of the first bands that actually got me into extreme metal. I remember being completely blown away by their videos and how their name made no sense. They opened up with strong with crowd favorites and continued to play the much loved hits. And of course, what Nekrogoblikon show would be complete without an appearance from the man (or goblin rather) himself, John Goblikon. These guys took the care of business on stage and powered through their set in style.
Upon A Burning Body finished off the night. They took to the stage with an amazing light and fog show to entertain the sea of anticipating fans. Their crowd connection was undeniable as they performed song favorites. Without a barricade, and the band members jumping on speakers at the front of the stage, the band made themselves more accessible to their fans. The enthusiastic fans ran circle pits and moshed for the duration of the set making the Amsterdam come alive at the end of a great night.
Upon a Burning Body
Oh yeah, did I mention that #oursceneisbetterthanyours?