Last night was yet another showing of just how amazing the local metal scene is. It was one of those shows that as soon as I walked into the venue, I felt at home and was instantly greeted by friend after friend. I can not put the feeling I get at a show like this into words. Surrounded by some of the biggest guys you’ve ever met that look more like wrestlers than anything else, this is what makes me feel comfortable. They may be the people your parents warn you about when growing up but, to me, they are my family and any Saturday night I can spend celebrating their music and accomplishments is a damn good Saturday.
Kicking the night off in the most perfect way was Krawg. I’ve seen these guys a couple of times now and I feel like every time I see them they get a little more tight and a bit more polished. Last night was no exception. The five men took the stage and wasted no time jumping into a set that was definitely the best I had seen from them thus far. Evil and sinister while still being approachable, Krawg’s music is unrelentingly heavy. Unfortunately, one of the two guitarists broken a string right before their last song and, without a back up guitar (probably the one time said guitarist didn’t have multiple guitars with him) he had to leave the stage. I thought it was game over but instead of just calling it a set, the band went on without him for a final song. The song sounded great but definitely proved that each member of this band brings something to the table. Krawg is one of those bands with so many different influences that come from each member that the second you take one out, although you may not notice it when it comes to the wall of intense sound, you can feel that a small element is missing.
Witchden was up next and took the stage looking like a band of WWE wrestlers. With black and white facepaint and a sinister look, the band took the stage and proceeded to captivate the crowd with their power and fury. Very little was said by the band other than a small “We are Witchden” towards the end of their set but honestly, this band needs to introduction. Much like Krawg and the other two bands to follow, Witchden has a clean and concise sound to the point where it’s hard to keep in mind that this is just a local band full of guys that you drink next to at various other local shows. Their power both musically and with their stage presence left me breathless and lost in the palm of their hand. It was a perfect night for them to film a couple of live music videos and although the audience was modest, it was mighty and you could easily tell that Witchden is one of those local bands that is only going to get bigger and bigger in the near future.
Plague of Stars was the only band on this four band line-up that I had never heard of before but as soon as I saw vocalist Melissa Ferlaak take the stage I got excited. I’m never one to make the lack of female musicians and concert-goers in the local metal scene a thing but there is a reason why I have a “Sausage Fest Meter” at the end of every one of my posts. It’s just a fact of life that there are very few females in this scene and even fewer that take the stage. I could probably count on my hands how many local bands have females in them and to catch one without being prepared for it definitely made my night. Melissa’s operatic and dramatic ranged voice juxtaposed the heavy instrumentation of Plague of Stars in the most perfect way. Even behind the female vocals, this band had a sound that definitely stood out from the other bands of the night. Clearly each band brought something different to the table but these guys just had something so interesting and creative that it definitely caught me a bit off guard. I know these guys have been around for awhile and I’m a bit late to the game but I truly can’t wait to watch this band grow. Their unique sound definitely has a lot of potential making them a band I have my eye on for this year.
I almost felt bad for headliners Echoes of the Fallen for having to follow the three powerhouses that performed before them but they definitely held their own. Within the first song I was old. Again, a sound that was a bit too clean and perfect to be just another local band, these guys closed out the night with their heavy and aggressive sound. I have some history with two of the members of this band. I used to manage their old band but lost touch with them over the years. I can not explain to you how happy I was to see that both of them hadn’t given up on music like many other people in the friend group we shared back in the day. I knew before their set that they had the passion but to see that passion be mixed with the passion of the other members almost swept me off my feet. From what I gathered from last night, Echoes of the Fallen took a wee bit of a break there for a bit and last night was kind of their “welcome back” show. Good thing too- this band is definitely one I hope to see a lot more of this year.
Last night wasn’t a huge show. The crowd was modest but when it came to the admiration for the band members that graced the stage and the sense of love in the room, it felt like a sold out show. You don’t need to be at a big show at a trendy bar to be in your happy place. Sometimes these small shows in a dive bar surrounded by friends both old and new is a million times better.