I was a little surprised by how empty The Fine Line was on Tuesday when I walked in for my show of choice. Maybe it was because it was a Tuesday, maybe it was because the headliner is a bit of an obscure band, whatever the case, my heart broke a little bit due to the lack of people but as soon s the show started, that heartbreak left and was replaced with an undeniable sense of energy and passion that came from not only the stage but also the audience.
Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based For Once got the night started as the sole opener. Although their overall sound was overall a bit more radio rock feeling than I tend to go, I instantly fell in love with the way this band braided in elements of everything from tech metal to metalcore in their music. Even though their style was very different from the headliner of the night, For Once was able to quickly captivate the audience with their power and clearly evident passion. Their flawless cover of Killswitch Engage’s “The End of Heartache” was not only a perfect fit stylistically for this band but also gave them a chance to showcase just how solid of a band they are. For Once’s set was quick but it packed a punch and definitely left me and the rest of the audience impressed. I don’t know why these guys aren’t more involved in the local Twin Cities metal scene (because let’s be honest, Eau Claire doesn’t have much of a metal scene) but I do hope to see their name more often on line-ups here. Their overall sound may not be an exact fit for me but I will absolutely be going back to see this band again when given the chance.
Headlining the Tuesday night show was the one and only Alien Weaponry. I’ll be honest, I knew very little about this band walking into the show. I was there because a friend had mentioned the show and I was craving something new and exciting. Clearly, I picked the right show. This New Zealand based band wasted no time in catching the entire audience (which had grown but was still modest at best) in the palm of their hands instantly. Coming out to a bit of a tribal warrior chant, this trio instantly had me intrigued and wanting to know so much more. Before I get into how amazing they were on Tuesday night, let’s get into the background of this band a bit.
Formed in 2010 by drummer Henry Te Reiwhati de Jong and guitarist/ singer Lewis Raharuhi de Jong, Alien Weaponry instantly set themselves apart from the rest of the bands in the scene with their tribal connections to Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Raukawa and with their way of singing partly in the Māori language. They embraced this culture and history wrapping it into their music and giving it a spotlight for people that may know nothing about this culture (myself included). Although I still have a lot of learning to do about the two tribes that the brothers give nods to in their music, I feel like just knowing this influence helps really explain this band’s music. It’s intense and almost threatening at times while being completely blissful and beautiful at others. What I’m trying to say is that I adore how this band has incorporated their interesting past in their music and I feel like that’s absolutely something that sets this trio apart from others.
As mentioned, I was completely unfamiliar with this band when walking into their show on Tuesday night so I couldn’t tell you what songs they played or even how many they treated the audience to but I can tell you the set was lengthy while never losing the interest of a single audience member. Some of the audience was pushing and shoving their way through the powerful set while others just stood there and took it all in. Although I was part of the latter, I could definitely feel the energy radiating from the stage to the floor and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t moments where I thought about ditching my camera and drink with my friend while I went in for a quick jaunt around the small pit that had formed. Regardless of how you decided to spend your evening, the one thing every audience member had in common was the slight smile on their face and the way their eyes were glued to the stage. The members of this band weren’t doing anything outlandish or anything but being able to see them put their passion on that stage in the way they did was truly captivating.
Tuesday night’s show may not have been sold out (although it should have been) but that didn’t stop it from being one of the better shows I’ve seen lately. I don’t remember the last time a band that was brand new to me, had that captivating power over my mind and spirit. If you get a chance, go see Alien Weaponry. I don’t care if it’s a Monday, Friday or Sunday– just go. I promise this band is absolutely worth your attention.