I’m starting to feel a little burnt out. It has been non-stop shows and, although it’s an amazing life to live, I’m definitely feeling a bit tired and just a wee bit over it. That being said, I knew there was no way I was going to miss the show on Saturday night so I sucked it up, chugged an Emergen-C just to stay ahead of the inevitable sickness I’ll be coming down with after spending Thursday and Friday night in the rain, and headed downtown to The Target Center.
First up on Saturday night was Kim Dracula. As soon as Kim Dracula and their band took the stage, I was confused. It was a little Korn nu-metal style with something a bit more modern reminding me a bit of Death Grips but not done in the same way leading to nothing other than a chaotic sound that never quite made sense to me. The way that Kim stalked the stage but remained in the shadows of the darkened stage also confused me. On top, the way the vocals went from deep growls to more falsetto screeches had me feeling straight-up bewildered. I feel like Kim Dracula’s performance could have been really cool and impactful had the entire audience been watching the performance from my vantage point and had been able to see all of the eccentric movements from the vocalist but, even then, there was a lack of originality behind the set from the moment a fake chainsaw was brought out to the way that half of the vocals were clearly not being performed live (they weren’t even trying to fake it and that could have been because they were guest vocal spots or something like that but it was hard for me to figure out).
Before I move on with this review, I would like to give a shout-out to Kim Dracula’s “Mic-Stand Guy”. Weird name, I know, but someone sitting next to me said it and I felt it was perfect. This guy literally sat on stage just waiting for Kim Dracula to smash the mic stand on the ground until it wouldn’t stand anymore. This guy would run up, grab it, take it downstage, fix it, and then put it back until it was inevitably destroyed again. He was the real MVP of this set.
They did not disappoint on Saturday night. Although the few times I remember seeing this band growing up were in very small and intimate venues, I felt like they still brought that same feeling of passion and integrity to their performance in the giant arena. They sounded flawless and if the band hadn’t skipped a beat even with all of the time outs they’ve had. I was impressed by the flawless nature of their vocals throughout the set. Whether it was lead vocalist George Pettit’s aggressive lines of words, Dallas Green’s high and smooth parts, or the raspier parts from Wade MacNeil, I felt like everyone was on point and gave me just what I wanted. The surprise cover of “When Doves Cry” from Prince was absolutely just the cherry on top when it came to Alexisonfire’s set.
When I saw this line-up, I felt like Alexisonfire was the odd band out, and, after sleeping on the show, I still agree with that statement. They brought an undeniable sense of old-school passion to the stage that I failed to get from the opener or closer. I’ve read through my thoughts on Alexisonfire a million times at this point to make sure they were fair since I am a huge fan of this band and they were playing with an act I knew nothing about and another act that I had some less than amazing thoughts on but I stand by all of these words. Whether you liked Alexisonfire prior to stepping foot in The Target Center on Saturday night or not, I feel like they alone gave you your money’s worth.
Much like I was confused with Kim Dracula’s performance, I was instantly confused by Avenged Sevenfold’s. Their set started off with vocalist M. Shadows sitting in a chair in the middle of the stage. I don’t know if this is a reference to some imagery from their new album or something that was just completely over my head. Regardless, I felt like it was a weird way to kick off a headlining set at an arena show. That being said, I wasn’t going to lose hope. I had seen mixed reviews of this tour prior to coming out on Saturday night and I wanted to see it for myself so I sat there waiting for the band to hit their stride and hit their stride they absolutely did.
As the set went on, I realized just how well A7X has aged and how their dedicated fans have stuck with them. Sure, their new music is definitely not as intense as some of their older tracks but their fans are not as young and intense as they used to be creating a perfect match in vibe and feeling between music and audience. It was an emotional experience for many people in the audience and I would be lying if I didn’t feel a bit emotional as the band paid homage to their original drummer, The Rev, who tragically passed away back in 2009. The tribute felt a bit understated but it had an impact on me and everyone around me which tells me it was perfect.
Really, the entire set felt a bit understated to me. In the past, A7X has been notorious for epic pyrotechnics but that’s not what we got on Saturday night. Instead of relying on visuals (although there were definitely some cool visuals throughout the night), the band relied on their music to get the fans going and it clearly worked. As I’ve mentioned, their music seems a bit mature and I’m wondering if this more understated live show is part of that maturity coming out. Regardless, it gave someone like me, who isn’t quite a huge fan of this band, really focus in on what matters– the music– and to say that it has me second guessing my thoughts on A7X would be an understatement just like their performance.
A7X graced the stage for just under two hours playing through sixteen songs that seemed to be the perfectly curated set for those sitting around me. Every song was shouted back at the band by the audience with a sense of passion and grit that left me speechless. I felt like the band had given me plenty by the time the night was over but those fans around me were clearly left wanting more. It became quite obvious as I left my seat and headed back to my car that nothing would have been enough for these fans and that was just the perfect realization to end the night with.
Avenged Sevenfold isn’t my band. I was never a huge fan of them and although I’ll jam their songs on occasion, they are not one of my normal go-tos. If I’m being honest, I was mostly at the show on Saturday night to see Alexisonfire but I left the night with a new appreciation for A7X.