Walking into The Fine Line on Wednesday night was a bit weird. For the first time since reopening after the shutdown, First Avenue is no longer requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests. Although this made getting in the door super quick and easy, it made me stop for a second. I’m all for getting back to normal life again but is it too soon for a move like this? But I digress, I passed the security check with flying colors (this is my new favorite thing to say after the guy at The Armory applauded me for doing it at The Armory last weekend) and made my way up to the stage at the cozy Fine Line. This is where my next “weird moment” kicked in. Fine Line is notorious for not having a barricade or anything in front of the stage. I have always loved the intimacy that this brings to shows at this venue and although that didn’t change, there were a few First Avenue staff members lining the stage. It wasn’t a bad thing or anything like that, and, for such an intense show, I wasn’t surprised but it just added to the weird setting of the night but, yet again, I digress.
I was running a bit late on Wednesday and the action started almost as soon as I got used to my surroundings. Getting the brutal night started was a local favorite of mine, Witchden. In my mind, it was a huge deal that these guys were opening such a star-studded show. First Avenue doesn’t seem to do many metal shows these days and, when they do, they rarely add a local opener. There are a million amazing local bands that I would love to see on a First Avenue owned stage but Witchden was the perfect fit for Wednesday night’s show. Their theatrics and powerful sound set the mood of the night perfectly. With a seven-song set that left very little time for the band to address the growing crowd, Witchden let their music do the talking for them and that’s all they needed. Their mix of black metal and death metal was as intense and dark as their stage presence and I truly hope the touring acts were able to catch their set as they absolutely made the local metal scene proud with their performance.
I was captivated by Dani Filth in particular just due to the sheer power behind his voice and how he makes it seem almost effortless. Another member that really caught my eye throughout the band’s thirteen-song set was Zoe Marie Federoff. A new member in the band and the sole female on stage, Zoe brought a sense of tenderness to the stage and music that I just could not get enough of. I loved the way her voice soared over Dani’s intense vocals while holding her own and demanding the attention of your ears every time her mouth hit the microphone. Honestly, my eyes were all over the place throughout their set just trying to catch everything, unlike the previous two acts, there was a lot of movement and side-swapping (granted there was finally room on the stage once the openers moved their gear) from the guitarists and bassist which made it a bit easier to catch it all.
From the flashing lights to the extreme noise and all of the movement, it was a bit like sensory overload in all of the best ways. The atmosphere throughout the club as the band powered through their set was high. A modest pit had opened up after just a couple of songs and it never really closed back up. Although the audience wasn’t huge and was far from sold out, the people there were clearly excited for the show and were ready to take it all in however they wanted to. From the people in the pit to the people scattered on the edges with their eyes glued to the stage to those sitting upstairs having drinks and just taking it all in, it’s easy and clear to say that everyone left the Thursday night performance satisfied and already ready for Cradle of Filth’s next visit to the Twin Cities.