I was going to take last night off on Saturday. I had some work to do at home, a deep cleanse of my apartment is necessary at this point and, let’s be honest, I just didn’t want to go to a show. However, I did see that September Mourning was headlining at the Amsterdam, so there were decisions at hand. As the first band was taking the stage, I talked myself into going. I got in my car and made the trek to downtown Saint Paul.
Unfortunately, due to my indecision regarding even going to the show, I missed the first two acts. As always, my apologies to both Sons of Vengeance and Our Common Collapse. I blame my cats for not being decisive for me.
Wisconsin based For Once was the first band that I caught and I was instantly happy with my decision to go out. This group had a sounds that was too clean and crisp to have me believing that they were really just a “local” band from Wisconsin. Although their music was heavy and there was a dominant chugging coming from the guitar, there was a sense of emotion behind their music that was impossible to ignore. With two vocals that shouldn’t have fit together when listening to them separately but came together to create a beautiful wall of sound, I seemed to have instantly gone from pessimistic to optimistic about what the night may bring.
Like so many other early all ages shows with a couple of locals on the bill, For Once’s set was only a half hour long. It seemed like as soon as I started picking out the certain parts I liked from this band, they were hauling their heavy gear off the stage and the next band was quickly setting up. Last night was the first time I had ever even heard of For Once and, although they are not necessarily “local”, I hope they start playing out more in the Twin Cities. They have a refreshing sound that this scene needs and their down to earth personalities would fit in perfectly.
Next on stage was AfterTime. They are a symphonic metal band from right here in the Minnesota and they definitely have the sound that you would want from a band in that genre. As had seen these guys multiple times, I decided I was going to go into AfterTime’s set with an open mind– think of it as a fresh perspective. I pretended that this was the first time I had ever seen this band and I was hoping I would listen to their set with a fresh set of ears.
AfterTime has a sense of power without being aggressive. Singer Sarah Wolf easily demands your attention as she stalks the stage in her gothic styled dress as she sings beautiful lines of lyrics. There is no denying the power that Sarah has on her own. Regardless of what you’re into, you can’t help but watch her with your jaw on the ground as her hair blows from the fan set up towards the front of the stage. It seems to take her no effort to hit high notes and hold notes for long periods of time all the while keeping a smile on her face and keeping the crowd engaged.
As I scanned the stage, I watched the four other members of the band as they played their way through their stage. They had a sense of energy that I had never noticed at their other shows. Maybe I was always just too captivated previously by Sarah and her siren-like voice, but I feel like last night I finally saw this band as a whole. With two guitarists (Brad Sturgis and Chris Radke), a bassist (Patton Hudella), a drummer (AJ Blakesley) and multitude of tracks to keep track of (see what I did there?), there was definitely a wall of sound coming off the stage and into the crowd that had formed. The loyalty of fan base that hovered close to the stage until the last note of the set was great to see and shows the bands growing popularity. Watching the set from a fresh viewpoint, I seemed to enjoy AfterTime’s set a bit more last night. Though this is not a common genre seen in the States, I think I’m starting to really see the nostalgia that the genre brings to the table and the place it stands in the music scene.
Closing out the night was September Mourning. I had heard things about this band and, honestly, they weren’t good. Much like AfterTime, I was trying to go into it with a clear head. The lights darkened and a comic book like video started playing towards the back of the stage. The artwork was impressive and the story line instantly had me hooked. It was a comic about a world being taken over by darkness and grim-reaper hybrids. The story focuses on one girl who bridges the gap between the two worlds. I was in love with the artwork and storyline and almost forgot that there was a band involved in all of this.
After a little bit of video, four people took the stage all in long, sinister looking cloaks. As the portion of the video ended, the band members took their spots on the stage and the singer whipped off the cloak to reveal an intricate white outfit. The comic book had come to life right before my eyes and this singer was September (real name- Emily Lazar)- the girl who was bridging the gap between the two worlds. Emily instantly commanded all of your attention as she powered through the first song. Her dark voice didn’t quite match her comic book like outfit. Her white and black hair whipped back and forth as she sang with a sense of ferocity that could not be ignored.
As the show went on, the crowd was given a portion of the comic book styled video between each song. Video- song- video- song it was truly a show that transported you into another world. The music wasn’t quite for me but it fit the whole style of the show and I seemed to be able to look past my personal preference and truly enjoyed the set. Was it a movie? Was it a show? Was it a concert? Who cares?! The smoked, lights, video, outfits, and sound all created an atmosphere that I instantly fell in love with.
My night started off rough. I tried to find an excuse not to go out. Thank God I talked myself out of that and dragged myself to the show.