Although I’ve seen a bunch of local bands lately, I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve been at a strictly local show. I needed it. I needed the familiar faces, the familiar sounds and the vibe that you get at a local Twin Cities metal show. It was just the icing on the cake that Saturday night’s show was a celebration for one of the best bands in our scene releasing their new album.
Coffinrot got things started with a set full of power and waves of sound. I’ve been lucky enough to have caught these guys a couple of times in the past and they are clearly just getting better and cleaner with time. Although all of the members of this local death metal band command the stage with a sense of effortless power, it’s lead vocalist Drew that is completely captivating. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about Drew that demands majority of your attention but whatever it is, it makes this band one that refuses to be ignored. The band mentioned that this would be their last show for a wee bit so they can go back in the studio and record their second album and I, for one, can not wait to hear what they come up with.
I hadn’t seen Amiensus, the second band to take the stage at The Whiskey Junction, sense March of 2017 but even with the time that has passed, nothing has changed with this innovative and great band. Their sound definitely stood out from the rest of the line-up with the introduction of some clean-ish vocals and a more laid back vibe but, that being said, their energy was perfect. Although I’m not quite sure that I would call it moshing music through and through, the audience was having the time of their lives as they pushed and shoved their way through the quick set. Vocalist James Benson kept mentioning how he was sick but honestly he didn’t come off that way. He gave the audience everything he had and that effort was not lost on me.
The next band, Void Rot, was the only band that I had no clue what to expect from but as soon as they asked the venue to turn off literally every house light possible, I knew I was in for a treat. These guys brought an almost sludgey vibe to the night but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them a sludge metal band. There was something very atmospheric about their set. Maybe it was the fog that had blanketed the venue or maybe the lack of light or maybe that was just their sound. Regardless of what it was, I was into it and although my exhaustion was starting to get the best of me, that atmosphere and their sound kept me intrigued throughout their set. The band didn’t say much (honestly I don’t know that they said anything) between songs but they didn’t have to. Void Rot’s unique sound and powerful stage presence said everything that needed to be said about this Minneapolis band.
Although every band that graced the stage absolutely killed it, Saturday night’s show was about Witchden and it celebrated their release of ‘Deus Nihil’ their new album. I’ll be honest, although I love metal shows, I rarely listen to metal music in my freetime but after listening to this band play through their new album in it’s entirety, I may need to change that. Witchden has always been a solid band with heavy-hitting music but something about these new songs seems to have taken this band to a new level and I don’t think it will be long before they are out there and preaching Twin Cities metal to the entire country. If I had to pick just a handful of bands to get out there and represent this scene that I call home, Witchden would definitely be one of them.
The audience was clearly receptive to their new release. Sure, there were people pushing and shoving their way through the set like the previous sets of the night, but majority of the rest of the audience was just standing there clearly taking it all in and trying not to miss a single note of the brilliance of this new album. It was easy to see that ‘Deus Nihil’ will quickly be a standard for all local metal heads and that makes me so happy.
Although all of the music was amazing last night, it was the feeling in the audience that really made the night as special as it was. It has been awhile since I was at a strictly local metal show and I think I somehow forgot the feeling that you get from being at such a show. From networking between members of various other bands to the typical catch-up conversations that would happen whenever you see a friend for the first time in months, there were no strangers in the audience and I loved watching all of the interactions. Whether it was just holding the door for someone you hadn’t seen in a long time or pushing someone back into the pit after they bumped into you (in the most polite way possible of course), there was just a feeling of community that you only get at shows like this. I promise I won’t stay away from this scene for so long again.
I start my week of no shows in order to go home for the holidays today and I’m already dreading it but at least I have the high that I got from last night’s show to keep me sane through what is sure to be a boring couple of days in Des Moines, Iowa.