Being concerned about traffic and stuff from the jam-up the day before going to Thrones, I left straight from work; the drive in was easier, but after that, the combo of the walk down from Cambridge to the Green Line and the actual train over meant that I got over only about 20 minutes before they started letting people in. I hung out, got berated by Aaron for not doing MDF (which I should have, seriously, barring all the Life Crap over the past two weeks; the outdoor stage shots looked awesome), fundamentaly disappointed Robin by passing on Lair of the Minotaur at PA's on Friday (and the hits keep coming; I got to miss Testament on Sunday, then Ravage and Summoning Hate Wednesday, Razormaze Thursday, and Composted and Dysentery Friday as side effects of this stupid move), and generally did my part to gunge up Allston. (Not like it needs the help, but still...)
Soon enough, though, the bands finished soundchecking and the club let the throng -- and yes, it was getting up to legitimate throng levels by this time -- inside. I got a beer or so down, legitimized my cyberstolen copy of Two Hunters, picked up a tourshirt, and got in position for the first band.
Phantom Glue [5/7]
Bù xi hùan
Ma tse dùin
Ok, that's a little brutal, a bad transliteration, and not even a legitimate Chinese poetic form, but it's the sort of thing that comes up when a band overstays its welcome, you're on the clock, and also a couple beers in the hole. The music was decent, if a complete and total Mastodon clone (see doggerel couplet above) and ill-matched to the rest of the bill, but this ended up with a lower score on the initial take than recorded here due to the band playing too long. Both too long for the content of the music offered, and over their actual allotted time -- this is the on-the-clock aspect that will become important later.
This band may also merit looking askance at because they set their drummer's kit up front rather than in the back, but she didn't sing, introduce the songs, or even count off all that much. This may be her band, but if so, drop the change on a Phil Collins headset and lead the band, so you don't come off as HAY GUISE WE HAZ A CHIXOR IN TEH BAND WE CAN HAZ FANS NAO PLZ.
First take: Colin Marsden's in this band and not playing bass? What the hell? Second take: a band in which Colin isn't needed on bass is going to be pretty damn cool. And so it was; as anticipated by the Krallice record I picked up at Dysrhythmia, this was an epic set of musically involved but still fundamentally harsh black metal that fit with the headliners hand in glove. By this time, the show was about sold out, and if the bulk of the sell was hipsters for the headliners (which it wasn't really, looking back), we also got this set as a less-expected bonus, and a continuing reminder of the soul of black metal.
Afterwards, I picked up a shirt and continued my string of project leading by not buying Marsden band records from the Marsden band actually on the present show. This meant a death-metal record from the bassist and drummer's other project rather than the other options; I can wait till Arctopus comes around to pick up the new Dysrhythmia, and the circle will be complete.
A Storm of Light [6/7]
As discussed in other outlets, this band includes a member of Neurosis only under one of the looser constructions of "member of band"; Neurosis' live visuals dude plays the guitar in ASoL, but also brought his video compositional skills to the table in delivering an impressive multimedia experience in which the music was the most significant, though by no means the sole salient, part. Said music was black-tinged doom (again, in the line of Neurosis), fitting well into the bill but also presenting some stylistic difference; they'd likely have done just as well the night before with Thrones, but the Middle East upstairs doesn't really have the equipment or environment to support what they were doing over top of the music.
At this point, I moved back in the venue. The setlist over the bar had Wolves playing 11:45-12:45, but this was already runing late. I was hoping to see at least one song, but had a hard limit in terms of the last train back, which was going to show up across from the venue around 12:20. So I moved back, so that I could stay around as long as possible and get out as quick as possible, with the smallest possible disturbance.
Minutes ticked by, and the clock moved past midnight. At about 10 past, Wolves In The Throne Room started up.
Wolves In The Throne Room [NR]
I hate giving NR instead of scores. What I hate more, though, is leaving shows six minutes into the headliner's set to avoid being stranded. Bogus. Wolves, though, were dead-on in the limited time that I saw them, decidedly on-course to top the bands that had gone on previously and give those who had gotten into this sold-out gig something to lord it over their friends about. Unfortunately, I can't put a score to this feeling with any kind of pretense at objectivity or accuracy, because I walked out the goddamn door halfway through their first song.
I did make that last train, but barely; had I bit the bullet and parked in the area, I could have saved 4 bucks in trains and 6 in parking, exactly enough to pay the inevitable $10 ticket from the BPD for parking illegally. A wash? Maybe not, maybe so.