It's now been several personally-hectic weeks since this gig, and there have been, in all likelihood, more shows at Champions', so the novelty element is somewhat reduced, but regardless, here are some impressions of a good solid show at a place that will likely become a stalwart of the greater-Boston scene, at least until Mos Eisley goes back in business.
A short note for the unfamiliar: Mos Eisley was a DIY space that hosted a bunch of shows over the last 6 months or so, but had a dispute with their landlord recently, hence becoming a promotion company booking gigs into Champions, a bar a few blocks away that, as demonstrated by a paucity of regulars on the day, did not have a hell of a lot going on most weeknights. The Mos Eisley dudes were, at press time, still trying to get back into the old space for accessibility reasons (hard to do all-ages shows in a bar), but for the meantime, this looks like a workable compromise for all interested parties.
So I got down a little before technical doors, having stayed on late at work, because I overestimated the time and complexity of the drive getting in. Champions is easy to get to from the outer belt roads around Boston, and located near several T bus stops for those coming out of the city, which is pretty sweet. This led to a decent amount of standing around while Morgirion loaded in, with the eventual decision, based on the fact that none of the other three bands had showed up yet, to go in and start drinking in the anticipation that doing so between bands, whenever that happened to be, might have negative consequences for the drive home.
Champions is a bar in the classic sense; just a bar, literally, running the length of a long room with stools along it, and behind the stools, another room that the stage was set up in. This is a good layout; ordering drinks doesn't have to interfere with floor motion, and if desired or necessary people can get a beer without getting kicked. It also allowed us, in this case, to keep the general public from getting in the way of the bands when they eventually pulled up and got loaded in; Darkwor (who should have headlined, see as follows) and CNV were late, and Bog colossally so, but Morgirion and the few of us who came in after them had a decent time drinking moderately priced beer out of disposable cups ($2 Rocks = win) and generally hanging out while the rest of the lineup got themselves in and arranged.
Eventually things kicked off, amidst LAZERS and other things not generally associated with DIY metal shows; all the more interesting for the experience.
There were sound problems all through Morgirion's set; not really screwing anything up, but more on the order of just getting the PA dialed in and everything. With good attention, though, those in the audience could sort out the sound on their own and pick out a good strong Morgirion performance. Connor was still doubling on bass and keys, so obviously this wasn't going to have the full recorded effect, but live black metal very rarely does, and this was good regardless. The guys had, as mentioned above, actually gotten to the venue when they were supposed to load in, which made for a lot of drinking between then and when they finally hit the stage, but they brought it off with few if any ill effects.
After Morgirion closed up, Bog started loading in, which was a welcome surprise for many of those at the venue. Their legend goes before them; several other people, like me, had tales of a 50% hitrate between shows that they were supposed to play and shows they actually showed up for. With this one already starting so late, people were in a pessimistic mood that they might cancel again, but thankfully, they did get in in time to play.
Bog of the Infidel [5.57]
And play pretty damn well they did. There was less Bethlehem about their sound than the last time I saw them, and they were a little pressed for time, but this was still a good strong set of storming black metal and vaguely menacing farm implements; nobody got hit by the pitchfork that got thrown off the stage, but that it was thrown, and that people had to step back, is what's important. Black metal isn't supposed to be safe. The other important part, that the music was damn good, was also relevant; the band allegedly has a full record out, and they did a couple tunes off it, but didn't have anything available at this gig. For another time.
At this point, things were getting seriously pressed for time, and Darkwor, despite being all in the venue, decided to cancel and let CNV play for as much of their intended set as possible (one or two songs did end up getting cut), since this was their tour kickoff and they had to get on the road ASAP. This sucked, but bars unlike DIY spaces have set closing times, and with the show starting so late, there weren't a ton of other options. I was still able to get Foederati, so the night wasn't a total loss Darkwor-wise, but it's still mildly disappointing.
Cold Northern Vengeance [6/7]
More of a solid set than on the lines of the spectacular performances they've laid down in the past, this outing still saw CNV in good fighting trim as they headed out on tour, a tour that is now completely over because I took so goddamned long writing this. Going from "Black Metal Isolation" straight through new material from the forthcoming record (potentially out this summer, but don't quote me on that), the band mastered the sound (which had gotten progressively better) and laid out a kickass set of material both atmospheric and ripping. CNV has been, for some time, a band that people outside of New England need to take notice of; if they brought this show on the road as strongly as they presented here, they'll get that increased interest, and hopefully open some doors for other NEBM bands to get out there.
CNV closed up shortly before the bar shut off the taps, and while there was a brief amount of time to commiserate with Darkwor that they hadn't been able to go on, we eventually got flushed out and had to go on home. Though there weren't a lot of people in to start, the venue filled up nicely by the end, and the bar staff could have no complaints about getting 30-50 hard-drinking, often big-tipping (well, relative to the cheap beer costs) people in for three hours on a Wednesday night. A good show despite the late start, and hopefully this place will continue to be receptive to metal even if/when Mos Eisely comes back as an independent space.
And then work stuff hit and I was unable to finish writing this for like 3 weeks. Next show is tomorrow at this very venue, and if I manage to survive Dysentery and the other bands on the bill, maybe Thursday out at Ralph's for another spin of the chamber. Then on-call, then hopefully Hypocrisy the weekend after if I can swing it.