Now that the teams I follow are all out of the part of the World Cup that matters, this post gets to go up in the same tremendously late fashion that anyone disturbed enough to read this thing on a regular basis has come to greet with a resigned acceptance.
I came right out of work going over to this, and ended up getting in a little early due to expecting more traffic than there actually was. The Pike westbound can be pure hell on weekends in the summer as everyone tries to get the hell out of Boston, but apparently people were sticking for the long weekend, or not taking off till Friday. Whatever, no matter, as it just came out to a little more time sitting around waiting for the bands to go on and trying to think of schemes to keep beer bottles from exploding when opened. (Final conclusion: immediately pour into a pint glass, but knowing how turbulent the floor tends to get at this place, you can see why the bartenders wanted to keep the glassware behind the counter.)
Destruction From Within [5/7]
I hadn't heard of these guys before, let alone heard anything that they've done, and perhaps unfairly, when you see a bunch of kids with Xed out hands and a backline full of Crates, you tend to get a little suspicious. Fortunately, any suspicions turned out to be completely unjustified, as they provided a decent, moderately developed set of Dissection-biting blackened metal that got things off on the right foot. Like a lot of young or just new bands, these guys showed solid technical chops even if the composition or songwriting was occasionally lacking, and it'll be interesting to see how they develop and mature going forward.
Absence of the Sun [5/7]
There's no shortage of opportunity for making various environmental-lighting-related jokes given the bandname and the general style, but these guys did come all the way down from Maine and play a solid set, despite their keyboardist getting this instrument jacked out of his car the day before, so actually doing so would be out of line. I'm not sure that the band's sound as presented without the keys is a 100% accurate picture of what they sound like on record or live going forward, but the well-finished if admittedly kind of formulaic NWOSDM/NWOAHM that they laid out here was decent enough. Nothing enormously new, but well-done and solidly executed, and a good time, even if people may not have been as receptive, or inclined to move about, as the band might have liked. Still, good music, and if they're on Hold True, they'll be back in the area sooner or later, and probably on a bill more balanced towards their style.
Suicide Dream [5.5/7]
I'd heard peripherally about this band before, though mostly in the context of the guitarist's gigantic pedal board, which was fully as epic as advertised. Fortunately, the ability and facility to more or less run front-of-house with his feet didn't intrude into the actual musical experience; people were watching and listening to the band, not where Shadow was stepping on. They played out a good set of doomish melodic metal that didn't immediately suggest comparisons; maybe Warlock singles played at 33 rpm -- and not just due to Laurel's voice, but the style of the vocals and the arrangements around them; automatically comparing one female-fronted band to another is the music world's equivalent of the equally annoying, lazy, and misleading black-quarterback/white-receiver comparison -- but the Opeth and Sentenced tinges are undeniable as well. Probably best to actually go and listen to the band; this was good music and they seem to be getting more active.
Unfortunately, neither they nor any of the other three bands on the bill had merch out that would be amenable to lugging over on the fast-approaching Euro tour. Forever's Fallen Grace did have shirts (as well as stickers at a buck a pop, but I'd feel like a dick asking bands to write off potential revenue so I can, in many cases, leave them on tables and bar counters), but I have way too many shirts to buy one from a band before I have a record from them. Of course, everything leans in the other direction (ignore recordings and steal it on the internet later, buy the shirt), but I continue to, salmonlike, swim against the current, fixed firmly on the goal of mistiming a jump over some rocks, falling out of the river, and asphyxiating, later to be devoured by a bear.
Wait, what? Anyways.
Forevers' Fallen Grace [6.5/7]
Wow. The bands to this point had been quite good, and well worth the trip out, but FFG really kicked it up a notch, as well as kicking each others' pedals out of configuration, kicking each other over, and kicking boots off. It kicked off on the floor as well, as might be anticipated at the end of the night, watching a band that at many times came off like Angel Dust, albeit powered by a diesel hemi. Plus more than a few NEHC breakdowns. It was an impressive performance (despite or because of the weirdness of the synthesis), but perhaps marred to a certain degree by excessive fucking around. Yes, it's a DIY gig, and yes, there's nothing wrong with being loose, but when you're bodychecking other band members around the stage so hard that they fall over and knock their axes out of tune, it's hard to argue that it's not having a negative effect. Despite the mishaps, though, this was as indicated a killer performance of the kind that so often closes out these gigs, eminently justifying the investment in driving out and staying to the end.
Unfortunately, while they were able to get one additional song out of the venue ops, that end did have to come, and it was on the road to go home, get in shortly before 3AM, and take a nap before going in to work. Tiredness took its toll on the optimistic goal of getting it out Friday, and then Germany got into the semis. I missed the two gigs that I'd ideally have gone to over the weekend if I hadn't been on call, but the last shift before Germany comes to an end tomorrow, and before that I should have a calendar of remaining gigs up as well.