October, 19th – Ludwigsburg, Arena – Dream Theater, Opeth, Bigelf, Unexpect

2

Category : Metal

As promised I keep you posted and add all the reports for the concerts I have recently visited. Today we are going back to my birthday which – what else? – was celebrated on a concert.

I made an appointment with the event manager of the new venue called “Arena” which was mainly build for basketball because the EnBW Ludwigsburg team is in the premier league. But the concept was also to build a small arena for other sports events and for concerts. So Markus (A&R of SUPREME CHAOS RECORDS), Tanja (Catering management for the METAL NIGHTS event series) and I wanted to check out the new venue and its possibilities. Yet, this venue might be too large for any kind of events in the size we are doing but it is always good to know what range of venues we can possibly offer as local promoter. Thomas showed us even the smallest amenity of the venue and was quite patient in answering all our questions. At some points it was kind of hard to keep cool for us when we were next to Micheal Akerfeldt who was sitting around there phoning or when standing next to the gear of John Petrucci.

Anyway after the inspection of the Arena Ludwigsburg we picked up some beers to celebrate and bridged the time gap to the concert with boozing and talking about music.

I wanted to see UNEXPECT because I liked their myspace stuff. Unfortunately they were not able to transport it onto stage. Sure, they did a great job but simply did not meet my expectations. After approx. 20 minutes they had to leave the stage. Good and very progressive start for this night. Complex, sometimes even weired songs garnished with melodic female vocals and grunts. Interesting music.

After getting another beer and meeting some people, I was surprised by the clear sound that came from the stage. BIGELF blew me straight to the wall. Not with any kind of aggression but with sheer musicality and maybe a bit of nostalgia. 70s inspired rock with a modern progressive touch convinced me with its pure authenticity. Loads of analogue synthesizers and Hammond sounds played by the singer who was surrounded by various old fashioned keyboard instruments. The four piece was dressed up in proper style with bell-bottoms. And you could see and almost feel that they were breathing this kind of music every day. Great!

BIGELF

BIGELF

One reason to visit this concert was eventually to see OPETH. The Swedes have disappointed me on the last club shows with the new line up (Frederik on guitar). But after the furious show on Rockhard festival this year I was really curious if they could prove themselves this evening. And they could! “Windowpane” is nothing but a great start for a very soulful set followed by “Lotuseater”, maybe one of the best OPETH songs ever. OPETH abstained from most extreme parts this evening and concentrated on the more progressive rock songs – maybe to fit better to the other bands. Good playing, great and this time very funny announcements from Mikael who could emphasize his great voice with these songs. The only downer was that they missed out either of their hits “Deliverance” or “Demon of the Fall”.

Setlist OPETH:
1. Windowpane
2. The Lotus Eater
3. Reverie/Harlequin Forest
4. Burden
5. The Leper Affinity
6. Hex Omega

OPETH

OPETH

Last time I saw DREAM THEATER they played in the Beethoven Saal of the Liederhalle in Stuttgart which is built for opera and classical concerts. The sound there was really bad because of all the reflecting walls. But in the Arena everything sounded right. Even James LaBrie did a good job and was showing a solid performance although I could not get the idea out of my head that he was behaving like a diva stepping off the stage all the time he had no vocals to do. DREAM THEATER is of course also about the musicians and their abilities. John Petrucci showed some good guitar solo stuff but he tried to keep it short. He got my sympathies for this and also for the fact that he had long hair again. And he must have done a lot of muscle training the last two years. Somehow he looked like he got out of prison right before the tour started. Of course Jordan Ruddess had his special show but looked really absurd with his wizard hat he put on for some songs. John Myung kept in the back mostly and you could hardly see anything of him. Too bad. Mike Portney of course was posing like always. My real highlight of the show was “The Mirror” / “Lie” from the “Awake” album which was played as the fluent combination like you can hear it on the album. Simply amazing. Because I am not into the “newer” stuff I cannot point out any other highlight. This might be also due to the fact that their real one and only hit song “Pull me under” was missing.

Setlist DREAM THEATER:
1. A Nightmare to Remember
2. The Mirror
3. Lie
4. Prophets of War
5. Wither
6. The Dance of Eternity
7. One Last Time
8. In the Name of God
9. The Count of Tuscany

What a nice evening and maybe the best birthday present for a music enthusiast like me. Although OPETH did not play “Deliverance” and DREAM THEATER threw aboard their hit “Pull me under” this was a great experience musical wise. But also the inspection of this new venue which was opened 1st of October made this evening unforgettable maybe even added an adventurous note.

Be sure to keep coming back. The next days I will put up the interview I did with Peter (OPETH) back in 2005…

DREAM THEATER: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise
OPETH: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise
BIGELF: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise
UNEXPECT: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise

Arena Ludwigsburg: Homepage

October, 25th – Ludwigsburg, Rockfabrik – Cannbial Corpse, Dying Fetus, Evocation, Obscura

2

Category : Metal

I know that it has been silent for some days again. First I was replacing the server with the NAS which finally arrived Tuesday customizing the whole piece which took about two days. Then surprisingly the power supply fucked up as I wanted to switch over to the UPS. I was so happy before this happened, upgraded the whole net to gigabit LAN.

But let us get back to the music. I want to report about the last shows I attended and will start with the latest which was today. I really had a full schedule these days and it will not stop until Tuesday.

Today it was time to get some old school feeling back into my mind. Why old school? There has not been a big death metal show in the good old Rockfabrik for ages! And it was Cannibal Corpse which I saw there about 10 years ago. Of course some of the old metal heads showed up…

Arriving a bit too late because OBSCURA started quite early at 7 pm I got at least the chance to see some of their songs. I had the Summer Breeze show in mind where the sound was a bit fucked up in my opinion. Maybe it was also because of the fact that a band like OBSCURA is made to play in clubs. Today the sound was better although the guitars were very quiet and hardly to hear sometimes. Anyway it was a pleasure to see them playing mostly songs from their latest output “Cosmogenesis” with a lot of joy and with a technical level of their own (although singer/guitarist Steffen later told me that everyone in the band was about to get really sick). This was a great start for an evening with four very different death metal outfits.

2009 was a great year for Swedish deathers EVOCATION so they had the chance to join this tour as well. To be honest I only saw one song because I have seen the bands so many times the last months that I was not really curious about the show. Additionally the sound today was really weak – no power at all – so I preferred to talk to some friends and have a beer instead. I also met EVOCATION singer Thomas and he was somehow confirming that this was a bad day sound-wise. We met in a quite funny situation. I was talking with some guys from their label Cyclone Empire with whom I work together very closely,  and Thomas seemed to remember me from some extreme festival boozing sessions which I obviously can hardly recall… a really a nice guy – if you are around and see these guys – have a beer with them!

How long was I waiting for this to happen? Back in the times when I used to work as DJ in the Rockfabrik (which must be more than 10 years ago) I have listened a lot to DYING FETUS and now I finally got the possibility to see them live. A friend of mine was later asking how anyone could like this music. I have not found any decent answer. They just kicked my ass like hell! Having in mind their “Destroy the Opposition”, “Killing on Adrenaline” records and the “Grotesque Impalement” EP they just left me without any wishes. I had to go really crazy on them. Bass player Sean Beasely looked like a beast holding a full scale bass guitar which looked like a toy in his hands. He shared the vocals with guitar player John and Tray showed up from time to time behind his drums to cheer up the crowd. Their precisely played high speed death grind resulted in the first circle pit of the evening, some crowd surfers were flying off the stage and the people went mad. Great live band – finally I got the proof that I missed something – nothing to add!

Rockfabrik and CANNIBAL CORPSE have something like a long-term relationship. Seems like they like to play in this venue. As I guessed from the CORPSE shirts every second attendee was wearing everyone was waiting for the real headliners. Maybe I have seen them live too often, maybe I should have listened a lot more to the last albums, but I  simply cannot say more than that it was a good show with a moderate sound. But it was also nothing less. The venue was really crowded and the people really enjoyed the headliners of this evening. After all those years some songs being censored CANNIBAL CORPSE could perform titles like “Hammer smashed face” or “Fucked with a knife” which was of corpse dedicated to all the women out there.

As conclusion I can state that this was a very nice death metal evening with 4 killer bands, maybe the perfect mix of different styles. I have to add that the audience was really great and caring this day which I miss on some concerts with extreme music these days…

I will keep you posted with new goodies and reports every day of this week and try to get some pictures for the reports – promise!

The links:
CANNIBAL CORPSE: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise
DYING FETUS: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise
EVOCATION: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise
OBSCURA: HomepageMySpaceMerchandise

October, 10th – Stuttgart, Club Zentral – Centaurus-A, Deadborn, Embedded, Subconscious

1

Category : Metal

Upfront of organizing this show I already knew that this would be something for progressive death metal enthusiasts only. Addressing a small and very unique crowd has never been simple but we did our best in the fields of promotion due to a bunch of helpers. Anyway I wanted to do this show because I adore the precision and musical virtuosity (if you can say so for musicians playing brutal death metal) of the bands that were scheduled.

The advance sales were quite low and there were only approx. 40 people attending the shows of this amazing package. All the ones who stayed at home this rainy day have missed an event with a really familiar atmosphere and bands that were playing death metal over the top – every single one with its very own approach.

As SUBCONSCIOUS entered the stage there were only few people in front of the stage but it seems like everyone enjoyed the progressive death / thrash mix which is always described with its propinquity to Chuck Schuldiners DEATH which is not only based on the vocals which have the typical throaty sound but also results from the quite similar approach to death metal by using very complex patterns and incredible guitars sweeping solos. Rainer on bass guitar was once again playing in an own world. A lot of people compare him to Steve DiGiorgio but I know that he has never heard this name before nor did he even knew bands like DEATH, MESHUGGAH or ATHEIST before he joined SUBCONSCIOUS. The band decided to put some new songs on the set list which made the show a lot more interesting for me because I have seen them for more than a dozen time and also because this might be possible songs for an upcoming album which would probably again be released on my label Supreme Chaos Records which is dedicated to progressive extreme music anyway. The last two albums were released there – so be sure to check this band out if you are into DEATH or similar.

SUBCONSCIOUS

SUBCONSCIOUS

From Southern Germany to Osnabrück where EMBEDDED are coming from. I have heard several tracks of their new record “Beyond the Flesh” released on DB Agency earlier this year. They play very down to earth death metal with a kind of old school attitude but still with enough technical finesse to fit into this billing. And so was their live show – very strong and straight forward. You could see the first people moving around. EMBEDDED put up a decent death metal show and went at full tilt.

EMBEDDED

EMBEDDED

Some of the attendees were waiting for DEADBORN to show up on stage and so they did. Technically on a high level they fired a broadside of brutal death metal with just one guitar. And they did a hell of a job showing up with a very powerful stage presence. I knew this local band for some years and have never seen them live paying full attention before. So they blew me right to the wall. If you have the possibility be sure to check out one of their next shows!

DEADBORN

DEADBORN

I was really curious about how CENTAURUS-A would transpose their very complex and highly progressive songs onto a club stage. After the show I was sure that the guitar players of CENTAURUS-A must be in league with the devil. It was simply insane what this band showed on stage and it is also sad that this band does not get more attention! Instead there are bands like NECROPHAGIST and OBSCURA take all the credit for highly progressive death metal from Germany (which they deserve for sure but other bands do as well). CENTAURUS-A means guitar licks beyond the speed of light combined with pure drumming complexity and under-laid by cool bass lines. You could either just watch these guys playing with your jaw hitting the ground or go totally crazy…

CENTAURUS-A

CENTAURUS-A

Four amazing bands, nice people – both on and in front of the stage -, a great concert crew made an unforgettable evening with top-notch death metal – period!

Links:
CENTAURUS-A: MySpaceMerchandise
DEADBORN: MySpaceMerchandise
EMBEDDED: MySpaceMerchandise
SUBCONSCIOUS: MySpaceMerchandise

Metal Nights homepage:  Event detailsGallery

And now I am off through the rain to see TANKARD.

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