North American Tour 2014
with Kreator and Huntress
October 4, 2014
Review by JP Wood
Photos by Monika Deviat
Despite having seen all the bands on this bio several times each over the years I was still excited for a chilly fall Monday night gig. A very last minute change saw the gig moved from the 1000 capacity Ballroom venue to the 2500 capacity venue (Mac Hall) downstairs, always a plus. The MacHall is one of them most, modern hi-tech concert facilities in town with superb sound for a big hall. I heard two reasons for the move. Oe it was to accommodate Arch Enemy’s big stage show and the other reason was that ticket sales were so good they moved it. I’m sure it was a combination of both. I was worried it might look and feel empty but that was not the case.
Unfortunately, I think the promoter was not prepared for the amount of people and the support staff were under-prepared and overwhelmed at times. There were lines, long lines for everything. A huge line to get in. A line to coat check. A line for the one Bank Machine/ATM. A line for merchandise. A line to get in the beer garden. A line to get a beer. By the time a time went through all the lines, the concert would be over. The lines were so long and moving so slowly that most people missed Huntress. People had to pass through a four-way bottleneck; Beer Garden line , merchandise line, bank machine line and actual concert hall line all intersecting in a narrow hallway. I thought the short fat guy (who looked a bit like Dimebag) who kept screaming, ‘I’m going to kill somebody!’ at the top of his lungs in frustration at being stuck in the bottleneck was an amusing diversion.
Huntress took the stage on time and it was the best I’ve seen them this far. Jill has really improved and modified her stage persona adopting more of a ‘possessed witch’ type of look and style than her straight-up rock chick look I’ve seen before. Her voice is so raw and distinct, some hate it but I think she is a unique talent and personality. The band is suited for a bigger stage and did well. They ripped throughout their 30 minutes and finished with crowd favourite ‘Eight Of Swords’. I’m glad to see them moving up the scale from bars to opening halls and theatres.
Kreator has been on the road for years and this was the third tour in support of PHANTOM ANTICHRIST from 2012. They had a streamlined stage with lots of smoke and largely red lights. They opened with ‘Violent Revolution’ and never looked back. The set was well paced and hit many of the later album highlights such as ‘Phobia’, ‘Victory Will Come’ and ‘Enemy Of God’ which opened with an amusing anti-religion stage rant from Mille. Most of the set was drawn from the last four albums. The mosh pits were raging of course and they finished with an extended version of ‘Pleasure To Kill’ with Mille inciting the crowd to try different type of mosh-pits, traditional, circle and the wall of death. BY far the heaviest and meanest band on the bill they did well as always bring thrashing hate to the masses. Some people suggest that you can tell which band people are there to support by the amount of merchandise sales. If this theory is true, then Kreator won the day.
It was just about 10:00pm, (a nice, early all-ages gig) when the Arch Enemy intro music launched into the crowd. Using the intro song ‘Tempore Nihil Sanat (Prelude In F Minor) from their newest album WAR ETERNAL, the place was comfortably full and ready to go. There was a bit of a different crowd dynamic with the younger folks (and more girls) pushing to her front replacing some of the older Kreator fans. The stage set-up was top-notch with rear-screen projection, tons of lights, banners, flags, it all looked very impressive.
The curiosity level was high to see Alissa, the new singer. Could she handle the old Angela songs? The answer was a resounding, ‘Yes’ as she handled her parts very well. I closed my eyes during a long time favourite ‘Ravenous’ and she nailed it. The whole band had lots of energy and they seemed almost renewed with the two new members. As expected the band played mostly material from the modern era (post Liiva) albums and the set list was largely predictable with the singles and bigger songs like ‘Dead Eyes See No Future’ and ‘We will Rise’. Although Alissa did inject a youthful energy there was some drawbacks as at one point she enticed the crowd to do the dumb pogo jump up and down in one spot dance like some teeny-bopper concert. This is not acceptable at a Metal concert. Headbang? Yes. Mosh? Yes. Pogo dance? No. The band look and sound modern (with perhaps the exception of Sharlee D’Angelo) and that is perhaps why they are so popular with the younger crowd. The band slayed for an hour and half, with good tempo, pace and intensity, but not too many surprises in terms of cover tunes, rare songs, solos or jams, just straight up modern Metal.
The gig was a great success and lots of fun. It was a good bill with all types and styles represented in 2014, the brand new (Huntress) and old-school (Kreator) and the modern/elite sound of Arch Enemy. I’ve seen all the bands a combination of over a dozen times but it was still a great show.
Check out more of Monika’s photos from the show here.