Well it’s finally slowed down enough with the regular job to catch you up a bit on how the show was. It was a ton of fun. Some great moments and some not so great moments, but all in all fun was had.
My partner in metal for the day was L.C. from work, we showed up at the McElroy around 4:00 PM to check in, get our tickets and our photo pass to make sure we can shoot everything that was happening and not get in trouble with security. The first of the days bands were already playing on the second stage so we missed out on them.
I was surprised by how long the line was for will call that early. We finally made our way up to the window to get the stuff we needed and of course, it wasn’t there. No big deal, I had talked to Killswitch Engage’s tour manager earlier in the day and knew they knew we were coming. So the lady behind the counter told us to wait until someone came and talked to us. We waited and waited and waited, so I decided to call Chimaira’s tour manager who actually got us the tickets and photo pass to begin with. We chatted and he said that it had been turned into Disturbed’s people but had not been approved yet, but to go ahead and shoot what ever we wanted and check back when the doors opened at six to get our tickets and passes. So shoot is what we did.
Here are some of the vendors that were at the show.
After that we heard that Chimaira was signing at the Samsung & Sprint Text N Tunes booth so we headed over there to get some shots of the guys working the crowd and chatting with fans.
While shooting some video of the signing I of course called one of the guys by the wrong name and felt like a total dork, but hey you win some you lose some I guess. After that we headed down to the stage to catch a bit of Born of Osiris set. They seem to be a pretty young band, still working out the kinks in their live show. I didn’t mind their stuff, but their vocals weren’t my cup of tea. Here is a shot of them live.
After they finshed up L.C. and I decided to head back up to the van and get our stuff ready for the Killswitch Engage interview we had lined up for 6:30 PM and to go back inside McElroy to get some shots of the Tattoo artists doing their thing. Unfortuntately the doors were locked up and the tattooing had stopped for awhile, and the line continued to get longer and longer, and we still didn’t have our tickets or photo pass yet. I was getting nervous.
So as we waited Spineshank, a band I had liked in the past, took the second stage, but it was getting too close to the meeting time for Killswitch so I hopped up on top of the fan and shot some footage, here’s a couple of shots from that.
Not the best shot of them. Finally I called Killswitch’s tour manager at 6:15 PM to confirm and find out where to meet him at. He said meet out front in 10 minutes, so L.C. and I relaxed for a second chatted with some friends that stopped by when all of a sudden we got the call and the question “where are you?”. I was a little confused but we slapped on our gear and headed for the front doors and met up with the tour manager and headed back to interview Joel from Killswitch Engage. It’s been awhile since I had done this so I was rusty and very very nervous. I mean, Killswitch is a Grammy nominated band and they just worked with Brendan O’Brienwho is one of the biggest producers in the world. Not to mention that this kind of atmosphere is one of baited anticipation, every one is waiting for something. The crowd is waiting to rock, the bands are waiting to play, the crew are waiting to tear down, the tour managers are waiting to relax. It’s a lot of hard work and waiting, the tension was pretty thick.
Got back did the interview (I’ll have that up next week probably) and sent Joel on his way to rock the stage. At this time I’m still a little confused and asked the tour manager if I had tickets and photo pass and was told no, that the request hadn’t been done in time. Well shucks, that isn’t what I expected to hear. So L.C. and I rushed out and went to get in line to check out and see if our tickets where there. The line was ENORMOUS, so we decided to just wait it out. Then like an eager toddler, I called and left a message with Chimaira’s tour manager about us not having our tickets and photo passes and whining. I regret that now more than anything else about the day. So we swallowed a little bit of pride and pushed through the crowd back to the van, I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get into the show tonight but to go chat with friends and hang out.
We hooked up with Brian Marshall from Rock 108 and chatted about the business and music. Promotion and his Unsigned and Online thing that he is doing over there. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing what our area has to offer! So the line was finally down so we hopped in with Brian and the Rock 108 crew and headed in. Got to will call and of course our tickets and photo pass were there now, but unfortunately we missed Chimaira’s set completely and Lacuna Coil was on stage.
I’ve never been a big fan of Lacuna Coil, I have reservations about the term Goth Metalthat they get branded with. Apart from their visual image and perhaps lyrical content they are a stones throw away from goth or anything resembling it. I guess Hot Topic Gothis more in line. But I digress, what I did get out of their set was this, the woman they have singing for them has an amazing voice and unbelievable range and control. With that I was really impressed. The sound was muddy though, too much low end and the keyboards sounded good, but I couldn’t see a keyboard player anywhere on stage. Boooo! I say booooo! If you’re going to use keyboards for atmosphere and melodies, then hire a guy/gal to play them for you on tour, OK, thanks. I only caught about 2 1/2 song by Lacuna Coil, but I was impressed despite the lack of keyboard player.
Next up was Killswitch Engage. The first thing I noticed was that the only thing in front of their backdrop was the drum kit and some mic stands. No guitar rigs, no bass rigs nothing. Just back drop and drum kit. Then they came out and rocked the house and their back drop was a giant video display that was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen done by a live band. Amazing use of the stage and the video. KsE was on fire too. They played a great set pulling songs from their last three albums including their cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver”. The new stuff that they played really had my interest up as well. I’m really looking forward to the new album and what a new producer can bring to their sound. KsE was easily the best band of the night. Great stage show and despite the fact that they too sounded muddy and the vocals not mixed right, they blew me away.
Last on the bill was Disturbed. They sounded amazing, David Draiman’s vocals where clean, crisp and forefront in the mix. The guitar sounded clean and separated and the bass punched through as well. The drums also sounded killer as well as the backing tracks with the keyboards and loops. It just goes to show you that the other bands could have sounded this good too. Disturbed have always been a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I’ve enjoyed their singles for the most part but have never owned one of their records. For me they’re the kind of band that I’ll listen to on the radio but wouldn’t put on my iPod. I was really hoping that these guys would make me a fan of them, but they didn’t. The show was probably amazing for a Disturbed fan (pun not intended) but for me a casual listener I was not blown away. They lacked the energy and stage presence of KsE and honestly seemed far too rehearsed for my taste. They didn’t seem hungry any more, merely just going through the motions. I was also a bit thrown off by Draiman’s moments of declaration that Hard Rock and Heavy Metal should destroy all other genres of music. Eh… I don’t agree with that at all, every genre has it’s merits and should be respected by all of us whether you’re into it or not. I know that he’s a preacher preaching to his congregation, but dude music isn’t a competition, it’s to be loved and enjoyed by all. I’ll step down off of my soap box now. One of the coolest things I saw all night though happened during the Disturbed set. They brought up what looked like to me fan club members and let them rock out on the elevated portion of the stage to the song “10,000 Fists”. I bet it made those kids’ whole year to be up their rocking out and it showed on their faces. Kudos to Disturbed for connecting to their audience like that.
After the song was done L.C. and I headed out the door and headed for home. Fun was had. We rocked out. Good times. Good times. I’m hoping to have the Killswitch Engage interview up on Tuesday in video format for you to watch.
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This post was written by Gabe Wilkinson on March 26, 2009