Delain played Seattle, WA once again last night at El Corazon on 9/25/14. I say Delain played as they were the main band I was interested in. Xandria were second. And then Sonata Arctica. I also discovered last minute that a local band was opening the show Last Bastion.
(what you don't see in this photo is directly to the left was a long group of homeless/transients - some of their crap is on the right in this photo)
This isn't a show review per se as I am not covering the bands performances in depth or in some cases at all. This is just a collection of memories from the gig.
Any photos were not professionally taken even though they display the Seattle Next Door moniker. They were taken with my iphone 5s from the front of the crowd. Onward!
Let's face it - it's nice when someone remembers you. If it happens to be someone you're a fan of, then it's an even more rewarding feeling. Members of Delain remembered me from last year. What topped it off is that they remembered what we talked about. I was pleasantly fanboy surprised. I was one of the few people that talked to the band apparently last year (aside from Charlotte who had a group of people wanting to get a picture or autograph). But I'm getting ahead...
I went to the gig at about 80%. I was down for the count the previous Wednesday with a fever and other assorted nastiness that I won't describe here. El Corazon is a club I'm familiar with. If you like getting close and personal with your favorite bands, it's cool in that respect. The staff have improved over the years (10 + years ago they were notoriously horrible). Other than that, the place leaves alot to be desired. But I don't care - I'm there to see Delain and Xandria.
(El Corazon, aka Graceland, aka The Off Ramp, etc)
Earlier buckets of rain made it an interesting prospect of waiting outside for the doors to open. Fortunately we only had a few passing showers on us as we waited. The VIP line had about 15-20 people I'd guesstimate. One of which was Mark - who I met before the show outside. Nice meeting you and thanks for the cool sticker! Hope you caught the ferry back in time!
Btw: the merch girl gave us a bunch of stickers at the end of the show. I didn't know what she was handing me just said they were free. I looked at them and went OH I know who made these!
(other Mark's space needle Delain logo sticker)
Once inside, I went to the stage area to stand and wait. About one person back from the front - I was stoked. Last year, I was also about one person in front of me but I was more to the left looking at the stage. Not this year. Much closer to center.
At 7:30pm the local band opened the show - playing direct input and on the other bands backline (aka Ruben's drum kit - swapping cymbals, snare, and kick pedal), Last Bastion kicked into songs from their debut CD "The Road To Redemption". A five piece - guitars, bass, keys, and drums, Last Bastion got things going nicely. They were a good fit for the bill.
I've been going to shows in Seattle since 1979. As I started going to club shows I started skipping the local acts more and more as they were just awful most of the time. Of course for every 30 shitty bands, there'll be one good one. Last Bastion were one of the good ones in my opinion. The guys can play for starters. No weak link among the members at all. Four vocal mics? Yup - backing vocals - no tapes. If the drummer had a vocal mic, that would of blown my mind. Labelled online as power metal I would hazard to say they are more heavy metal than power. Sure the topics are power metal themes and the addition of the keyboards adds that familiar power metal element, but these guys have a grit to their sound, and portions of their tunes where things get heavy, and they harken back to the classics such as Maiden and Priest. Good stuff, folks.
I talked to a few of the guys after the gig - and they truly were the surprise of the night for me. There next gig is in December at Josephine's with a bunch of other local bands. Worth checking out just for them alone. I'd like to see them put on their own show somewhere ala Arakus. There's no reason you can't book a venue (even more unorthodox ones like Veteran Halls, community centers, etc) yourself and do things the way you want them done. Your gear, your set list length, your opening acts, etc. Anyway, the band is good and they should take off in Europe (Germany especially) and Japan if the cards fall in their favor. Let's hope they do. This is a band worth getting behind! Go check out their site:
About 20 minutes passed before Xandria took the stage. Featuring Dutch singer Dianne van Giersbergen on their new album, the Seattle crowd was really into them! It's always hard to tell if a band is truly shocked by an audience reaction (like do they do this at every show, do they say the same things at every show, etc) - but they seemed generally surprised by the crowd response to them last night. They pulled from both the new album "Sacrificium" and the previous record "Neverworld's End" for the set list. 30 minutes came and went as they started with "Nightfall" and ended with "Valentine" - both being singles/videos. They easily could of played another 30 minutes based on the crowd reaction.
One crowd pusher during their set - some chick who kept trying to find a way to get closer but wasn't getting past me. She left half way through their set. Seemed drunk or high - or both. Last year's crowd was surprisingly polite in regards to shoving and shit. I'm used to seeing death metal shows at El Corazon so I remember being shocked at people standing around with their VIP Kamelot posters in front of the stage and I was thinking "oh man those things are going to get crushed once the bands start". Nope - not from what I could tell. People stayed in their spots for the most part which was surreal. Weird but cool I suppose.
After a short change over, where the band members set up their gear/tested things out before leaving the stage, the intro tape for Delain started.
It was clear there were alot of Delain fans there. Many from last year returned and new ones.
At the beginning of the set, a different chick was shoving her way to the front. She was getting frustrated and start shoving and elbowing. Turns out (supposedly) she just wanted her coat from the front of the stage. But instead of telling people, she just kept trying to shove to the front so I think all of us figured she was just trying to get to the front to see the band. Pushing one way, pushing another way - I was half ready for a pit to break out (not really but it gives you an idea what was building up). Finally she got her damn jacket and got the fuck outta there.
Look I'm not concert newbie. I know at certain gigs, I'm keeping my old ass to the back as I can't hang with massive pits and shit like that anymore. But if you're into it, cool, have some good clean violent fun. But when an audience is being cool, staying in one place, and you come pushing through - nah, that ain't going to work, chica. Tell people what you're intentions are and with the crowd that was there last night, they would of obliged. I had no problem leaving the front after Delain's set just by saying excuse me - I'm coming out. People moved and out I went. Again, at death metal shows, I'm used to getting shoved out basically which is what I've come to expect. Anyway - I guess what I'm saying is just communicate your intentions at gigs like these - people will be cool to you.
At this point, after leaving the front, I bought merch (a tshirt - thanks for having fat size btw and a beanie) and then hung to the side for SA's opening set. My legs and feet were killing me so we split for the bar side of things. El Corazon has the shows on a screen in the bar so it's weird. You're in the other half of the venue so you can hear the band but you're watching them on a video or TV screen. Kinda cool but kinda weird.
Once SA were done with their set, Delain and Xandria came back into the club. The four Delain guys were near the coat check/buy water-soda area while Charlotte went way over to the merch area. Xandria were over there too apparently. I didn't know where either were until after talking to the Delain guys.
Ruben (drums) and I talked about the damn pole in the stage at El Corazon *lol* He mentioned that a club in Dallas has something similar but it looks like a tree (and the club is called The Trees or something). I was like "at least that goes with the name of the club. Our pole is just a stupid support pole." *lol*
Martijn remembered our discussion last year and the interview I conducted with him this year. I thanked him for coming back and that it was cool that many of the things we discussed came true this year (touring with this brother's band WT in Europe, with Nightwish here in the US, etc).
Timo and I talked about Leah and 7 string guitars for awhile. He's excited about the release!
Otto remembered me as we talked about Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse last year. He's one of his favorite bassists. So we talked about new Cannibal Corpse and the Modulus bass he was playing this tour (last year was Spector). And Modulus is/was Alex's main bass for many years, too.
I asked where Charlotte was and the guys pointed to the dark merch area where all I could see were people.
(Ruben, Martijn, and Timo hanging out in the empty club as Charlotte still had people waiting for her - they said they're used to how this goes (people wanting to talk to Charlotte and not necessarily them)
The club was getting sparse at this point. There was a good dozen people waiting to meet Charlotte. We got in "line" and we were the last ones. By the time I got up there, she was needing to get going as the club was closing up soon. We talked about the interviews we did last year and this year and the show. I had other things to ask but time got me this time. Oh well - she was as accommodating as ever and just like the guys so down to earth.
My photo with her last year was a crappy selfie in a dark club that didn't turn out well at all. This year she was in another dark area. Using a flash I ended up with red eye Charlotte and her being distracted so she's looking off from the camera. I guess it's better than last year's *lol*. I will attempt a third photo op in April at the Portland, OR gig.
While we were waiting for Charlotte, Dianne from Xandria was nearby and then left as no one was left to talk to them. The band was pretty much gone getting equipment and stuff. Once Charlotte was done, I turned and saw the Dianne came back in. So, got a chance to talk to her about the interview we did and how great it was to have them here in the US for the first time. She was excited about the shows and the tour. I think they are getting a reception that will hopefully allow them to come back next album for another go around the US.
I've left out details and other things but I'm pooped. *lol* Parting words? The gig was fucking great! I like many others will see them again in April when they tour with some band called Nightwish ;o)