ferrumaeternum: (ghoulina - sylvia ji)
The Soilwork show on Friday was amazing! Wisconsin just recently passed a statewide smoking ban, so it was nice to be able to breathe and not have to worry about my eyes watering or feeling light-headed or smelling horrible after the show. The only downside was that it was incredibly hot - even worse than at Hypocrisy. After the show, Sam said the only concert he’d been to that was hotter than this one was in the desert in 120-degree heat.

The Crinn
This band was mostly straight-up hardcore with some metalcore and technical and progressive elements. Before I saw them, I read that their album can also be interpreted as one whole song, and after seeing them I have to agree. You couldn’t tell one song from the next and the band rarely stopped for applause. I’m also not impressed with bands that use weird time signatures. They make a big deal about it because all of them are self-taught musicians, which I find a bit annoying. Once you get the feel for a strange time signature such as 5/7, it’s not much different than playing a song in 4/4, whether you’re classically trained or not. Though I’m not a fan of hardcore, this band was at least tolerable to listen to and their music had a few interesting aspects to it.

I could see this band every week and never tire of them - that’s how much fun I always have watching these guys. They were playing “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” while warming up, and some idiot behind me yelled, “Minus 100 metal points for that!” Seriously, fuck you ‘cause Pat Benatar is awesome. Once again, no coconut tree or parrot costume guy, but they came onstage dancing to what sounded like an electronic remix of Alestorm’s “Set Sail and Conquer”. Another funny thing that happened was some guy back at the bar yelled that he wanted some women and Admiral Nobeard said that a metal show is not the place to pick up women ‘cause the ones that are there look just like the men. XD Swashbuckle even dedicated a song to beer, cheese, and bratwurst in honor of Milwaukee!

About halfway through their set, I felt someone tap my arm, and I looked back to see Sam and Elizabeth! I hadn’t heard anything from them about the show, so I assumed they weren’t going, but they decided to come at the last minute. I’m glad they came so I had some people to hang out with, since Dominic wouldn’t be there. I was also feeling too shy to go up and talk to the guys from Mutiny Within when they were hanging out near the buses and vans before the show.

Mutiny Within
These guys were fucking amazing! I had just checked out their video and a couple other songs on YouTube a couple hours before I left to go to the show and I was completely blown away. Beth has been a big fan of theirs and kept telling me to check them out. I just wish I had done so sooner so I could have properly sang along when they asked the audience to at the show. I’ll definitely be ready when they return in a couple months, though! I love Chris’s clean vocals just as much as his growl and both sound flawless live. He’s also a great showman, constantly running around the stage with his cordless mic. The whole band sounded really tight, too! I’m really impressed with them, especially for being so young and a new band. I can’t stop listening to their record. Here’s their video for the single “Awake”:

As I mentioned in an earlier entry, Dominic ‘Forest’ Lapointe, their bassist, decided to leave the band after their tour with Vader. The band is definitely not the same without him! Their new bassist isn’t as good, and you could hardly hear him. Dominic made sure to really crank it up when he played, as it is an important element to their music and truly put the technical in technical death metal. The rest of the band sounded good, but it was disappointing after the last time I heard them when they were great.

On a side note, Dominic isn’t talking to me anymore, and I’m kind of disappointed about it. He probably realized that I’m not interested in him romantically and stopped pursuing me. Ugh, why do guys always just totally ignore you and never talk to you again after you’ve turned them down? Why can’t they get over it, look for someone else, and still be friends, especially if there are common interests between both parties? It seems like the only men women can really be friends with have to be either already married or in a relationship or gay. Oh well.

Death Angel
The 80’s Bay Area thrash legends did not disappoint! They put on one of the most energetic performances I’ve ever seen, which inspired the crowd, despite the heat. Some smaller pits had broken out during Mutiny Within and Augury’s sets, but they didn’t come close to the massive circle pit during Death Angel. There were constantly 20-30 people in it, and after they were done playing, the floor was covered in puddles of sweat. Their frontman’s ferocious yell and guitarists’ abilities really stood out. It’s also always a treat to see someone playing a Les Paul in a metal band, where the skinny, light guitars are usually preferred.

After I got back from the bathroom after Death Angel’s performance, who of all people do I see at the bar with Sam and Beth? Chris from Mutiny Within! I’d told them earlier that I thought the only cute guy there was him, after Beth and I had a bunch of annoying gross old guys hit on us. Later during Soilwork, one even touched my tattoo like he was trying to read Braille off it. Because of this, Sam made a special effort to introduce me to him, and we actually hit it off pretty well! I had no idea he and one of their guitarists were actually from the UK. He said he liked my haircut because it made me look like a movie star from the 1940’s, which was probably the best compliment I’ve ever received! :D I try to style my hair and make-up from that era, and I guess I succeeded. Then he started singing some Vera Lynn song to me and I was smitten. Seriously, a guy who’s single, a fantastic formally trained metal vocalist, a vegetarian, a few years older than me, AND also likes mid-Century vintage stuff? Why can’t he live around here!? :( This is not good that I only keep falling for guys from bands and no local guys ‘cause at this rate, I’ll be single forever…unless I move somewhere else or by some stroke of luck attract someone who isn’t from here. FML. Anyway, Sam was going to buy him a drink, but I had two free drink tickets I hadn’t used yet, so I bought him one. (Sam insisted on buying me two waters and saving my drink tickets, bless him!) Even though I said it was too hot to drink, he said he’d get a beer if I got a beer, so I caved to peer pressure and got a Heineken. I literally got a slap on the wrist from Chris for stealthily sneaking a drink from a straw so I wouldn’t mess up my lipstick but I got caught. It’s not like it was a particularly good beer anyway, and if they actually had a decent beer selection there, you can be sure I wouldn’t have used a straw. He ended up chucking the straw over the bar, so that was the end of it.

Brandon from Mutiny Within came over after a while, and Chris asked if we’d met his guitarist yet, and I had to tell everyone that I’d hit him with the women’s bathroom door as I was coming out. I’d already apologized profusely to him after it happened, but having to tell everyone made it even more embarrassing. This is probably worse than when I walked in on Blackguard’s soundcheck last year ‘cause I ended up embarrassing the poor guy as well. (I also got walked in on in the bathroom even though I could’ve swore the door was latched, but it was just another chick, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.) In my defense, I have to wonder what the hell he was doing right outside the door because their merch table was a good four feet away from it. Anyway, I had a really great time chatting and drinking with them and Elizabeth and Sam. I’ll be looking forward to their return in October and November with Nevermore and Epica.

I have no idea why he’s making that shifty eyes/raised and lowered eyebrows face in the photo, but he did the same in Sam and Beth’s photos as well. I think I’ve finally been bested when it comes to the “Elrond eyebrow”! XD Also, don’t mind my flushed, sweaty self here!

I’ve never been more than a casual fan of these guys, and their live performance further reinforced my opinion. They’re a good band, but nothing really stood out about their performance. Some people left right after Death Angel, and while I think it was a bit rude, I can also now understand why. They also didn’t play any songs I know, but I was pretty tipsy by then, so it was nice to just lean back on the bar and listen. I was too hot and tired to care at that point.

These are the only two photos I took that turned out due to the damn strobe light. I was too chicken to try to take any before Soilwork’s set (and coincidentally before the alcohol started to kick in). Luckily the venue’s photographer got some decent shots of Soilwork, Death Angel, and Augury.

After the show, I went back over to Mutiny Within’s booth and picked up their self-titled album for only $5! Brandon said if I opened it he’d sign it, and he also got the rest of the band to sign it! :D

+ 3 photos )

Sam and Beth were so kind to offer me a ride home, so we quickly stopped at an East Side coffee shop and were on our way. I felt bad because the concert got out really late and it’s a 45-minute drive to my house when there’s no traffic. They also had to drive straight into a huge thunderstorm and back home in it, too. I have some toys and books for their daughter next time I see them, so hopefully that will make up for it.
ferrumaeternum: (the heart of turisas)
Sorry for the novel, but hey, it’s NaNoWriMo.

Last Saturday was the Monsters of Death show at The Rave. Even though I got there an hour ahead of time, the doors weren’t open yet for the show. Everyone else had to wait around for twenty minutes, but I was escorted into the bar, since I was on the guest list for winning a free ticket from The Rave’s online contest. I was surprised to see Swashbuckle doing their soundcheck, as it said online that they canceled before the show. John from Warbringer sat next to me at the bar, but while I was thinking of something non-fangirly to say to him, he left. :/

This has been the smallest room in The Rave I’ve seen a concert in. The stage is about fifteen feet wide and it’s only about twenty feet from the front of the stage to the back wall. The backstage area for most of the bands consisted of a small barricaded area to the left of the stage where their equipment was stored and the lights and sound system were operated. The merchandise area was directly on the other side of the stage and was so small you were practically in front of all the bands’ booths if you turned in a complete circle.

When I went over to the merch area to buy a Warbringer shirt, which I sadly never got around to due to certain distractions, Dominic from Augury immediately approached me. He explained that Swashbuckle was supposed to “crash the show”. I ended up talking to him for the next half hour until Swashbuckle came onstage about anything and everything. He’s from Montreal and speaks English as a second language, and it sounds like he’s only had a couple years’ worth, but he wasn’t too difficult to understand. I was also surprised how easy it was to talk to him compared to other people from bands I’ve met. I feel proud for teaching him the words for ‘goosebumps/gooseflesh’, ‘swimming pool’, and ‘shampoo’. He’s the only guy I’ve met who’s told me they use Redken conditioner, but doesn’t his hair look gorgeous? XD He also told me he was in the basement earlier and saw a type of shadow ghost that I’ve also had a few experiences with in my house. (I will post about that later, but we did finally get rid of it.) He said he was going to go back down there after the show and play a concert for the spirits, which I thought was nice. I’m so glad to have met someone who’s had an identical paranormal experience and doesn’t think I’m nuts.

Swashbuckle )

Augury )

The Amenta )

Warbringer )

Decrepit Birth )

Vader )

Stay tuned for part two, where the saga of Dominic and I continues as we go on a little adventure…

ferrumaeternum: (the dragonheads are rising)
TL;DR Version:
  • Got there early, made an ass of myself by running up to the stage during Blackguard’s sound check, got yelled at by security. Watched Markus from Ensiferum rock out next to me, couldn’t remember his name at the time, as I was completely starstruck.
  • Blackguard was amazing. Met Paul (vocalist) at the merch booth and the rest of the band eventually showed up. Apologized for my previous idiocy. Hung out with him for a while between bands’ performances. He found me in the crowd to say goodbye when he left to go weightlifting.
  • Lots of waiting for shitty metalcore bands to get their sets over with and trying to chase away lame guys who were hitting on me. Finally found Stacie from my Norse mythology class with her boyfriend and another friend.
  • Ensiferum slaughtered. Everything was perfect. Was up front the entire time and was pleasantly surprised by the lack of a pushpit.
  • Found Stacie and the guys outside while stalking Ensiferum. Hung out with roadies, Darkest Hour, and Blackguard behind the buses. Waited for Ensiferum guys to stop going back and forth so we could get pictures with them. Finally succeeded, but Petri unfortunately went and put a shirt on. At least he put on a good show through the bus window. ;) Hung out with him and Markus for a while. Made an ass out of myself with my fangirling and lamenting over his departure from Norther. Random guy who thought he was a rapper showed up and made some hilarious rhymes about Markus and I talked him into doing one for Petri. Hopefully redeemed myself for previous retardation. Stacie and the guys left, and the drummer from Decrepit Birth came out, hit on me and tried to talk me into coming on their bus. He got mad when I refused, so I left because he was starting to scare me. As I was leaving, Paul from Blackguard stopped me to say goodbye and gave me a hug and a kiss.
Read on for the whole story and to find out the truth behind Petri leaving Norther… )

Blackguard )

Set List )

Hanging with Paul from Blackguard and waiting for Ensiferum )

Ensiferum )

Set List )

Finally getting to meet Ensiferum after the show )

Me with Petri fuckin’ Lindroos! I’m wearing heels here, which makes me about six feet tall, and Pete still makes me look short. And since when did he get that awful tattoo of a flaming acoustic guitar on his bicep and when the hell did he get engaged!? My fangirl is totally slain now. :'(

Markus Toivonen and I. What the hell were we looking at!?

More pictures that Stacie took during the show and after, including the random guy rapping about how Petri is a baller (shot caller, twenty-inch blades on the Impala) )
ferrumaeternum: (the words you use should be your own)
Those of you who have been reading this for a while know how much he means to me (you know, being a socially awkward loner and all), so getting to see him in person is always a big deal. Tonight’s performance was the second time I’ve seen him and hopefully not the last.

I got my mom into him and The Smiths over the years, so she insisted we go together, again. I compromised with getting there an hour and a half before it started, but once I got there, I realized it should’ve been earlier as there were already four rows of people lined up in front of the stage. I was able to get even closer during the show, and I still feel lucky I was able to get that close to him.

The Courteeners have to be the best band Moz has ever picked to open for him. I hadn’t heard their music before, but I was damn well impressed. They’re also from Manchester and although I’ve heard that they sound a lot like The Cribs, I also heard quite a bit of Joy Division and Chameleons influence, especially in the guitar. All the guys were cute and looked to be about my age, so I was very impressed how honed-in their sound was for being so young. Great vocals, cool keyboard sounds, and a shoegazing bassist. What else can I say? These guys were fantastic, and I’m definitely going to check out more of their music.

Morrissey’s overall show was an improvement from the last time I saw him. He seemed to be in a much better mood and his stage banter was witty and actually made sense. I loved how he changed around lyrics in “How Soon is Now?”. He also paid more attention to his band, even showcasing members on their instruments, and made more eye contact with the audience. His voice sounded immaculate and even clearer and perfectly on-key than last time. One thing I was confused about was that he was wearing a crucifix around his neck. Was it meant to be ironic or is he Christian now? I obviously didn’t get the memo, but if no one knows, maybe he’ll clear it up in the autobiography he’s writing.

Quotes )

Highlights )

Lowlights )

Set List )

All in all a great show, though. I pray there will be a next time, and the plan for that is to be right up against the stage and to the right, hoping I’ll be able to shake his hand. Then I can die happy. I also love how I just typed three pages on Morrissey when I have a huge midterm paper to write by Sunday, which I haven’t even started yet. It’s all about priorities. ;)

Pictures will be posted once The Rave’s photographer uploads them to the website.
ferrumaeternum: (Default)
I. Today is the first day of winter, which means Yule has officially begun! It sure feels like it here with the subzero temperatures and -30˚F wind chill. Whatever you are celebrating this season, I hope you have a good one. As far as my family goes, I’m having lunch with my mother’s side on Wednesday, which should be fairly predictable, yet entertaining. Things could be interesting on Thursday, since it’s with my father’s side of the family. It will also be the first time we’ve all been together in a year, and my father hasn’t even seen his own mother since then.

II. I’m finally done with finals! I was fortunate enough to have a snow day Friday when we got 13 inches because I had just started my final painting the night before the critique. Unfortunately, I worked my ass off in a panic and missed two episodes of The Office, but at least I didn’t have to get up early and rush to finish the piece. Even though the exam was to be rescheduled for Saturday, my professor was nice enough to put it off until as late as tomorrow and let us submit pictures, so I still got to go home on time.

III. The very thing I’ve been dreading for the past two years finally happened: my dad discovered my tattoo work. I was home earlier in the week, since I didn’t have exams on Wednesday or Thursday, and he saw it when I was putting on my boots before I left for a dental appointment. That morning, I purposely decided to wear high-waisted jeans and a long shirt to avoid this, but when I bent over, a tiny sliver of my back showed. I basically told him “no comment” and left, but my poor sister was grilled with questions for fifteen minutes. When I came back, he was smiling about it, but was mad that he’s “scraping the bottom of the barrel and I’m going out and wasting money on this”. Maybe he wouldn’t be in that situation if he didn’t decide to randomly up and leave a year ago. He also has like 130 acres of land and two farming tractors he doesn’t need, and works two well-paying jobs, so I don’t know what he’s talking about. After I explained that my appointments have been few and far between, he seemed okay with it, but still felt the need to remind me that it’s permanent. He also said he doesn’t know what Nana is going to say when she finds out. He’s such a blabbermouth, so I’m sure he’ll tell her, even though she really doesn’t need to know. Most of the comments he made were totally out of line and irrelevant, since he doesn’t even know me or what I’m interested in anymore. I just hope he doesn’t make a scene on Christmas. He thinks it’s smaller than it really is and doesn’t even know how far it goes down. That will not go over well with his side of the family, as they are all Catholic. However, it’s good to know that they aren’t entirely opposed to tattoos. My dad has been talking about getting a shamrock on his bicep since I can remember, and my aunt has Celtic knotwork on her back. Hopefully he will have enough tact not to say anything and the issue can be avoided entirely.

July 22, 2009
Reverend Horton Heat

Miramar Theatre
Milwaukee, WI

Keep 'em coming! 2009 isn’t even here yet, and it already looks like it’s going to be a great year for live music in Milwaukee. Reverend Horton Heat always puts on an impressive show, and I really want to see Nekromantix live, since they’re my favorite psychobilly band. This is convincing me to study abroad in Ireland next summer instead of this one because it’ll mean missing this show. I’m also crossing my fingers that a Milwaukee date for Paganfest II will be announced, after the success of last year’s North American tour. That and Korpiklaani, Eluveitie, and Moonsorrow are in the line-up, among plenty of other folk metal goodness. If not, I’m sure Robbie will still want to go to Wacken and/or Tuska, or any of the other European festivals one of these summers.
ferrumaeternum: (finlandia)
Last night I saw Children of Bodom for the second time, and I can hardly believe that the experience was better than the first. Before the doors opened, I told Robbie that my two wishes for the evening were that Children of Bodom would play "Bed of Razors" and that I could somehow get my bra to Janne for his keyboard. Little did I know, all that would happen and more. Some of you may remember this post from my old journal, where I first hung out with Matt from High on Fire, Job for a Cowboy, Janne, and Henkka from C.O.B.

Here’s the shortened version of what went down last night:
  • Much to my dismay, Robbie found me right away because there were only a few other people waiting for the doors to open. However, this turned out to be in my favor since he saved me from falling in the pit. I also saw this weird kid I knew from high school.
  • They opened to doors half an hour late, and even though I was standing at the front, they opened the other side, but I still ran and made it to the second row and center stage.
  • After the show, we waited outside by the buses. I took Robbie's picture with two guys from Between the Buried and Me, but he had to leave before anyone from C.O.B appeared. First Henkka and Jaska came out, and I got my picture taken with them.
  • Then Alexi came out for only two minutes, and I didn't have time to get his autograph or a picture.
  • When almost everyone was gone, I called my mom to pick me up as the buses weren't running anymore. After I got off the phone, I realized Janne was standing in front of me. I went over to talk to him, and he said he recognized me in the crowd during the show. I ended up giving him my bra, which will be featured in the front of the collection on his keyboard stand at tonight's show in Columbus, Ohio. Then he invited me on the bus.
  • I was extremely freaked out, sitting next to Janne, across from Roope and his girlfriend, and one down from Alexi, nonetheless drinking their beer. It was very interesting that in addition to the roadies, Janne and Roope's girlfriend also speak German. We all sat around and talked, and Janne, Roope, and Alexi shared tour stories and some from their childhood in Finland.
  • At 1:30 AM, I had to leave because the tour buses were also leaving. Hopefully next time we'll have more time to hang out!

And here's everything anyone would want to know about the gig and what the guys from Children of Bodom are like offstage:

Read more... )

Set List )

Pictures of the show will be added once they appear on The Rave's site. Hopefully I'll also be able to find some pics featuring my bra from tonight's show as well.

ETA: Pictures have been added!

53 photos )
ferrumaeternum: (this charming man)
I know this makes two bitchy posts in a row, but I’ll probably be more misanthropic than usual this semester due to my insufferable suitemates, classmates, and old acquaintances I can’t seem to get rid of. Just warning everyone now. My spirituality and yoga practice help, but it's hard to deal with when these people create constant drama and negativity around me. I'm sure I'll be able to ignore all of these people as time goes on, but right now I am seeking catharsis via complaining on LiveJournal.

Long post is long )
ferrumaeternum: (odin's ravens)
First of all, Lughnasadh is here! Today is the halfway point between Midsummer and Samhain, and with the heat we’ve been having, the prospect of fall is looking promising about now. There will also be a full solar eclipse, which I will unfortunately not be able to see due to my location. Those of you who can, enjoy it!

Secondly, it isn’t often that I become perturbed at something in pop culture or the media because I can usually ignore it. Right now, there are two things that won’t stop popping up and are driving me insane: Heath Ledger as the Joker in the new Batman movie the Dark Knight and Brett Favre. I don’t know if it’s the fact I live in Wisconsin or what, but everyone getting all upset over the separation of their OTP (Brett Favre/Packers) and the possibility of them getting back together is getting really annoying. American football isn’t serious fandom business, guys. It’s just a game. Think about the meaning of the word here. He should do what he wants, as well as the Packers, and all the fans need to stop being butthurt about it. You can’t blame the Packers for not taking him back if it’s going to be a big inconvenience to the team. As for the Heath Ledger Joker, I am sick to death of seeing pictures, macros, icons, etc. of the actual character and otherwise with their MS Paint-scribbled out eyes and mouth with “why so serious?” hastily scratched somewhere on the image. Obviously, he wouldn’t be getting this kind of attention if he were alive. Yes, he was one of the few actors I actually liked and was unhappy to learn of his death, but there have been dead celebrities featured in films that were being filmed or already filmed at the time of their death, and there will continue to be. It’s just getting really old. I don’t really care if I’m the only one who hasn’t seen the movie. I’m not going to pay $10 for a three-hour movie about Batman.

In other news, I decided I’m going to wait on handing my two weeks’ notice in for another week because I will need the extra money and will feel very guilty for sitting around the house for two weeks. One week is plenty, especially since I will be packing during that time. I need the money because the 20% off associate sale at work starts tomorrow, and know I’m already buying around $200 worth of merchandise. More on that later…

I know I’m going into controversial territory here, but I feel like I should mention something on the subject. My cousin Kyle has Aspberger’s Syndrome (a kind of autism), and he is now in driver’s ed and behind the wheel of a potential killing-machine. I say this because he doesn’t have good control over his anger, and my aunt and uncle do not know about it because it’s Catherine’s brother who tells me what he’s doing while he’s in school. Well, he had only been out driving with my aunt once and she had him simply park the car in the garage. He got flustered, didn’t break, and smashed into the back wall. He annihilated his sister’s scooter and all of the shelving, where the contents fell onto the hood of the car and all over the floor. The car is damaged, as well as the house. I honestly don’t think he should be driving. You can’t freak out in more serious situations on the road, let alone parking at your own house. I’ve spent a lot of time with Kyle, so I know what he’s like. Whenever he is angered by something, his reaction is very violent, and Catherine’s brother also agrees that he could very easily use the car to purposely hit someone in a car or a pedestrian. He knows this first-hand as the two of them actually got in a fistfight a few years ago. I hope this parking incident opens my aunt and uncle’s eyes and they evaluate the situation. They already have the poor kid going down the path of juvenile diabetes and heart disease because they go against his doctor’s orders and let him have all the sweets he wants, and now he’s morbidly obese. Although I’m no longer close with my cousins, I do drive around town and simply don’t feel comfortable with him on the road, which is what motivated me to mention this in the first place.

ETA: I found out that Kyle's driver's ed instructor does not think he should be driving either, so I guess I really wasn't out of line by saying what I did.
ferrumaeternum: (skull)
Friday was the first and regrettably last time I will be able to see The Police. Surprisingly it was also my first German Fest, despite the fact I’ve been speaking German for over six years and having German heritage on both sides of my family.

I was surprised at how most of the culture at German Fest was set back quite a few decades. It seemed to be made for old German Catholics and Lutherans. I couldn’t find any rune sets or rune pendants anywhere. The only other cultural festival I’ve attended before was Irish Fest, which embraces old traditions as well as modern culture and bands, and doesn’t leave out aspects of Ireland’s pre-Christian past. The other interesting thing is that German Fest is very Bavaria-oriented, which is quite a bit different than the rest of Germany. Most of the steins even had sayings about Bavaria and the Black Forest. The rest was very stereotypical from the food to the dress to the music. With the sheer amount of people with Germanic heritage living here, one would think the festival would try to bring something new to Milwaukee. I wasn’t surprised to see all the local German restaurants vending there. Nearly all the items for sale can be found at German Glass & Gift Imports in Richfield or Chicago’s annual Christkindlmarkt. There was one German rock band that played – Biba und die Butzemänner, but I was unable to see them due to the concert. Perhaps it may have been more enjoyable if I was old enough to publicly consume Jaegermeister or any of the other fine imported beer and alcoholic beverages, but I won’t be able to do that at German Fest for another two years. Will I go back again? Depends on what bands are playing then, really.

I had a better seat than I imagined as I was only about thirty rows from the stage and between the center and the left, which made for a great angled view. I was disappointed that hardly half of the Amphitheater was filled by the time Elvis Costello and the Imposters went onstage. Despite the insane humidity, he still wore a suit and left it on for the entire set, even though he looked like he was going to keel over at any moment from the way he was moving around with his guitar. I had previously seen Costello with Allen Toussaint for all of five minutes at Summerfest a few years ago when a certain someone I was with decided they wanted to leave. Anyway, him and his band were very solid, playing the ‘80s hits “Pump it Up” and “Everyday I Write the Book”, along with material from his new album. His keyboardist did an excellent job with the complex and diverse material and the drummer had a very primal sound (which I love) that cut through the summer air like a knife. He also played more soulful numbers such as “Flutter and Wow” and “Allison”, where Sting came out and turned it into a duet. A good third of the audience missed out on that one for arriving late.

Although nothing can compare to the original at their peak, I thought The Police were phenomenal, especially for a reunion. Sting and Stewart Copeland were in great shape, and Andy Summers just looked like Steve Diggle from the Buzzcocks, especially with the frilly flowery shirt he was wearing. Regardless, he’s a great guitarist. I studied his work while I was taking lessons, so it was a treat for me to see him play live. He even gave a Fender Strat warmth and feeling, which ain’t easy. Andy and Sting also had a bit of a guitar and bass play-off, which are always fun. Other than the fact Sting looked like he hadn’t shaved for a few days and his shirt looked like Under Armour, he was still in great physical shape and his voice cut right through the crowd of 15,000 that were all singing along. Sting took advantage of that and let us sing quite a few parts of their songs, including half the chorus to “Da Do Do Do, De Da Da Da”. Unfortunately, he obviously forgot part of the lyrics toward the beginning of “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic”, but recovered quickly. The audience’s average age was roughly 50, and most of them were drunk off cheap watery American beer, so no one else really seemed to notice. This is the third legendary band I’ve seen this summer, and it’s funny that all of their tours have been based off their best albums: Iron Maiden with Powerslave, Blondie with Parallel Lines, and now The Police with Synchronicity. The stage setup and lights also reflected this, and despite being designed back in the ‘80s, still gave the stage a very futuristic look. There were even several rising columns with different seizure-inducing lights. The Police’s reggae, jazz, and Eastern influences really came out during this performance, especially with Stewart Copeland’s incredible percussion skills. For “Don’t Stand so Close to Me” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, he played a gong, xylophone, and several different chimes and symbols simultaneously. During one of their songs Sting even changed the lyrics to “this is the Stewart Copeland show”. Indeed it was, and a great one at that.

Photos can be viewed here, since I didn't realize my camera did not have any batteries in it until I got down there.

Set List )

Other highlights include:
  • Drunken middle-aged people doing all kinds of dorky dances
  • Modert art images being shown before the concert by Warhol, Mondrian, and Haring
  • Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up” being played loudly before The Police went onstage
  • People showing up to the concert wearing lederhosen and other traditional German garb
  • Losing about five pounds in sweat, only to probably gain it back by eating a large piece of Schwarzwald Kirschtorte afterward
  • Doing the chicken dance and polkaing to an oom-pah band with my mom
  • A stein that was also a drinking horn, which would have been pretty badass if it wasn’t $80
  • The “das Boot” drinking boot stand that actually means ‘the boat’ in German, not ‘the boot’, so the shirts that meant to say ‘I love the boot’ (I love das Boot) were really ‘I love the boat’. Boot = Stiefel auf Deutsch. This is why you can’t put German and English words together in a sentence.
  • The lack of umlauts in signs, which also changes the meanings of some words. The least they could have done was add an ‘e’ after the letter that should have had an umlaut over it.

Some lowlights:
  • My $120 jacket getting stepped on by a drunk old cougar
  • Nearly all the food stands revolved around meat and sauerkraut and some combination of the two
  • Most of the stuff being geared for old people who don’t know squat about ancient or modern German culture
  • The only people I caught actually knowing German were those onstage

Next up is Irish Fest, where I will be purchasing an assload of jewelry, seeing Leahy’s Luck and Gaelic Storm, and probably failing at trying to avoid my dad, aunt, and uncle. (We all go when we can get in free because we’re cheap.) I wish I would have gone in the rain last year to see The Tossers ‘cause they aren’t playing this year and I’ve never been able to catch them whenever they’re in town.
ferrumaeternum: (banana split lady)
11. Ensiferum – Victory Songs

After Jari Mäenpää booked recording time for Ensiferum and his side project Wintersun at the same time, he had to decide which band he was going to stay in. He chose Wintersun. Petri Lindroos (see icon) from Norther replaced him on lead guitar and vocals, and I must say there couldn’t have picked anyone more fitting. Although his growl is not nearly as intimidating as Jari’s and he doesn’t sing with clean vocals, his guitar and lyric and songwriting skills are definitely up to par. In fact, he seems to be more into paganism anyway, so I enjoy his work with Ensiferum slightly more. Jari even said himself that he had to get into a certain mood to want to write folk songs for Ensiferum. With Jari gone, it gave the founder of the band, Markus Toivonen, a chance to sing the clean vocals, and he’s got a great voice. He does all the vocals on their cover of Uriah Heep’s “Lady in Black”, which I think is even better than the original. Even with Jari gone, Ensiferum’s sound didn’t change much from their previous pagan folk metal work. Victory Songs has even more songs referencing the Kalevala, especially “One More Magic Potion”, the strongest song on the album and one of my all-time favorites. Other epic songs include “Victory Song”, “Wanderer”, “Raised by the Sword”, “The New Dawn”, “Ahti”, and even the valiant instrumental opener “Ad Victoriam”.

12. Eluveitie - Slania

This is the latest album from the Swiss Celtic folk metal band. Their lyrics are in the ancient Gaulish language and include growling male vocals and clean female vocals. Eluveitie use several unusual instruments for a metal band, such as hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, mandola, tin whistle, gaita, bodhràn, and Irish flute. Although the album contains a few shorter instrumentals, they are no less in quality than the longer songs. In fact, “Giamonios” is one of my favorite songs from the album. Slania has more melodic death metal influence than their two previous releases, but still has plenty of Celtic folk and is their most cohesive album thus far.

13. Wintersun – Wintersun

This is Jari’s aforementioned side project that turned into his main and only band, and his self-titled is the only thing released as of now. He did everything on this album: song composition, growling and clean vocals, creative and descriptively poetic lyrics in English, guitars, and keyboards. The only thing he didn’t do was the drum parts, which the incredibly talented Kai Hahto from Rotten Sound ended up recording. Although this album is as lovely as the Nordic winter night itself, it still packs the punch that is typical of melodic death metal, along with folk, power, and symphonic metal influences as well. Wintersun is a very technical album with many layers. The shortest and most intense song is the opener (that also has an incredible sweep), followed by songs ranging from five to over ten minutes long. Every song is extremely carefully crafted, but a few that particularly stand out are the tragically beautiful “Death and the Healing” which has no growling vocals, the varied “Starchild”, and the last track on the album, “Sadness and Hate”. “Winter Madness” also has a very delicate and intricate solo like nothing I’ve heard before, which is one of the many reasons why Jari is my favorite shredder.

14. Children of Bodom – Follow the Reaper

With world-renowned guitar god Alexi Laiho, the equally talented Janne Warman on keyboards, Roope Latvala from the legendary ‘80s metal band Stone, and the lovely and gifted Henkka Blacksmith on bass and Jaska Raatikainen on drums respectively, it’s no wonder why this Finnish melodic death metal band is so big. As a classically trained musician, I can’t help but love their two neo-classical-styled albums Hatebreeder and Follow the Reaper. Janne’s speedy, twinkling, intricate keyboard licks rival Alexi’s harsh growling vocals and squealing, infectiously memorable riffs that eminate from his lovely custom-made ESP axe. Follow the Reaper contains brutal power metal-laced hit after hit. The only song that could just barely be considered down-tempo is “Everytime I Die”, which is still worthy of plenty of headbanging and is my favorite track off the album. Every song is incredible, including their respectable cover of W.A.S.P.’s “Hellion”. Other “best of the best” songs include “Bodom After Midnight”, “Hate Me!”, “Northern Comfort”, and “Kissing the Shadows”, although you really can’t go wrong with anything off Follow the Reaper. Just as great live as they are recorded (if not even better) this band is a must-see for any metal fan. I have also had the pleasure of partying with four out of the five guys, and must also say that they’re all wonderful (with the exception of Alexi which is not all that surprising).

15. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

These four Scottish alternative indie rockers coming out of the garage rock/post-punk revival give me hope for modern alternative music. Unlike most of their American indie counterparts, this band is not the slightest bit boring or pretentious. I can never listen to this album without rhythmically stomping my foot along, especially to their single “Take Me Out”. Each song has its own infectious chorus, and although radio-friendly, still manages to keep artistic credit. In addition to Alex Kapranos’s witty lyrics, the entire band focuses on incorporating aspects of visual art as well. Their album art and their videos are clearly influenced by Russian avant-garde and constructivism and Dadaism. The band also has great style, and as someone who is really into fashion, I can appreciate their conscious effort to portray themselves in an attractive and modern way. There isn’t one weak song on their self-titled, and some of my favorites include “The Dark of the Matinée”, “Darts of Pleasure”, and the delightfully sexually ambiguous “Michael”.

16. Cocteau Twins – Treasure

Dark ‘80s alternative/post-punk/dream pop/shoegaze band on 4AD records with Elizabeth Fraser’s strong, airy, warbling, distinctive vocals sung in an unknown language, Robin Guthrie’s clean twinkling and contrasting droning electric and acoustic guitars, and Simon Raymonde’s throbbing basslines. This is the perfect music to listen to watching the snow fall or in the dark, late at night.

17. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Juju

“Following the footsteps of a ragdoll dance we are entranced” indeed. This more guitar-based albums features John McGeoch’s fretwork and Budgie’s intricate percussion work. Siouxsie Sioux timelessly beautiful voice croons in “Arabian Nights” and contrastingly transitions into an urgent frenzy in “Head Cut”. Hypnotic post-punk influenced songs like “Spellbound”, “Into the Light”, and “Sin in My Heart” give a nod to the Banshee’s punk past while the even darker and slinkier “Halloween”, “Night Shift”, and “Voodoo Dolly” helped them earn their ‘80s goth cred along the ranks of bands like Bauhaus and Switchblade Symphony. Both Morrissey and Johnny Marr stated this is one of their favorite albums, which further proves its greatness.

18. The Clash – London Calling

As a fan of ‘70s punk, it’s no surprise that I love The Clash. What sets this band apart from the others is their intelligent political and socially-conscious lyrics. Their use of ska and reggae (“Rudie Can’t Fail”, “The Guns of Brixton”), jazz (“Jimmy Jazz”), Latin (“Spanish Bombs”), rockabilly (“Brand New Cadillac”) influences also adds to their unique sound. Needless to say the range in this album is quite incredible from the pessimistic “Lost in the Supermarket” to the pop radio-friendly “Train in Vain” to the brash punk-infused title track to several good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll songs such as “Clampdown”, “Koka Kola”, “Death or Glory”, and “I’m not Down”. Variety is the spice of life, and it proves to be true as London Calling is considered one of the most important and influential albums in the history of rock music despite nicking the cover design from Elvis.

19. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads

As the title suggests, Murder Ballads is an album of new and traditional murder ballads. The meanings behind each ballad are discussed here. Nick’s deep, dark, rich vocals perfectly compliment the morbid nature of this album, as well as all their other Southern Gothic folk rock works. Mr. Cave is also quite well known for his way with words in his music and critically acclaimed novel, and he leaves out no details on this release. Murder Ballads also features several equally talented musicians such as Kylie Minogue in the duet “Where the Wild Roses Grow” and PJ Harvey in “Henry Lee”, which is also a duet with Cave. The Bob Dylan cover “Death is not the End” also features Shane MacGowan of The Pogues on vocals as well as Kyle Minogue, PJ Harvey, and Anita Lane. Warren Ellis from The Dirty Three is also featured playing violin and accordion in “The Curse of Milhaven”. Nick’s skilled piano-playing is thoroughly featured in addition to Blixa Bargeld’s (also of Einstuerzende Neubauten fame) unconventional guitar work. Both are showcased in the nearly fifteen minute-long “O’Malley’s Bar”, which passes as a finely morose literary work all of its own.

20. Joy Division – Closer

Just by looking at Peter Saville’s album art design, which features a black and white photograph of the Appiani family tomb, one can easily guess what awaits inside. This is Joy Division’s second and last album produced by Martin Hannett. It was released after Ian Curtis’s suicide. Closer has a more developed sound than Unknown Pleasures and uses more synthesizers and effects. Each song on the album contains Joy Division’s classic tribal, pounding drums and basslines, bleak synth, minimal post-punk guitar work, and Ian’s rich and emotion-filled baritone voice. The 2007 remaster includes a live recording from London University which in itself features many of the greatest songs such as “Dead Souls”, “A Means to an End”, “Twenty Four Hours”, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, and “Digital”.



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