One of the points I brought up in my last concert review was actually finding the place on time in Boston. As I said, I had driving in Boston. So I shall start this review by saying I have no complaints about finding Rocko’s in Manchester, NH for last night’s show. Another subject to get out of the way involves the comparison to Mark’s in Bedford. The tours that used to book at Mark’s are now getting booked at Rocko’s. I must say I found Rocko’s to be more desirable. Although it seems a little more rundown than Mark’s, layout of the venue itself it more desirable. The key difference, however, was the lack of a security team (particularly with a no-moshing rule). As the audience demonstrated throughout, a security team would have been unnecessary. There were pits a-plenty, yet nobody got visibly hurt, nor was there any property damage. A merch table got ran into a couple of times, but that was it. A downside involved alcohol; the venue was upstairs, the bar downstairs, and one can’t bring alcohol upstairs to an all-ages show. This complaint is minor, however, especially when one factors in an awesome metal show like the one last night.
First up was Crypter. They seemed like kids who were metal fans and decided to start a band together… and that’s how they come across. I go the feeling that they were in it for fun… which was great, but if they want to go much further I would suggest improving the songwriting. They had a stage presence, though. They looked like they were having a good time, which counts.
Candy Striper Death Orgy… seriously, what has not been said about this band before? I’ve seen them around here numerous times, they only have one EP out after several years of being together, and they rock…. But there was nothing really new to their performance this time. It was solid and energetic. If I wanted to try to point out anything different, I would refer to Eric Paone’s banter between songs. Usually he talks a lot, especially insulting liberals, but tonight he kept it short and sexual. Okay, really, I’m reaching for something to say here. If you’ve seen CSDO before, you know what to expect, if you haven’t, do it.
I haven’t heard the first touring band on the bill, Pathology, before last night. Their music went in one of my ears and out the other. They weren’t bad, but they just reminded me of other bands in their style of death metal that I’d rather listen to. I would check them out again if they were opening for somebody else that I’d rather see, but that’s about it. I give them credit for coming all the way from San Diego, though. Overall, good performance, they obviously knew what they were doing, but the music was mediocre.
Lecherous Nocturne was another band I haven’t heard before, but they were good enough that they got me to buy a CD at the show. That’s the best way for me to get into a band; hearing them for the first time live, liking them enough to buy the album afterwards. We’ll see how the album holds up. Their performance was energetic, and everybody was hitting their marks. The audience didn’t seem to be moshing as much as they were the first two bands (and later, for Vader), but I was impressed. Horns up for sure.
The last time I saw Abigail Williams was at Mark’s a few years ago. Back then they had a full-time keyboardist and were known for including a “core” feel to their black metal. I never noticed the “core” influence too much, but then again, I haven’t really listened to them much before or since. I still hadn’t heard them before last night, but I had heard that they dropped the “core” out of their music. It turned out to be true; their music is straight-up American black metal, falling somewhere between Summon and Nachtmystium. They weren’t as energetic as some of the other bands, but the solid performance won the audience over. There were hardly any pits at all, but the crowd definitely got into them. They only played songs from the newest album, apparently to keep the style consistent. If you stayed away from it because of their past music, it’s worth listening to.
The band that I (and apparently, a good portion of the rest of the audience) were there to see was Vader, all the way from Poland. As the rest of the tour, they played the entire “De Profundis” album, followed by a few other songs such as “Wings” and ending with “This Is The War.” They certainly put on a fantastic performance, nailing the solos and spewing forth so much energy into the crowd (the pit was the craziest all night). If I had one complaint, it would be that Piotr Wiwczarek’s (yup, their Polish) guitar could have been turned up a little more. Over all, horns way up, as usual for these guys.
Immolation played as they usually do, solid and energetic, especially bassist/vocalist Ross Dolan. Between songs, I could have done without the brotherly love, but he wasn’t overdoing it as much as, say, David Vincent of Morbid Angel. Regardless, they earned the following they’ve developed over the years. If you’re somebody who hangs onto every note, though, be warned: twice I’ve noticed Dolan skipping a few measures to talk to their crew member, while one of the guitarists seemed to miss a few at the beginning of one of the songs. It didn’t seem so much as lazy so much as a loose sort of attitude. Either way, the performance was tight overall. Despite covering songs from all over their catalogue dating back to 1991, not one sounded out of place.
One more mention of something at the show: on Vader’s merch table was a bucket for donations to Nergal. When one put in some money, they were encouraged to write a message in a notebook to him. I’m afraid I’m no good at writing these sort of messages (as I proved with mine), but it was a cool thing to have there nonetheless.
Overall, a great metal tour came to New Hampshire yet again. There’s rumors of metal tours coming to this particular venue anymore, but let’s hope they turn out not to be true. Rocko’s has great sound and layout, despite the separate room for the bar.
One more thing: I would like to publicly apologize for not attending Excrecor’s performance tonight at a benefit show in Wells, Maine. I know this was a particularly important event to the bassist (a personal acquaintance of mine). I also know the band kicks ass, and I have every intent to see them again. Although I already told him I may have to miss the show because Sundays are normally difficult, this Sunday also turned out to be even more so due to my own family reasons. Again I’m sorry for not going, but I’ll see you guys again soon!