Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Fell on Black Days (a long weekend of Black Metal in NYC)

Interesting few days in Manhattan. On Friday 2/27 Satyricon and Cradle of Filth came to the Nokia in Times Square and on Monday 3/2, 1349 (prematurely) headlined BB King's. Here are my thoughts on those two shows.

I have always had an admiration for Cradle of Filth, but a reasonably low tolerance for their records. Dani Filth's shrieking gets on my nerves after a while. Sometimes a very short while. But I have always loved Damnation and a Day, and I am really into the new one, so I figured this would be a great excuse to scratch Cradle off the list and finally see them live.

However, this was not Cradle of Filth's evening. It was Satyricon's. Before their set I was marginally familiar with their records and certainly a fan of Frost's drumming. But Iwas made a complete convert. Satyr, with his slicked back hair and nice suit is rocking some sort of Nazi chic. Considering how grateful he was to be in NYC I am going to assume he is not an anti-semite and concentrate on the tunes.

Simply put they were amazing. The entire band moved with a ton of confidence and won over the whole crowd. The last time I saw an opening act so completely own the headliner was back when Children of Bodom on the Hate Crew Deathroll tour opened for Iced Earth at BB King's. The time before that was seeing In Flames open for Iced Earth, but the story of Iced Earth being completely upstaged by their openers is another post for another time....

In addition to the cool confidence of the whole band Satyr came off amazingly humble and thanking New York for being so supportive, despite having not played here all that much. By the end of the set when he asked if people would return if they headlined later in the year the venue exploded. You would do well to catch them when they come into town. They are not the most passionate live band, but with the exception of seeing Emperor, it was one of the most effective examples of seeing Black Metal live.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Cradle of Filth. Although they had a pretty fun stage set up complete with a crucified skeleton rocking the devil horns, they sounded very phoned in. The sound mix was also muddy and distorted, unlike the pristine mix of their opener. After four songs we split, having heard a couple of tunes from the new record (but not my current favorite The Death of Love which curiously wasn't on the set list) and some classics like Dusk and Her Embrace it was time to leave. Forty minutes of that band was plenty. That picture to the left? Matt snapped it. That is a woman dressed up as the Joan of Arc walking towards the Nokia bathrooms. I wish we got a snap of her from the front. She was a sight to behold.

1349 was a bit more curious. Dovetailing into Eric's review I agree that they do a much better job on record than they do live. Interestingly their drummer on the albums is Frost, Satyricon's drummer. But he does not tour with them, and it does hurt their performance. Their touring drummer is very obviously in a different league and it affects their intensity. Also they were not ready to headline such a large room. BB King's holds about 1,000 people or so, and I would say there were barely 100 in that room. When the venue is so sparse anything you think is evil, is actually hilarious. I was pretty hammered and way up front so it was kind of fun. Also in that picture on the right you will see at the bottom a gray haired man holding a camera. I recognized him from Tom Warrior's blog. You can see a picture here. I imagine he was filming the show for Mr. Warrior who mixed the new 1349 record has performed with them in the past. If everything I have said is correct and Tom Warrior finds this blog, I apologize for screaming "U SUR PER" so much by the camcorder. I was a little hammered.

The last thing to note is that at the end of the show the singer of 1349 was shaking hands with people in the front. I got my slap. When he got to Matt there was some sort of wardrobe malfunction and well, the picture of Matt's hand right after is below. Matt does want everyone to know that it is not just his own blood from the singer's spikes, but he wound up with corpse paint on his hand as well.

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