I was either fickle or faithful that night, depending on your point-of-view.
Agalloch had again announced a tour. The pitch-black pastoral Portlandians are rarely seen in real life, so just like back in early 2011, I jumped at the opportunity to catch them. As someone who hosted a weekly live Metal Monday gig and frequented heavy live actions in Vermont or Montreal, I missed the energy, the camaraderie, the completely fucking different feel of my favorite bands in front of me. So of course I’m going to Agalloch. We didn’t say these kind words about them and include the band on three of our ‘Bestof2010’ lists for nothing.
The day had finally come—we were off to Roadburn. We’d waited on bated breath since we bought the festival passes late last year (fortunate, since it sold out in 7 minutes) and it was finally time to experience the awesome, unique vibe at this small heavy music festival.
Ulver – The Norwegian National Opera
Release: 2011Oct24 (US)/2012Jan23 (EU)
Label: Kscope Records
Most concert films are rarely interesting for anyone besides fans of the bands in question, hampered by uninspired versions of the songs, weak camera work, and shoddy atmosphere. Some break the mold—such as Deep Purple‘s Made In Japan, Iron Maiden‘s Live After Death and Opeth‘s anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Ulver now joins those ranks with their first live video, The Norwegian National Opera.
I witnessed Motorpsycho deliver an awe-inspiring concert only two days before, but they would be quickly forgotten as Crippled Black Phoenix burned through one of the best concerts I’d ever seen. The British band, led by Justin Greaves (formerly of Electric Wizard and Iron Monkey), has become one of the premier European prog rock bands today. Their recent record (Mankind) The Crafty Ape is the perfect fusion of Pink Floyd‘s epic scope and Led Zeppelin‘s hard-hitting groove.
Scale the Summit | Elitist | Frozen
Venue: T.T. the Bear’s Place
City: Cambridge, MA
Author: Anthony Carace
On Monday, February 13th, Texas instrumentalists Scale the Summit laid waste to T.T. the Bear’s Place in Cambridge, MA. If you’re familiar with StS at all, you know the quartet expends absolutely no time with vocals and mystical, exploratory lyrical content; these boys lead you on a lengthy, delving journey through sonic landscapes rather than demand a forced march up a perilous hill of noise.
Band: Motorpsycho with Ståle Storløkken
Venue: Sentrum Scene
City: Oslo, Norway
The phrase “rock opera” is rarely used in music literature today—having been reduced to a joke by egocentric rock bands in the late 1970s. I shudder at the thought of those bloated excesses and egos, and even if I’ve never had any love for punk rock, I appreciate that rock had returned to the small clubs by the end of the punk revolution.
So, why then did I go to see a rock opera last night? Well, partly because I have some love for records like Tommy by The Who and Southern Rock Opera by Drive-by Truckers. But the main reason is the fact that the rock opera The Death Defying Unicorn was made by my favorite band of all time, Motorpsycho. This is a band that started out in the midst of the grunge era with the metallic punk sound of Lobotomizer, proved to be indie cult legends with records like Demon Box and Timothy’s Monster, played jazz with The Source and Jaga Jazzist, did outlaw country as The International Tussler Society, defined modern hard rock with Trust Us and soft rock with Phanerothyme.