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Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

Today I am proud to bring you a review of the Killswitch Engage concert I attended at the Hawthorne Theater. I am really excited because this is our first guest review! Dylan DePriest kindly asked me along to the show and even more kindly agreed to write up the review! Oh, and when he talks about “the Reverend” that’s me and here’s why (<–follow link).


Killswitch Engage

Killswitch Engage concert review
28 November 2012
Portland, OR
It was a typical cold Wednesday night in Portland. For many it was the milestone marking the middle of the work week, but for metalheads it was the night that Acaro, Shadows Fall, and Killswitch Engage were performing in our great city. This show’s placement in the middle of the work week refined the crowd from people finding something to do on their day off to people who would risk their sleep schedules to see three amazing bands.
I’ve always found that waiting in line outside of the venue is a great start to a show because you get to hear what people say about the bands. The Reverend and I stood right next to someone who was less than affectionate for Shadows Fall; we noted this because her choice to use derogatory terms in her description of the band rather than her choosing to use a more logical and fact-based argument that other people would use. (editor’s note: she called Brian Fair, Shadows Fall’s lead singer “gay” and she didn’t mean he was homosexual, so clearly she is font of taste and discernment, or you know someone who needs to be made aware that is not cool) This conversation continued until we had finally passed Hawthorne Theatre’s security.
Acaro were the opening act for the night and they sounded great and performed great as well. Unfortunately the crowd was pretty weak at this point in the show because that the place wasn’t full and people weren’t warmed up yet. Two guys along with the Reverend and I were the only ones moshing which was fun, but it wasn’t super intense in terms of overall crowd intensity. Acaro’s set was great in terms of performance, but they only played about half an hour.
By the time Shadows Fall came on, the crowd had filled in significantly which brought along the 300 lb. moshers, which pretty much ruled my participation out. Shadows Fall were amazing performers, excelling significantly in their manipulation of the stage lighting and their ability to excite the crowd. Also, Brian Fair’s dreads were a great addition in terms of the visual aspect of the set. The crowd was great as well, people had started to stagedive and be more involved in the metal experience. (editor’s note: DD did plenty of stagediving his own self)
After two great acts, Killswitch Engage performed and did a damn good job of it too. Killswitch Engage started with some Howard Jones-era songs, which was really quite great to experience since Jesse Leach is the band’s vocalist again. The band then performed their entire “Alive or Just Breathing” record. I’ve listened to that record many times from start to finish and it never gets old, so having the live experience was absolutely amazing and, based upon the way the crowd acted, they felt largely the same too. After performing the entire record, Killswitch ended with two more Howard Jones-era songs, ultimately bringing their set to around two hours in length.
This concert was one of the greatest shows I have ever been to. After the opening, the crowd was intense, responsive, and fully engaged in the metal experience. While the show was at a small venue, which is a complaint from many people but not from me, the show was amazing and the music was loud. All three of these bands were great performers and even though I wasn’t completely familiar with all of the songs by the first two bands, they made an environment that was great for new fans and diehards alike. This will be a show that I will remember for many years to come.


I can’t thank Dylan enough for inviting me along and for writing this review.

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My sister, Mo, is in town. She’s in town because we are David Byrne-ing it up!(Byrne-ing down the house?) Tonight we get to see him talk about his book How Music Works with Carrie Brownstein, but last night we saw him perform with St. Vincent(Annie Clark) in support of their collaborative album Love This Giant

Intention. Beauty. Art. That is what we witnessed. I’ll be honest. I don’t really know how to write this review; how to properly convey the experience I had. Let me start with the basics and go from there.

There was a minimalist stage set up; just a few stage lights and a plain white backdrop. This was used to great affect when setting the mood. Byrne and St. Vincent both convey an amazing stage presence and are amazing vocalists and, as Mrs. Muffin said, St. Vincent has Prince-like chops on the guitar. The eight-piece horn section, drummer, and keyboardist were tight-every single one of them consummate musicians. Each song had it’s own choreography whether it was dancing, marching around the stage or even having the horn section and Byrne lie down so the attention was aimed at St. Vincent.

Everything was so focussed and thoughtful and every song was so good and every performer so on their game. And here is the part that is kind of hard to explain. I have been to many concerts and had an amazing time. There are times when the artist or band and the audience are so in sync that it becomes transcendent (Belly at LaLuna in ’95 comes to mind). While last night’s concert did not attain that kind of transcendence, it did offer something else-at least to me. About three songs in it all hit me: David Byrne, St. Vincent, the horn section, the drummer, the keyboardist, the amount of work, dedication, passion, talent, and the level of the craft that I was witnessing and then it happened. Bear with me here kids….my eyes watered…they teared up. I didn’t cry, but I would say I was moved to tears. I have heard people talk about being brought to tears by artwork or a piece of music and have never gotten it. I understand those things bringing out something that is already inside of a person, but never believed the art or music did it in and of itself. Maybe I had something inside me that recognized what was going on up on the stage last night, but it seemed bigger than that and it definitely didn’t feel like it was about me.


Of note:
They played three encores and when they introduced the members of the horn section they pointed out that each person had their own table in the lobby selling merchandise for their individual bands they are in outside of the Love This Giant project. That’s class, folks.

Every song was amazing. That is rare, but it’s true.

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