If you weren’t at The Varsity last Wednesday for the Cradle of Filth show, you missed one of the best metal shows you would have seen to end the long winter season.  All three bands brought a similar theme, but totally unique experience to the night.  Dark, aggressive, punchy and fast, that’s how I’d sum up the night.
Raven Black took the stage at 7:00 and immediately grabbed the crowd by the throat.  There is no denying that the band’s namesake and front woman can hold her own in the class of metal vocalists.  The pigtails and cute Wednesday Addams dress were pure deceit, this woman commands respect on the stage and you’ll willingly give it.  A gruff, gravely growl, vocalist Raven has all the chops she needs to hold her own in the gothic/death/creep metal scene.  The set was a mixture of cute and dark with Raven using props ranging from a bright red umbrella and a sparkly hula-hoop to handcuffs and a flail.  On the whole, the band portrayed the appearance of outcast toys that wanted you to pay for your poor decisions very well.  The band was spot on in their transitions from fast to hella-fast tempos and back.  Overall a solid warmup for what was to follow.
Setlist – Fire in Your Eyes – Morbid Gladiator – My Love is Holy – Mystery Woman – Black Queen – Lips of Desire – If You Choose the Dark
Next, Wednesday 13 took the stage.  This band provided a much different feel than a typical metal band.  They brought with them a very crunchy, driving metal sound coupled with a horror inspired stage presence.  Having never heard this band before tonight, I didn’t know what to expect.  I don’t think that changed anything at all.  If I’d had high expectations, I’d have still been awestruck by their presence.  From melodic, grinding riffs to headbanging solos, this was one band you didn’t want to turn your attention away from.  The lead singer had a different mask/wardrobe for each song, which made for a few long pauses in between songs, filled with eery ambient keyboard sounds.  As soon as he retook the stage, though, you immediately forgot about the wait and got right back into the show with them.
Last up, Cradle of Filth needed no introduction.  They knew why you were there and they were going to give it to you.  There were only about 450-500 people in the venue (about half capacity).  The small crowd didn’t change the feel of their set.  They put on a well polished, paganistic, anti-everything show that is exactly what you’d expect from Cradle of Filth.  Hard driving, melodic, gothic metal tracks, dark tones and the lead singer’s signature wail, it was exactly what people were there to hear, and they got it.  The high energy resonated with the crowd and small mosh pit outbreaks occurred now and again.  Either the crowd wasn’t big enough to sustain them or Cradle of Filth was a band you wanted to watch as much as hear.  Maybe a bit of both.  I certainly hope that MN didn’t disappoint Cradle of Filth with the lackluster turnout and they put us back on their tour list again in the future.  There are certainly some dedicated fans here and they’d love to have them back (maybe they’ll each grab a couple of friends next time).
Photos and review by Paul Allen.