Having never heard Skeletal Remains, this was a first for me. The ultra-fast, heavy, and well timed riffs were the first thing I took note of. Often times, when hearing a death metal band for the first time in the live, it doesn’t do their studio efforts any justice at all. I’m happy to say that these guys sounded polished and ready to put on a show, even though there were only about 400 people in the venue to start the night. Skeletal Remains gave a very non-nonsense, you want music – here you go type of performance. To be fair, each band only had about a 40 minute set, so they could either chat with the crowd, or blow their faces off with gravely growling songs that put you in the right place at the right time last night. Glad they chose the latter.
I have been a longtime fan of this band. From the second I first heard “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck”, I went out on a quest to find more from Prong. The performance tonight was everything I expected and then some. The short set list meant that they had to pick their top 6 songs. That also meant that the crowd knew every word. If there was anyone in the crowd who didn’t know who Prong was, you couldn’t tell. The band immediately took hold of everyone in attendance and gave them one hell of a performance. Let’s be honest, Industrial/Progressive Metal is a genre that’s easy to do wrong, the notes that you aren’t playing are just as important as those you have to nail. Prong showed everyone why they are the masters in this realm. From the first note of “Unconditional” to the last cymbal crash of the closing song “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck”, the pit was on fire. Lots of energy in the crowd and just raw excitement that you could feel. The only thing this performance left me wishing for is that I wish I’d have seen them when I first heard them over 20 years ago.
Pure, unfiltered energy. That’s really the only way to describe the air that filled the Skyway as soon as Madball hit the stage. From the second lead singer Freddy Cricien (literally) jumped on stage to the moment they walked off, Madball put every ounce of energy they had into their performance. Great crowd interaction from these guys, from joining the front row to cheers and chants, the crowd was engaged and locked in. If you didn’t know who they were (and there weren’t many of us according to a mid-show poll), Madball definitely convinced you to want learn more about them after the show. This band certainly earned every drop of sweat in the building.
You are not ready. If you’ve seen Obituary before, or if you haven’t, it doesn’t matter, you aren’t ready. Obituary hit the stage bigger than life for their 25th anniversary tour. They didn’t need to step in and take over, the crowd was theirs for the taking. A large portion of the crowd was there just to see Obituary. The band certainly had the lions share of t-shirts chosen as concert attire before the doors opened up (including many other band performers). Obituary has a huge, dedicated following and they took the stage with the intention of giving them everything they wanted. The crowd surged and the pit roiled stronger and stronger throughout the set. From blistering fast licks, to crushing drones, this band has tempo changes mastered. There’s no mistaking the driving wail of John Tardy’s vocals, you know straight away that Obituary is on stage and nobody else.
This band knows how to work a crowd! If you show up, you’re part of the show. There was a lot of energy and crowd participation for the final act of the night. They were limited to the same short set time as all the other bands, but it felt like they fit a two hour show into that time. There was also something more in the crowd than just a bunch of people showing up to see the same band, there was a real sense of community. Hatebreed was well aware of this community and exploited that to deliver one hell of a show. Hatebreed is one of very few bands that you know what you’re getting when you go to see them live. You get the music you came to listen to, plus the showmanship and performance of the band. What sets Hatebreed apart is they can deliver on both fronts with it turned all the way up to 11 without making the two mutually exclusive.
Overall, this was a fantastic night, well worth the door price for the ticket. While I don’t think there was a person who felt they didn’t get their money’s worth or have a great time as it was, there were a few dings that needed to be compensated for. By the end of the night, however, anything that was suboptimal was long since forgotten about. The sound and lighting were fantastic, security and bar staff were super cool. The venue, the bands, it all added up to a night where I was more excited about the show after I left than before I got there. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday night with a thousand people that were probably just like me in a lot of ways.
Review and photos by Paul Allen