So we’re home and back to normalcy from our trip to the cities. You’ll be glad to hear (by jove I’m hilarious) my ears are fine again. The ringing stopped sometime yesterday afternoon so that’s certainly a relief. Mind you, not being able to hear too great had its advantages…hmm.
Anyway, the gig! Here’s a rough account of what happened Tuesday night.
We were at Mill City Lights in downtown Minneapolis. Got into the venue without a problem, which was good considering it was cold and I was only wearing a t-shirt. It was a narrow but tall place; downstairs was the bar and merchandise area, ground floor was the performing area (or whatever you want to call it…not an arena but it was fairly big) and upstairs was the gallery overlooking the stage. I was quite impressed with it until I noticed…there were no seats!
You see, because I’m an old man I was hoping to sit down and watch, but the rectangular area by the stage was all standing and the gallery didn’t have chairs either; just metal bars to lean against. Except for at the back by the bar, where you wouldn’t be able to see anything, there were no seats whatsoever. Oh man, not a good start for me. Where am I supposed to sit?
With that undecided and with time to kill, we got ourselves a can of cider each. Want to guess the price for the two cans? I was thinking no more than ten dollars…nope, wrong! Fifteen! Woo! So we sat at the bar (not what I had in mind) and drank that while we waited for the first of our three bands…Emergent.
Emergent, a local band, was really good (note: I’m probably going to use the wrong grammar a lot during this post. I know it is wrong, but I’m adamant it sounds better…so there we go. Just a heads up). We started watched from the gallery, but decided to go downstairs for a better view. Vanna and I liked them (I wasn’t expecting to like anyone except Trivium, so I was pleasantly surprised), and they were popular with everyone else too. The singer interacted with the crowd well, riling us up for Trivium and getting us to move, so they were definitely a good opening band.
Their songs had a good blend to them too. Along with the heavy metal parts to head-bang to (if that’s what you are into), there were also parts where those who didn’t know the lyrics (like myself) could sing along too (not that I did). Vanna was worried that the vocals would be drowned out by the drums and guitars (that was a big problem at her last gig), but thankfully that didn’t really happen, so it was an enjoyable performance. Good job Mill City Nights audio crew.
Anyway, back to Emergent. They were on for thirty minutes or so, and finished to lots of cheers and applause (they took a picture of the crowd at one point, but sadly we were off to the left and out of shot). And though I wasn’t moshing or bouncing around like everyone else, Emergent did set the mood for me too. I still stood out like a sore thumb (probably), but less so than before. Slowly but surely I was becoming a “live gig person” (though with terms like that, I might not be).
Ahem. Our favourite song was probably Let It Fade.
Starset was a different band entirely, and sadly that didn’t go down great with the fans. An orchestral rock band (the genre on their Facebook page), Starset took about ten minutes setting up this touch screen/DJ thing (sorry, don’t know what exactly it was), which obviously didn’t go down well. They then performed in blue helmets and black spacesuits, which was a lot different from the good old rock/metal band we’d just seen. So sadly, the majority didn’t warm to them, and they left a few songs later in underwhelming fashion.
Now, this isn’t me hating on them. Actually I really liked Starset. At the time I thought Emergent had the more exciting performance, but I would be more likely to listen to Starset, a theory which was indeed proved after the gig (more on that shortly). I liked the concept, and the vocalist had a really good range. The songs were good, and I enjoyed it. My favourite was definitely My Demons. Even now I can’t get enough of it.
Why didn’t it work last night? Well, they didn’t really interact with the crowd (having all the equipment between us and them didn’t help), and the songs were slower, which after the previous upbeat act, wasn’t appealing to the people. The crowd wanted to jam, they wanted Trivium, and some heavy metal…thus Starset was greeted mostly with indifference. Not being local didn’t help either; there were no fans to kick-start the crowd, so nobody really knew what was going on. The poor reception was a shame because they had a pretty good performance. Had they opened the gig, and not followed the lively Emergent, they might have fared better. I don’t know. But I couldn’t dwell on it too much at the point…Trivium was up next!
No offence to the other bands, but Trivium was on a different level. They were amazing, full stop. Singing, interactions with the crowd, guitars, drums…all of it was fantastic. I won’t go into it more because I’d be here all day, but yeah, it was very, very, very good. They played a few songs from each album, and each song was as good as the next, even the ones I wouldn’t put in my favourites. Just. Awesome. Trivium loved it (they’ve said in the past, and again that night, about how good the fans here are…not bad considering there was only a couple hundred there. And this isn’t just general platitudes either; this show wasn’t even planned in the original tour, but they had to come back), the fans loved it and I loved it too.
How much? Well I sang until my throat was hoarse, I jumped, I head-banged and I just rocked out. Loved every minute of it. Could have kept going on all night.
Sadly it did end sometime after midnight, so Vanna and I headed downstairs to get some merchandise. Our initial plan was just to get a Trivium t-shirt each, but then I saw the Starset t-shirts, and wow, they were probably the coolest t-shirts I’ve ever seen in my life (even cooler than the Anchorman one I’ve got)…so I had to have one. And to make things even better, the band was there to sign stuff! As their live CD was reasonably priced, we bought it and got that signed by everyone but the drummer. Was pretty impressed at that.
Sadly, my only regret from the night happened at this moment. I really, really, really wanted to talk to Starset (more than Trivium in some ways), to say something good and you know, just converse, but of course, I was too shy and star-struck (ridiculous, right?) to say anything. I managed ‘I really enjoyed the performance, thank you’ but that was it. I shook their hand too, but man, I wanted to ask all about them and where they came up with their concept. Maybe next time Starset, maybe next time.
But wait! A chance of redemption! Emergent is over there! Let’s get their CD, get that signed too! Vanna and I went over and we had an actual conversation! Well…sort of. The guitarist talked, while we, being the socially awkward people that we are, nodded and smiled. Damn. But again, I got out some lame platitude and a handshake, so I didn’t completely fail. I tried.
So, with our hands full of goodies (I’ll upload pictures of the t-shirts tomorrow), we headed home. On the car journey we listened to Emergent’s CD and Starset’s CD. As I referred to before, I don’t think Emergent is really my kind of band but Vanna enjoyed them so no regrets there. Starset was definitely more to my taste, but sadly they have only released three, albeit very good, songs. Hopefully there will be more out soon…ideally a full album. I’ll buy it for sure, so get on it guys. I’m waiting.
So that was that. Would I go to a live gig again? Definitely. Without hesitation. I loved it.