High On Fire, Torche, Kylesa
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN
The Varsity Theater rarely hosts metal shows, so this was my first time here at this great venue that reminds me a bit of the Granada Theater in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s obvious that the interior was designed by the same folks behind Loring Pasta Bar and the Kitty Cat Klub down the street in Dinkytown. Plush, comfortable chairs lined the back and sides of the hall, providing great sightlines from almost anywhere.
Click photo to see more pictures of Kylesa (22).
Kylesa just hit the stage with “Hollow Severer” as security rummaged through my camera gear and I quickly wormed my way to the front as the stage was bathed in a swirl of psychedelic imagery from slide-stage projectors. Half of the ten-song, 40 minute set was drawn from last year’s Static Tensions album, and having two drummers in the live show adds immense sound to the band. No breaks were taken between songs as Kylesa hammered their way through the sludge-drenched chords of “Unknown Awareness” and “Running Red”. Three songs from the forthcoming Spiral Shadow album were played (“Tired Climb”, “Forsaken”, and “Don’t Look Back”), and they indicate an evolving, slightly different approach to heavy Kylesa sound. This certainly will be an album to watch out for when it’s released on October 26. “Bottom Line” was the only song played from To Walk A Middle Course, which led into “Don’t Look Back”. The closing number, “Scapegoat”, was the highlight of the show, from a pounding, driving introduction featuring the drummers, all the way through a powerful solo from guitarist Laura Pleasants as the rest of the band joined in on percussion. Don’t miss Kylesa the next time they roll through your town.
Click to watch Kylesa perform “Tired Climb”.
Click to watch Kylesa perform “Said And Done”.
Click to watch Kylesa perform “Bottom Line”.
Click to watch Kylesa perform “Don’t Look Back”.
Torche was a pleasant surprise, as the trio is much heavier live than their most recent EP, Songs For Singles, would suggest. They’re commonly give the stoner rock tag, but I hear more of an influence from heavy alternative metal bands such as Therapy? All members of the band were energetic and fun to watch on stage, and the drummer was especially fun to watch as he made eye contact with the crowd. Most of Songs For Singles was played, the highlights being “U.F.O.”, “Face The Wall”, and “Hideaway”. I wasn’t too familiar with Torche before tonight, but the show has given me a new appreciation for Songs For Singles and convinced that they are band to watch out for great things.
Click picture to see more photos of Torche (19).
Click to watch Torche perform “Arrowhead”.
Click to watch Torche perform “Hideaway”.
Click to watch Torche perform “Lay Low”.
Everyone was now primed for High On Fire, and I was excited since it had been a couple since I last saw Matt Pike and crew rip it up on Megadeth’s Gigantour. No one writes cranium-smashing riffs like Matt Pike, other than Zakk Wylde, and he’s always a sight to behold live. The bulk of the set centered around the last two albums, Snakes For The Divine and Death Is This Communion, and the gauntlet was immediately thrown down with “Frost Hammer”. As all bands did tonight, there were no breaks or banter between songs, and “Turk” was immediately followed by “Blessed Black Wings”. The band dipped into the back catalog for “Baghdad” and “Hung, Drawn, And Quartered”, and newer tracks like “Rumors Of War” and “Fire, Flood & Plague” kept the crowd moving. The only drop in intensity came from the slow, drawn out “Bastard Samarai”, one of my least favorite songs from Snakes For The Divine. It was depressing to watch Matt struggle through a solo with his guitar chord laying on the stage. Several fans were pointed at the disconnected chord, but no one helped plug him back in until someone jumped up on stage to hand the plug to Matt. No good deed goes unpunished as the staff then decided to do something and hustled the guy away from the stage. Later, Matt threw up his hands in frustration and looked like he was ready to kick down his stack of amps. Despite these glitches, High On Fire on again proved why they are the reigning kings of heavy doom metal. It ain’t pretty, but no one can deny the power and talent emanating from Matt’s guitar. This was an incredible bill, and all three bands sounded as good as ever.
Click picture to see more photos of High On Fire (24).
Click to watch High On Fire perform “Waste Of Tiamat”.
Click to watch High On Fire perform “Baghdad”.