It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the most heavily European-flavored show I think I have ever been to. It was a night that was highly invigorating and helped get my 2009 concert series off with a bang. I was beginning to feel a bit deprived of live music, having not been to a show since mid-December when I saw The Misfits. I have to say that it was great to be back in the club watching live metal and drinking a beer. The crowds, the equipment, the bustle of stage hands and sound guys, it is always an experience.
I arrived at the Chance shortly past eight PM and got at the end of the slow moving line. Somehow I knew it was going to be a mistake to show up so late. Of course, I was not expecting the line to be moving quite so slowly. It would not have been so bad had the wind not been whipping through the alley leading to the entrance.
By the time I got inside, my friends in Downfire were nearly finished with their set. This is the second time in a row that I have either missed all or part of a Downfire set. Hopefully, the same thing won't happen when I go to see them again on 2/28. Still, the one song I got to hear most of sounded great. These heavy hard rockers definitely know how to put on a solid show. I also got to see them with their newest member, bassist Jim Norton, an incredible player I have seen play with a number of acts and looks to be a good fit here. I am looking forward to actually seeing them play a whole set in the near future.
The next band fails from Finland, Swallow the Sun. Their style has been called a cross between Melodic Death and Doom metal. I am not the most knowledgeable when it comes to genres, but from what I heard, that sounds about right. When the six-piece first took the stage, with five members lined up across the front of the equipment-crowded stage, I cannot say I was immediately wowed by them, but by the end of their half-hour set, I was looking to sign on as a fan. I believe my initial indifference had to do with a muddy sounding mix. It was hard to really distinguish what they were doing. That was rectified rather quickly and as the mix came into focus, so did the band, and the result was something else. Their sound is heavy, atmospheric, and aggressive. They are led by a think wall of sound that lay the bed for their dark music. Particularly impressive was their drummer, Pasi Pasanen, the guy all over the kit and it sounded great.