Every once in a while, I find myself unexpectedly blown away by a band. Last night was one of those nights. My friend Marv invited me to the Summer Slaughter Tour in Hamilton and although most of the bands were a little heavier than I’m used to, I figured it would be fun. Plus, I’ve been dying to meet Marv in person. He admins a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, and a Twitter feed all called “This Day in Metal” and he recently contacted me to help him out by making videos for him. It’s been a blast so far, doing my daily “metal news” videos, but we hadn’t officially met…until last night.
So I headed out to Club 77 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to check out a super heavy lineup with Arch Enemy headlining the show. Marv beat me there so I, unfortunately, missed Cattle Decapitation (yikes on the name!!). He says they were great. They put out a new album today so if you like your music heavy, check them out. The first band I saw was Acacia Strain. They were super heavy, very growly and the crowd loved them! The crowd surfing was full force and the space between the crowd and the stage so small that security just threw the surfers back into the crowd. I watched their set from the back of the club. I was still acclimatizing myself to this level of metalcore. Once the set ended I went for a walk up to the front to check out the scene. I found a great spot, up a couple of steps and off to the left at the front, to watch the next band, Veil of Maya (Review of Veil Of Maya’s new album) They were really heavy and really good and again the crowd was wild!! Circle pits, crowd surfing, stage diving and moshing. The band was noticeably impressed by the caliber of this Hamilton crowd and gave props often. Once Veil of Maya were finished their set, the crew started setting up for Arch Enemy. We managed to secure a spot, right at the front, just to the left of the mosh zone. I could feel the excitement building. I’d never seen Arch Enemy before, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t even really know any of their songs. I just knew they had a female singer and they were really heavy. Marv knows the guitarist, Michael Amott on Twitter so he had kindly put us on the guest list. I was in for a show that I certainly had not expected.
Arch Enemy hit the stage, their hardcore melodic metal sound blasting out in true European fashion. The beautiful Alissa White-Gluz, hailing from Montreal, and the former singer of The Agonist flew onto the stage looking just like an angel. With her turquoise and blue hair flowing in the wind, she opened her mouth and let out the most beautiful, blood-curdling scream that one could possibly imagine. I’ve never been so completely captivated by a sound as I was by the guttural growl coming out of this tiny little, beautiful girl. She was absolutely incredible and so full of energy, I was awestruck. There’s usually a fairly solid line for me between a vocalist and a growler, but I have a whole new respect after seeing Arch Enemy perform last night. I’m definitely a fan now.
After the show, Michael invited us out to where the tour bus was parked for a chat and a photo op. He was so incredibly cool, and talked to us for quite some time, answering all the questions we could possibly have. His influences are Black Sabbath, of course, and he said he was a huge fan of the Bay Area thrash scene when it hit. Metallica, Slayer, Testament, and Megadeth. All the greats. But he has a real respect for Canadian music too, noting April Wine, Triumph, Max Webster and Santers as just a few of his highly respected faves. There were a number of other fans waiting to chat, too, and when we got talking to them we realized just how young they were. Twenty-one! It’s so amazing to see these young kids having a deep respect for bands like Arch Enemy and carrying the flame on to a new generation. It was great to talk to them. They have much more impressive taste in music than I ever had at that age. Perhaps even now, since as I mentioned before, I really didn’t know that much about Arch Enemy before last night.
To have the opportunity to see Arch Enemy in a small venue like this was bad-ass, to say the least. And to be up close and personal with the band was a treat I’ll be forever grateful to my esteemed This Day in Metal partner, Marv.
Rock on Metalheads. Until the next adventure.