Monday, October 24, 2011

Grave, Blood Red Throne, Pathology and Gigan - Park Theater Sep. 11th, 2011

When the Royal Albert Arms shut down to be updated and to fix a main break, all of the metal shows scheduled there were re-routed mainly to the Park Theater on Osbourne. The Royal Albert's absence from the metal venue circuit has a left a hole in many of our hearts and stomachs, mainly because they had really cheap beer- but also because the acoustics sucked, there was a huge pillar blocking the center of the stage for all those who weren't right in front and because it was a dank dark place that a lot of us considered a second home. Yes, there's a warm, gooey place in our souls, where we fondly think of the Albert. Rumour has it, that after the main pipe break was fixed, the city came in and demanded updates on many parts of the Albert for safety. I can't imagine why, because it would just make the Albert an infamous and possibly haunted venue if something horrific happened. Awesome!

The show on the 11th of September was a death metal feast, with Grave hailing all the way from Sweden for their first gig ever in Winnipeg and Blood Red Throne coming from Norway to batter at our ear drums. I was ready for a steady night of excellent music, and made sure that I smuggled in enough Kieth's to tide me over the entire night. No security at that Park makes this an excellent venue for photography on stage and bringing your own booze.

The first band was Gigan, coming from Chicago, and I was pleasantly surprised at how avant garde their music was. Playing with strange guitar noises, pitching high but not obtrusively, and with a strange set of pedals for both the bassist and guitarist. Their vocalist had excellent stage presence and often gesticulated, or turned his back on the crowd to make a christ-esque pose. Their drummer wore a Lemmy shirt, and hammered on the drums with amazing speed and precision, which is a necessity in pounding brutal death metal. Their bassist Patrick played fiercely and seldom stood still, and used an MXR guitar distortion pedal to mix in with the brutal sound. The master and writer of all this music though, is Eric Hersemanna a lefty-guitarist, which even I can't boast.
Eric Hersemann

After Gigan's set, I checked out their pedals for reference, and enquired with Eric about what the hell a MoogerFooger pedal was. A MoogerFooger of course, is a brand of pedal, but his particular one was a MF-102 Ring Modulator. "It takes two frequencies and twists them together in either a high or low frequency." as Eric put it. The web page states "The moogerfooger ring modulator can create effects ranging from subtle tremolo to harmonically rich distortion, gong-like sounds, sweeps, swoops, and divebombs. It can be subtle, or outlandish"  Which is where he gets his unique and amazing sound from.

Standing guard at the merch was Patrick, the Gigan bassist, and so I began to get to know Gigan. Their range of age goes from Kaish, their drummer at twenty-three years of age to Eric, whom is thirty-something. How this band found eachother, I have no idea, but I am very pleased they did. I bought their CD's, got a poster signed and even helped tear down their merch after the show was done. Eric was especially polite and easy to speak with about a range of things. Some time during the show, however, discord took place and Kaish lost his cell phone somewhere at the Park. Well, at least they were offered a place to stay by another fan named Tod, who I ran into at Opeth again and discussed the possible set-list with.

The next band, Blood Red Throne to me, did not appear to be all too spectacular in appearance, but who should be? One of their guitarists looks extremely similar to Dimebag, right down to the Dean guitar and facial hair. The other guitarist had little hair at all, but shredded like no one's business. I spent much of their set either taking pictures, or speaking with Gigan, so unfortunately, there isn't much to tell for their set.

Finally, Grave... the band I came to see. Swedish death metal being one of my favourite sub-genres of metal, with it's iconic guitar tone that almost every swedish death metal band seems to use. I felt they were humbled by the small Park Theater, but then I was thankful because the Park makes bands so accessable for photo's and interviews as well as just hanging out.

A pit, believe it or not.

Grave ended up playing their entire first album "Into The Grave" which was absolutely moving, as far as death metal goes. Their bassist managed to play with only three bass strings, and I assumed he did this on purpose until he told me it broke before the show. This is why you should always bring an extra set of strings to a gig! Their playfulness on stage was very apparent, and seeing any band have fun on stage is usually a good thing. The pit was acceptable for the Park, and so the bonding excercise and good music made this particular group of people a little bit closer.

After the show, I was invited by Gigan's Eric to come hang out with the bands, so I headed out back with them for some quality hang out time. Of course there was gratuitous drinking, and I was asked if I needed a beer by Grave's bassist, and I gladly accepted. I asked him and their drummer about Swedish education and about cold Winnipeg gets in comparison to their nice coastal climate. Their drummer told us all about how he bought shitty socks from the States, and promptly poured kerosine on them and lit them aflame. Their bassist quickly chimed in with "Socks on fire! Socks on fire! Burning, Burning with desire!" I joined in, and lo, twas a gay scene. However, the own of the Park was displeased, and bitched about the drinking and the fire and his needing to get his young son home. He systematically went around dumping beers from people, and grabbed mine, to which I replied with no mendaciousness "Thank you". Grave's bassist asked if I said "Fuck you" to him, and I said no.

Soon everyone was kicked off the property, so we made ourselves scarce, and I decided it was time I hit the road and let the bands party where ever they find themselves.

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