Sunday, March 4, 2012

Manitoba Metal Festival, Night One

The night was a buzz that ebbed and flowed, with lots of fun and some misfortune- but mainly metal! I had mentally prepared for the gamut of photographing five bands in one evening, but I couldn't be sure how tiring it would be. I helped Charley Justice select, pack and transport some excellent metal titles to sell at Metal Fest, alongside the merchandise of the performing groups. I was totally stoked about the giveaway of a drum set and guitar and the fact that Metal fest had actual sponsorship this year from Quest Musique and the shirts were awesome and reasonably priced! The show didn't start until 9:40, which was already pretty late considering there were to be five groups performing.

First up was Annex Theory whom played a pretty enjoyable and killer set of rather technical and fast-paced sort of prog death metal, if I can even be permitted to generalize and tag a band as any sub-genre. Going from one vocalist, Trevor, to two, was effective and entertaining musically, and they clearly had a blast doing this together. Their guitarist, Wade, although a shred-meister, was pretty stoic and boring to photograph. The two vocalists, one of which was a guest, were exceptionally amusing to record on single images, as well as their eclectically dressed bassist Jordan, whom was fondly referred to as Spiderman for his tattoes. This certainly wasn't their first manitoba metal fest either- these guys have been doing it for several years, and it shows! Both their guitarists shred like madmen and their keyboardist, Matthew was also superbly entertaining to photograph. Not a small band by any stretch, as they have six members. I'm impressed by their ability to coordinate so many people to make such an awesome sound. The Despised Icon influence is obvious, and it works! I would recommend seeing Annex Theory and checking out their stuff. They have a relatively new EP out called Beneath The Skin which was physically released in December.

This time around, I thought Abhorupt played even better- not to say they played poorly at battle of the bands. They were slightly more interesting to take pictures of this time as well! Trying not to beat a dead horse with too many words, you should just come out and see them, to get an idea for their brand of technical death metal.

The most disastrous and horrifying part of my night came when the irrevocably awesome band Seventh Sin hit the stage. I was minding my own business, taking some wicked shots of their Keyboardist, Dan Klakowich, and some crowd shots when my memory card stopped agreeing with my camera! I was shocked, angry and all sorts of confused. I thought my night of photography was over, and that would not impress my "boss" Cory Thomas. So I scrambled to come up with a way to get back in the game. I couldn't secure another memory card in time to get the rest of Seventh Sin's set, which was stellar in a very 70's heavy metal influenced sort of way. This is also Shane Barron's other band, aside from Grand Master (whom I RAVE about all the time). Shane puts on a different persona as a guitarist for Seventh Sin, with different garb and movement, but all the while still just as charming as when he's nerding it up- Grand Master style! However, I must apologize greatly to Seventh Sin, because I really wanted to capture their professional essence on camera, and I couldn't do that for metal fest- so next time they play, I will make it up to them with some pro-bono photography, and play the hell out of their new material on Rock n' Roll Damnation.

It's always a blast seeing The Legion of Liquor perform, even if it's the same catchy drinking tunes every time, always starting off with Hops. Jared Weiss, whom I spoke with before, is the mastermind behind this titillating notion of a drinking and singing choir of men with some very talented musical accompaniment. The Legion are very much a crowd pleaser, and you can't help but sing along. I really, REALLY hope they get an actual album out soon, because that would just be the only thing playing at my next beer pong tournament. Oh shotgunnin'! I would also like to add that they have new shirts! I know I love mine.

Loving the Legion, clearly

The War on Music merchandise got a primo table to set up on, right next to Into Eternity's, where a very pretty young lady in a leopard print jacket and shiny black pants was working. I didn't think much of her, and of course just made short polite conversation. Little did I know, that when she got on stage and got behind one of the Into Eternity banners, that this was the Amanda Kiernan I was so eager to see and hear that night. There was no way she was much older than I was, and I went up to her saying "Hey, pretty lady. I am so excited to see you perform!" and she just glowed and had one of the nicest smiles. I know I sound like I have a crush on her, but she was just one of those remarkable people you only meet a couple of times in your life. She had an aura or energy about her, and I knew that this was going to be something extraordinary and special. Amanda fucking slayed on stage. She hit all the notes, was louder than anticipated, which was awesome, and just had all the chemistry with the rest of the band that you would see with thirty-year stage vets. Amanda had been a part of her other band The Order of Chaos for some years, so she obviously isn't completely new to the stage.

I took some wicked pictures, and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing new beginning of Into Eternity. Although Amanda is currently listed as their touring singer, I think they would be fools not to record with her. I was told they will be, so that's even more exciting! Stu Block was quoted saying that Iced Earth is home to him now, so let the two bands move in amazing new directions, and perhaps down the road the two shall meet. And so ended night one, with new excitement in the metal community and a wonderful turnout that promises, perhaps someday, the Manitoba Metal Fest will be something to stop into Winnipeg for! Like, actual tourism! Thanks again to Cory Thomas, who perpetually kicks ass by drumming and bringing amazing bands to this frozen shithole.

ALL of the First night's pics can now be viewed here!

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