w/ Killswitch Engage, Sworn Enemy and Shadowsfall
July 15th, The Ogden Theater, Denver
I have mainly negative things to say about this concert. On the balance however, not much of it is about the bands. So let's do the good first...
Cradle Of Filth is not a band I'm intimately familiar with, to say the least. They were a band I heard about from someone on IRC and he said he thought they were alright. Hey, they at least have cool t-shirts:
Here's the back.
(T-shirts and images are (C) 2003 Cradle Of Filth)
Of course, the REALLY fun shirts were the ones with the wildly masturbating naked nun on them. But I digress...
There were hints of classical and choral in CoF's music, which is always nice. However, I couldn't hear their music real well, because the Ogden seems to have a policy of "we're going to blast the fuck out of the drums and bass, and if that means you can't hear anything else, oh well!" I've seen this tendency at the last three concerts I've gone to there (MegaDeth, Type O Negative and now CoF.) About the only time I can actually hear all the instruments is if I wear earplugs, which I think I will start doing all the time now. I went without this time, and I regret it. (Insert "too loud, too old" joke here.) So I'll need to listen to a CoF album proper before rendering an opinion. Not sure which one would be best. Their new one, "Damnation And A Day" would seem to have promise as they went to some trouble to get the Hungarian orchestra to contribute to it. Anyway, suggestions on which album are welcome, drop me a comment at the end of this entry.
There were three opening bands for CoF this evening, a fact which will be the subject of a rant shortly. But FWIW, all three of them seemed to be alright. I would say I enjoyed Shadowsfall (a Massuchusets band, fronted by a guy with dreads who reminds me vaguely of Zach De La Roche) the most of the three. They just really thrash and rock. The Ogden's sound setup doesn't detract much from them since so much of it is bass anyway. Killswitch Engage suffered from the exact same audio problems, and unfortunately I think it really hurt them. I didn't see any of Sworn Enemy's set, so I don't know what they're like.
Actually, all of the opening bands were fairly generic in terms of stage show. Maybe I'm just spoiled by having been to a GWAR concert, but four guys in tshirts with long hair jumping around on stage doesn't make for a very interesting concert. (Unless perhaps you know the songs already.) CoF at least had spooky costumes and some interesting extras (including the "big shower of sparks from a person playing with an angle grinder" trick) and flashy lighting. The opening bands, deprived of all these, had to attempt to capture my attention on sound alone. And with the Ogden's sound setup being what it is...
While I'm Ogden bashing, I should mention that the place seriously needs more ventilation. It was still in the 70's outside when I got to the theater, and inside the theater with 150 or 200 bodies crammed in, the reading on my temperature watch was 88. Are air conditioners really that expensive? I know this is Denver and not Atlanta, but christ. I was panting and sweaty as hell the whole time I was there. At least they give you free water at the bar. Kudos to them for that.
And speaking of being there a while. I really hate this practice of throwing random bands on stage before the actual featured band. I realize this is a normal thing, and practiced in every concert venue across the world, but like many things that are industry practice because of greed and marketing rather than good sense, I don't think it's a good thing just because it exists. You know, if I go to see a band, I want to see that band. I don't want to wait THREE HOURS (that's right - I got there at 7:45, CoF didn't go on until 10:44 by my watch) to see them. And this isn't a slam at any of the bands that played before CoF. If ANY other band besides my absolute favorite band in the world were to play before the scheduled band at a concert, I'd still be annoyed. Take the Type O Negative concert I went to at the Og last year - a band called "Simon Says" was playing opener. They're not a bad band, but they're not anything like TON, and I certanly didn't enjoy watching them play. It just made me impatient. And it's really rubbing a concertgoers nose in it to play three hours of opening bands before the scheduled band.
I guess I'll terminate this pointless bitch session with one last whine. There are about 6 places where you can actually see the stage when there's a crowd in the Ogden. At least one of them was off-limits to people standing. (That would be the portion of the bar floor closest to the stage.) I'm not particularly short - I'm 6' right on the nose. But I still spent at least half the concert attempting to find a spot where I could actually see the stage. (Not that it was worth bothering for the opening bands anyway...)
Frankly, the most concerts I see there, the more I'm convinced that The Ogden simply sucks as a venue. It sucks so badly I'm considering skipping the upcoming Type O Negative show on August 15th. Ask anyone who knows me - I love TON to death. If the venue is keeping me away, it must be shitty indeed. The concert this post is about only cost me $21, a pittance by modern standards, and STILL I'm seriously conflicted about seeing TON there.
Oh yeah, one last anecdote. Being as CoF is vaguely goth, there were a few people in black leather, white facepaint, etc at the show. I parked my car three blocks past the Og, along Marion St, in the parking lot of a small post office there. (Great spot - I'll be trying to get it again if I ever go back to the Ogden.) As I was walking from my just parked car back down Colfax towards the Og, I saw a couple (him: head to toe black leather and spikes, her: busty black vamp dress and white facepaint) returning briefly to their white minivan to drop off some stuff they had bought. So, for about an hour after that, I kept thinking:
"are white minivans GOTH?" and snickering to myself. Some people get so freaked out at, say, Marlyn Manson. When the truth of it is most of his fans are probably working at Burger King, asking you if you'd "like fries with that." Why, oh why, are so many people so shallow when it comes to appearances?