Things were a lot different when I started this blog eight years ago. Wow. That just seems crazy to type out. I have been doing this for eight years and, like it or not, there’s no end in sight for me. Back then, I was firmly planted in the local metal scene. Nowadays I find myself a bit more all over the place but, with every indie-pop or arena show that I cover, my heart longs for the feeling I used to get from those local metal shows that really catapulted me into this life.
As soon as I walked into Amsterdam Bar & Hall in Saint Paul on Saturday night, things just felt right. I was instantly surrounded by familiar faces that I haven’t seen since the last local metal show I covered. Of course I got some flack for “selling out” and going “big time” but it was all in good fun and it was truly just great to see some of the people that have been with me since day one of this venture. The show started ridiculously early so I didn’t have much time to socialize with people right when I got there but all it took was a nod from familiar faces for me to feel all of the warm and fuzzies inside.
Kicking the night off was Agony Reigns. Out of the six bands that graced the stage on Saturday, these kids were one of my favorites. Can I even call them kids anymore? I remember when this band first started. I fell in love with them instantly but they were young– super young– still in high school young. As mentioned, time has passed and although Agony Reigns’ sound has changed with that time, the passion that they put on display while on a stage has not changed. Hearing how far this band has come on Saturday night was one of my favorite parts of the massive line-up. They have stayed trued to their trashy metal sound but have incorporated more technicalities throughout their songs and have truly come into their own strength when it comes to the vocals. Agony Reigns aren’t those young kids anymore and I know that but I still like to think of them as the babies of the scene and seeing my babies all grown up on Saturday was a great way to start my night.
Following Agony Reigns was Duluth based Torment. Staying in line with the rest of the night, Torment gave the audience nothing short of brutality. From the aggressive music to the way that the vocalist interacted with the audience, there was just something so intense and aggressive about their set. Sets were quick on Saturday night and my urge to socialize with people I hadn’t seen in years was strong which made my note taking fall to the wayside. Although I don’t have any major life-changing notes from Torment’s set, I do know that there were parts that were impossible to talk through solely because I found their music and overall presence so mesmerizing. I don’t know what they are putting in the water up in Duluth but if Torment is anything like the scene up there, I may have to make more visits to the northland this summer.
WASTE was up next and is one of the many bands trying to put the Twin Cities metal scene back on the map the way it was before COVID (and other unfortunate events in the local scene that I won’t bore you with) destroyed everything. Like all of the other bands, WASTE had an undeniable sense of power to their set both musically and presence-wise. Although their presence was ever so slightly less aggressive than that of Torment, their music was just as angsty and angry. WASTE will be making their way to the UK in September for the Fall in the Brawl Festival and I truly think that this (among other things that they have coming up) will make them a staple in the metal world.
The only unfamiliar name on the bill for Saturday night was Weeping Wound but, being me, I didn’t take the time to check them out. This is not a dig on them but more the way I work. When I don’t know about a band prior to a show, I would rather not have any opinion on them before I see them perform so I just don’t look them up. As soon as they took the stage, I regretted that. Weeping Wound is a metal band from Florida. They kicked off their set explaining that everyone should get closer to the stage because “we aren’t a moshing band– we are more of a stand there and listen to band”. Although I feel like they sold themselves short with that statement, I instantly fell head over heels for their sound. The attention to detail from all of their members was apparent. Every note, as brutal as they came, was played with passion and intention creating a super creative atmosphere that I wasn’t quite expecting from my Saturday night. I’m not sure how they got hooked up with this tour but I hope to see them more often. There was just something so real and different about Weeping Wound that it left me with a lot of questions and intrigue.
In Search of Solace is a band that I have written a lot about. They have been a staple in the local scene for years and, like the headliner of the night, quickly became a personal favorite of mine. It felt like I had uncovered a lost treasure as they played through their set. I remember there was a time when I felt like I was watching them perform multiple times a month and I honestly got a bit jaded about it. Now that some time has passed since the last time I’ve seen them perform, I found myself completely captivated by their energy. Another straight-up solid metal band, ISOS hasn’t really changed much over the years and that was a welcome sound for the hopeless nostalgia-seeker side of me.
All of the previously mentioned bands were amazing but I had picked this show over the million and twelve other shows happening in town on Saturday night due to the headlining act- By The Thousands. I don’t know how to say this without sounding weird or whatever but these guys are my boys. Much like some of the people in the audience, they have been with this blog since day one. They have been avid supporters of what I’m doing and I feel like I wouldn’t have made it as far as I have with this blog had it not been for this band in particular. Beyond my personal feelings, BTT is just one of those bands that is truly putting the local scene on the map. They are currently on a little tour throughout the midwest and every picture I see from the tour shows packed venues losing their minds to their music.
If you know me or have been reading this blog, you know that although I love to go to metal shows, it’s not my go to as far as my daily listening goes. This means that I haven’t really stayed up to date on what BTT has been up to. Sure, I know some of their old hits that are stuck in my head just from years of seeing them as much as I can but that’s about it. As they played through songs both new and old on Saturday night, I couldn’t help but get lost in the evolution of this band. Sure, to an untrained ear, every song sounded the same but I could hear more intricate guitar work and more complicated drum patterns in their newer material which was all I needed to hear in order to know that, although years have passed, this band is not giving up and they will continue to move up the ladder until they conquer the world (or that’s what I hope for them at least).
It’s been awhile since I have done an epic metal show like this. I’ve gotten comfortable with my two to three band shows that start later in the evening instead of at the ripe time of 5 PM. By the end of Saturday night, my feet and back were killing me and my ears could really use a break from the brutality that they had been through over the past four-and-a-half hours. Even with that, I am so glad I chose to spend my Saturday night at Amsterdam Bar & Hall with “the homies” as my buddy Dane would put it. There was something so powerful and nostalgic about it that none of you would ever understand but that I will never forget.
Venue: Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Sausage Fest Meter: 16 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd: 27
Crowd Surfers: 0
Stage Divers: 0
Mosh-Ability: 9 out of 10 (but, honestly, the crowd kind of sucked)
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me: $0
Spotted Flying Through the Air: Nothing
Pukers: None Spotted
Idiots Taken Out By Security: 0
How Irritated I Was With Audience: 0 out of 10
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember):
Agony Reigns – 7
Torment – 0
WASTE – 0
Bleeding Wound – 0
In Search of Solace – 7
By The Thousands – 13
Celebrity Sightings: None
Overall Score: 8.7 out of 10
Show on Deck: Daisy The Great / Olive Klug
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