Monday, December 08, 2008

Misery Signals, The Ghost Inside, Confide, and Bring Me the Horizon

It seems to be a recurring problem here in Minnesota that weekday shows start way too early for people to get to the venue. I suppose the blame can be laid on the fact that almost all hardcore and metal shows in the Twin Cities area are all ages and there’s a curfew in place that forces shows to get done by 9:00 pm, but it doesn’t change the frustration factor any for those of us who are no longer ‘tweens or in college and have to put up with an 8-5 job. Thankfully I was able to get my ass out of work quick enough to get from downtown Minneapolis to Station 4 in St. Paul so that I only missed the first couple of songs by opening band Confide.

Even though I was getting to the venue at 6:00 pm, busloads of kids had already made their way to the show. The venue was packed… well, except for the 21+ bar section where there was all of 10-15 people, showing just exactly what the demographics of the crowd were. Lots of the kids up in the front were really getting into Confide and I could totally see why – they sounded strikingly similar to current metalcore heavyweights Underoath. On disc, the comparison doesn’t come across as strongly, but live it is nearly unmistakable. The combination of very overtly Christian lyrics and the sing/scream dynamic kids go nutty for today screamed trend-hopping. The kids dug it, though, so more power to the band for making a connection.

After a very quick set change, The Ghost Inside came out and tore it up. Their stage presence was the strongest off all of the evening’s bands. The only rival to them was the individual performance that Karl Schuback would later give. The Ghost Inside met my expectations quite handily. Considering they play a very breakdown heavy band of metalcore, the crowd had plenty of opportunities to circle pit and spin-kick themselves silly. Even though vocalist Vigil had a cold and wasn’t feeling well, you sure couldn’t tell as he stomped across the stage spitting venom and screaming his lungs out, even taking a few impromptu dives into the crowd looking to drive the energy of the place even higher. In the 25 minutes they were on stage, they kept it going full force.

Following another quick set change, the always amazing Misery Signals came out to a delighted crowd. The majority of the material they played was off of Controller, but they did manage to toss in “Anchor” and “The Failsafe” off of Mirrors, both eliciting a huge response from the crowd. As I mentioned before, Karl was undeniably commanding on stage. With the build to back up his gruff vocals, the intimidation factor was pretty high. Backing him up, the rest of the band was flawless. If you thought Misery Signals sounded good on disc, hearing them perform live is an audible treat. The vast majority of the set simply bled aggression. The ending of “Labyinthian” nearly ripped the venue apart, while “Reset” simply crushed in your ear drums. We also can’t forget some of the mellower moments that served to show the band’s diversity, such as Karl and the band’s venture into melody in “A Certain Death” and the closing moments of “Parallels”. There’s a reason this band will be on so many people’s top 10 lists – they’re just that good. It’s just a shame they got their set shortened so that Bring Me the Horizon could get their full set in before curfew. I could have simply listened to Misery Signals play the rest of the night.

Unlike the other set changes, it took ages for everything to get set up for Bring Me the Horizon. I’m guessing it took so long because instead of BMTH setting up their own gear, they had one roadie setting everything up and doing the sound check while the band stood back stage dicking around. So they think they’re rock stars already, eh? What’s even crazier is that a healthy portion of the kids in the crowd seemed to think BMTH are the rock stars they wished they were. You have to give Epitaph props for promoting the hell out of BMTH and getting people into them. Once they finally did take the stage, they got the crowd chanting as they broke into a sloppy rendition of their “Sleep is for the weak…” song. In comparison to the three other bands on the bill, BMTH were very loose in their playing. After a couple of songs they bantered with the crowd about getting drunk, fucking, and were overly crass just because, which simply isn’t appealing to me. Maybe it’s because I’m in my late 20’s and more mature now, but promoting and fostering such negativity in a crowd full of kids isn’t something I tend to enjoy… so I left. I couldn’t take it. They were just that annoying and bad, which is unfortunate considering they were headlining and they’ve had so much promotion put behind them.

In the end, the show was definitely worth going to and I would sincerely suggest you see The Ghost Inside, Misery Signals, and (to an extent) Confide. They were all very good. On the other hand, I’d urge you to avoid Bring Me the Horizon if at all humanly possible. Seriously, stay away.

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