AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR @ DAYS OF DARKNESS: Day One, October 28, 2017

Day One had a very varied lineup, with the likes of 90’s sludge outfit Cavity, 70’s rock heroes Captain Beyond, 80’s underground legends Manilla Road and the timeless Neurosis sharing the stage with a rapper and three techno acts. I’m not even making this up!

First up we had Alms, a local Baltimore band you could probably file under “Occult Doom.” Featuring keyboards as well as dual male/female lead vocals, they seem to meet all the criteria for a record contract with Rise Above…although it appears they only have a two-song demo available at the moment.

I only got to see Crypt Sermon play a couple songs at Psycho Las Vegas last year, but they left enough of an impression that I was looking forward to this set. These guys play epic traditional doom, with a singer who kinda looks like Dio, and has the pipes to match! Due to their speedy stage setup, they even managed to squeeze in an extra song, much to the dismay of no one.

Crypt Sermon was such a tough act to follow that I actually skipped the next three bands–Computer Magic (computerized synth music), Dalek (a rapper I recently saw open for Cult of Luna) and Dance with the Dead (MetalSucks says their music “falls firmly on the dance/electronica side of the synthwave spectrum“). Sounds like a good time to head over to Shake Shack!

But I made it back in time to see Cavity. These reunited Florida sludgesters put out a comeback record earlier this year, and their set was a mix between drawn-out doomy tunes and raw 90’s sludge hatred. Not a bad way to spend 45 minutes!

Elder didn’t play quite as long as they did a couple weeks ago in Toronto, but even with a 45-minute supporting set, they still killed it!

Now, I might have missed the first two techno acts of the evening, but with Perturbator sandwiched between Elder and Captain Beyond, I couldn’t really go anywhere. Man, it felt like I was at Digital Dreams fest or something. You know the meme of the DJ guy that says “Come See My Laptop Live” — this set was 50 minutes of that!

I hate to say it, but Captain Beyond was a bit of a shitshow, too. The original band was a four-piece, but for this event, they brought seven musicians, including three guitars and not one, but two additional percussionists. Setting up and sound-checking this monstrosity took nearly 45 minutes, at which point they were told to cut their set in half. Fortunately, nobody pulled the plug and they played for roughly their fully allotted time (47 minutes or so), but even still, their soundcheck was about as long as the performance itself.

Don’t get me wrong, the three-guitar lineup sounded massive, longtime drummer Bobby Caldwell was a force behind the kit, and I totally went nuts for “Mesmerization Eclipse“–but the bongos and the congas were not worth the effort they took to set up!

Needs more cowbell? NOPE!

It was great to see living legend Mark Shelton and Manilla Road live. Their no-frills set got the moshpit moving with some classic, old-school metal riffs and chant-along choruses. There’s another band off my bucket list!

At this point, Neurosis needs no introduction. They pretty much played the same set as their August tour with Converge, dropping one song (“At the End of the Road”) due to time constraints. But I dunno if it was because the crowd was extra amped up, or I was getting a little loopy at this point (they didn’t end till almost 2 am), but I think this set sounded even more crushing than the one they played in Toronto earlier this year!

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.