MDF XII: Saturday, May 24, 2014
After a bit of a delay, I offer you a few thoughts on the last day of Maryland Deathfest 2014.
After a morning spent record shopping and a failed attempt to brunch at what turned out to be a rather busy eatery called Jack & Zach’s, I sent Wills and Walschots off to begin their festing without me.
I had good intentions, originally, of making it out to see Windhand, and when that didn’t pan out, then Graves at Sea. It ended up that Misery Index became my highlight of the afternoon and were much deserving of that honour (i.e. they sounded great).
Later on, Gorguts provided the official kick-off to our final MDF evening, performing as expertly and magically as I have come to expect. This is the first time I’ve seen Luc Lemay positioned at centre stage, which was oddly disappointing – I enjoy the slight eccentricity of his fronting the band from the sidelines. But he warmed to his place in the spotlight, interacting with the crowd increasingly more so and very appreciatively as the band’s set progressed.
After giving Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats our full attention for a song or two we wandered off to listen at a distance (and conserve our strength). I find their vibe and overall sound appealing, but I just can’t get into that particular acid rock vocal style, so I can’t say I was brokenhearted to be taking a semi-break at that point.
After some caloric recharging (though by this time in the fest the vegan options were sold out/limited) we were ready for some Candlemass. They proclaimed their set would favour old material and though I felt a bit ripped off of Death Magic Doom tracks (I love that record), the songs seemed well chosen, right through to crowd-pleasing finale, “Solitude.” And there was indeed a pretty good crowd gathered for their performance – perhaps the largest we’d seen all weekend.
I was surprised how many people wandered off after Candlemass, making the My Dying Bride audience relatively sparse. We spent one song very close to the stage and just off to the side but both the sound and the view were better a little further back and (not surprisingly) more in line with the sound board. Every few minutes though (or so it seemed for the next little while) I kept inching my way toward the stage again, primarily to distance myself from the distracting conversations taking place around me.
As I hinted in an earlier post, as much as I enjoy Maryland Deathfest as a whole, this year was for me about one single band, and everything else good just qualified as an added bonus. When My Dying Bride toured North America with Dio back in 1997, I missed seeing them in Toronto and in London, Ontario, and I’ve been kicking myself for that ever since. Seeing them now felt like closing a circuit, and as they performed “The Cry of Mankind” I was almost ready to finally let go of those years of musical regret. Almost.
Bands continued to perform at the Soundstage and Ram’s Head until later in the night. But when My Dying Bride was done (and done completely – we stayed till the final moment) this year’s MDF was over for us as well. Thanks to all of you who helped make it an excellent weekend and to those of you following along from afar.
Stay tuned for more photos and reviews to come!