Reviews – Live

Hypocrisy/ Scar Symmetry/ Blackguard @ The Wreckroom, Toronto ON, May 29 2010

It was shortly after 8:00 pm when Hypocrisy made their significant entrance; the excitement in the room was palpable when they strode onto the stage, lit vaguely by dim blue light and partially obscured by theatrical smoke. I can only describe their set as an all-out assault. While the sun might have still been impudently shining outside of the Wreckroom, inside the audience was completely consumed by Hypocrisy’s blistering intensity.

Natalie Zed reviews the May 29th Toronto performance by Hypocrisy, Scar Symmetry and Blackguard. Live photos by Adam Wills

Slough Feg/ Funeral Circle @ Red Room, Vancouver BC, May 29 2010

The inveterate Slough Feg are one of those bands that pulls it off so well live that they’re able to sound identical to what they do on tape, which I found pretty impressive considering how ornate their songs can get. Personally, I was there to hear songs from their latest, Ape Uprising!, and they did not disappoint, throwing the excellent “Simian Manifesto” into their set early on. But as they’re touring for their 20th anniversary, the band threw loads of gems into their set. It was great to hear older tracks like “Tiger! Tiger!”, “The Final Gambit” and “Hiberno-Latin Invasion” live. And seeing Mike Scalzi and Angelo Tringali work their guitar magic, playing off each other is especially jaw-dropping – they recall the classic Gorham/Robertson harmony work in Thin Lizzy.

Portal/ Krallice/ Bloody Panda @ Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY May 24, 2010

The energy that Portal projected, both in their music and their sheer physical presence, was overwhelming. Every gesture that The Curator made was impossibly intense. I spent the entire set staring wildly up at the band, certain that any moment something Very Bad was going to happen. They’re masters at wielding this carefully managed sense of dread. Portal is aptly named; when they were on stage, reality felt somehow thinner than it was before.

Natalie Zed reviews the May 24th performance by Portal, Krallice and Bloody Panda at Buffalo, NY’s Mohawk Place. Concert photography by Adam Wills.

16 Volt/ Chemlab/ Left Spine Down @ Neu+ral, Toronto, ON, May 10, 2010

16 Volt is the project of Eric Powell. The tour included KMFDM’s Steve White. For a group that included some borrowed musicians due to the inability for some of the regular players to cross the border, the sound was quite cohesive. While Powell may not be personable with the crowd as Louche he still knew how to engage the audience in what he was doing. It does help to be playing well written songs that people couldn’t help but start moving along too.

3 Inches of Blood/ Goatwhore/ Burning the Day @ Mod Club, Toronto ON, May 13, 2010

There is something solid, straightforward, almost wholesome about 3 Inches of Blood’s brand of traditional heavy metal that is particularly satisfying. Cam Pipes sang about orcs and hammers while unleashing a series of throaty old-school wails—what was there not to love?

Natalie Zed reviews the May 13th Toronto performance by 3 Inches of Blood and Goatwhore at the Mod Club

Porcupine Tree @ Sound Academy, Toronto, ON, May 8, 2010

Were this simply an auditory barrage (which I am more than familiar with), I might have had more resistance. But it was much more than that. This show was a carefully orchestrated, beautifully curated performance. The video accompaniment interesting and tasteful, and varied enough that I was never able to settle fully into it or anticipate what was coming next…

Natalie Zed reviews the Saturday, May 8th performance by UK prog rock veterans Porcupine Tree at Toronto’s Sound Academy. Concert photography by Adam Wills.

Týr/ Crimson Shadows/ Bolero @ Sneaky Dee’s, Toronto, ON, April 30, 2010

Everything else fell away, however, when TÝR took the stage. I seemed as though I had handed the band a checklist of everything I hoped to see in their performance, and they generously met every request. They played “Hail to the Hammer,” “Hold The Heathen Hammer High,” and “Sinklars Visa;” Heri and Terji performed shirtless; they took long swigs from a bottle of rum throughout the performance.