Reviews – Live

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.

Alcest/ Monarque/ Thantifaxath @ Hard Luck Bar, Toronto ON, April 23, 2010

For the first time in a great many shows, I actually sat down during a performance. I sat not because I was bored, not even because I was tired. I sat because the energy it took to operate my legs felt like energy I could be directing towards my ears. I sat on a table top with my eyes closed, rocking back and forth unconsciously, entirely consumed.

Natalie Zed reviews the April 23rd Toronto debut of France’s Alcest. Also sharing the bill were Quebec black metallers Monarque and Thantifaxath.

Amon Amarth/Eluveitie/Holy Grail @ Odeon, Saskatoon, SK, April 16, 2010

As opposed to the combination of muscle and nuance that Eluveitie excels at live, Amon Amarth is always strictly about brute force. No frills at all, just five guys taking the stage and hammering out an hour and a half’s worth of rousing tunes. Led by the gregarious, downright jolly Johan Hegg, the band hunkered down and regaled the hot, sweaty crowd with a considerably longer set than their first North American tour, which was certainly a nice touch.