Well, i got to check out a metal show while on vacation in Minnesota with my boy Alan. This was quite a lineup, Haste the Day and Norma Jean, two heavyweights of the Christian metalcore scene along with Oh Sleeper, theShowdown and My Children My Bride. It was an incredible night, all of the bands played really well, and the venue, Station 4 in St Paul, was great.
We arrived just in time to catch Oh Sleeper's short 5 song set, but it was amazing. These guys are so good, i'm surprised they don't have more of a following. Anyway they totally rocked and the crowd was really into them, it was the first thing i noticed about the Minnesota scene, everyone was packed in front of the stage and rocking out even for the opening band, it was pretty cool. Oh Sleeper opened with Charlatan's Host, followed by Building the Nations and then We Are The Archers. They played We Will Welcome the Reaping and then closed with Vices Like Vipers which everyone in the crowd seemed to know. I wish they would have played Siren's Song, but maybe next time.
Next up was My Children My Bride, i'm not really impressed by them so Alan and I headed over to Quizno's for some food, i don't think we missed much.
Next up was the Showdown. These guys were awesome, i've been listening to them for awhile and i haven't figured out if i actually like the music, or if i just like the novelty of an 80's metal christian band. They have an old-school sound, guitar solo's and heavy vocals, and the singer looks like he hasn't left the basement since 1987. They all have super-long hair which was used for synchronized head-banging and dryer-cycle hair swinging. The lead singer donned a tank top and said things like "This is for all you thrashers out there" and "keep it real, keep it rude. Heavy metal is for life". They were very impressive musically, especially for only having one guitarist, and they had everyone in the place rocking out and doing a motion that could be described as "tickling a baby"; basically put your hands out in front of you and make the motion like you're tickling a baby, now raise those fingers high in the air and now you're summoning the guitar soloing gods.
Speaking of guitars, the guitarist had a V-shaped guitar that had a Confederate flag on it, it was hilarious. Basically just think of every bad stereotype you think of then you think of 80's metal and these guys were it, and it rocked. The songs i recognized were Backbreaker, The Hammer of the Gods, and I Am Vengeance.
After that it was Haste the Day. I've seen these guys 3 times now and each time something is up with the sound/volume. The overall sound was at least 25% less than the Showdown. It was so quiet in fact that i ventured to the front of stage, where it was still quiet. Nonetheless it was still a great set, i just wish it was loud enough to sing/scream along. They played most of the usual songs, with 68 and Mad Man from the new album. They played White Collar, Pressure the Hinges, Minor Prophets, Walk On, Blue 42, American Love and finally, When Everything Falls. The crowd response was great, especially on the sing-alongs parts of American Love and When Everything Falls.
Last up was the "almighty" Norma Jean. I don't really listen to these guys much, so i was open to being convinced of their "almighty" title. They delivered! They came out on the stage to some movie clip, all the lights were off , and you could just feel the energy in the room. I would describe their live show as sensory overload, lights on the stage were flashing the whole time and the volume was easily the loudest thing i've ever heard, ever. It was so loud in fact, that i moved from the main floor to the bar, i was starting to get sick from the volume. From the bar though i could really hear the music and actually get a feel for Norma Jean since i didn't know their songs. They were awesome, 2-3 guitars, broken bass pedals, guest vocals from My Children My Bride and Haste the Day, a kid with a walker in the most-pit, and best of all, they got the plug pulled on them! The lead singer climbed the speaker-stack during the encore, Memphis Laid to Waste, and the security guys turned the power off. It was awesome, the drummer kept playing but you couldn't hear anything else.
Alan, a big fan of Norma Jean, said the show was pretty good, nothing amazing though. He said they played quite a few songs from the newest album, the Anti-mother, and listed off their set including Shotgun Message, Robots 3 Humans 0, Blueprints For Future Homes, Songs Sound Much Sadder, Birth of the Anti-Mother and quite a few others. I have been listening to these guys a lot more since the show, i'm converted!
Anyway, this was a great night, the venue Station 4 was awesome, very intimate and very loud. The crowd was great, summoning the guitar gods and climbing the walls and going crazy. All of the bands played very well, and the show, which started at 530p was over by by 945p which is very early by my standards, but since Alan got lost on the way home we needed the extra time!
here's a playlist of each of the bands that played, and their best song live so check them out: