In Flames, Evergrey, <strike>Nevermore,</strike> Throwdown – 5/13/06

It starting seem that I’m destined to fail every time I try to see Nevermore live. The first failure was due to a misinterpretation of the stage schedule at Gigantour, but this time I was where I should have been! Well, apparently their singer, Warrel Dane, either wasn’t able to perform, or wasn’t even in the place. I couldn’t make out what they said over the PA from where we were standing. In either case, I was pissed. They were the band I was looking forward to in this show, and they ditched. Lame.

Evergrey played first, much to our surprise. I would have placed them just before the headliner in that lineup, but I don’t plan concerts. They might have been doing a rotating opener thing too, who knows. Since they were the first opener, their set was pretty short. I think they may have only been able to play 6 or 7 songs. They played some older ones, such as Blinded, She Speaks to the Dead, A Touch of Blessing, and maybe another one. They also played a couple songs off their new album, which I have yet to acquire. They sounded good – tight, clean, and in control. The volume on the keyboards was a little high, and it overshadowed the guitars in a lot of the verses, which is a drag. Both of Evergrey’s guitarists can really shred, so they should always be front and center in my book. Overall, they were solid, even with the short set. Grade: B+

Nevermore… yah. After a 30-minute stage change, they didn’t play. Grade: F-

The next band up was Throwdown. I saw them once before when they opened for Fear Factory, and they were pretty much what I remembered. They have a testosterone-laden vibe that’s comparable to Pantera’s “Far Beyond Driven” and “Vulgar Display of Power” albums, but they don’t have the powerhouse on guitar that was Dimebag Darrel. I can’t say that I was overly impressed with these guys, but at the same time, this music would be good to listen to if you were pissed off, or as workout music or something similar. The only member that was really impressive was the drummer. Jon commented that he should find some other bandmates to play with, because he was by far the most talented in the group. I agree. Since they had extra time to play due to Nevermore’s absence, they threw in a few cover songs to extend their set a bit. They played “Roots, Bloody Roots” by Sepultura, and they sounded pretty good at it. That’s not saying that much though, because it’s a damn easy song to play. The other song they played was “A New Level” by Pantera. They played it in tribute to Dimebag, who was murdered on-stage about a year and a half ago. Jon and I both wondered how well they would pull it off. They did fine for the first part, which is just heavy rhythm. They cut the song off and went into one of their songs at the point in the song where the solo is played, which is probably a good thing. We could forsee nothing but a guitar abomination in the future if that guitarist tried to play a Dimebag solo. Overall, they weren’t horrible, but not really my style. Grade: B-

In Flames headlined the show, and they were pretty good. I only have three of their albums, and my lack of knowledge about their catalog was really apparent. They played a good number of songs, probably in the 14-18 range, and I only recognized four of five of them. It didn’t really matter though. They rocked out, no two ways about it. Their set was energetic, and the crowd matched it. The equalization on the guitars really bothered both Jon and myself, however. Both guitars seemed to be exceptionally mid-heavy, and their leads were almost inaudible during the first half of their set. The sound guys seemed to balance it out a little in the second half, but the treble was still too low. In Flames sports two very talented guitarists, and to barely be able to hear them flexing their muscles is a travesty. Overall, their show was quite good, and it will probably inspire me to go buy a few more of their CDs to fill in the gaps in my collection. Grade: A-

Although In Flames and Evergrey were good, I would still consider this show a disappointment. Nevermore was the band I wanted to see most, and they were AWOL. I was also disappointed with the order in which the bands played. Throwdown should never have a higher billing than Nevermore or Evergrey. I can see Nevermore or Evergrey competing for or rotating through the second and third opener spots, but neither one should be playing first opener. Had they played according to my ideal arrangement, Evergrey could have an extended set, which would have been great. I did have one cool experience though. About half way through the In Flames set, Tom, Henrik, and Jonas from Evergrey came out into the crowd where Jon and I were standing, toward the back. I partook in a little hero worship and shook Tom’s hand, and thanked him for a good set. It’s pretty insignificant in the whole scheme of things, but it was neat nonetheless. For the record, Tom is not 6’6″-plus like Jon and I had guessed the first time we saw Evergrey, but he is 6’3″ or 6’4″. I guess the stage adds a few inches.

Edit: I just came across this news post, which states that the reason Warrel Dane couldn’t perform was an unspecified illness. I suppose that’s more acceptable than just not being there, but it’s still frustrating.

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