Running on fumes after last night’s whirlwind Golden Gods trip, it’s a wonder that in the 10 minutes I had at home between work and this show, I remembered to remove the gum and pen from my bag before embarking to The Regency Ballroom. The security situation at this place makes me laugh every time.
However, this is one of the only venues where I will photograph a show from the pit, if it’s a bill that I don’t feel compelled to have a front row spot for (going in and out of the photo pit will leave you with a less than stellar spot for the rest of the show). The lighting is generally kind, and there is enough space so that I don’t get in the way of the real photographers. So, with my souped up point and shoot in tow, I entered the venue part way into Eluveitie‘s set, and starting photographing them from the side since I’d missed the first few songs. A 7pm start time is really too early….and opener Dirge Within had to cancel due to travel issues. I was bummed out about that- I’d heard good things about them.
Eluveitie, from Switzerland, has like 100 members. They also have a lot of flutes, a violin, and a mandolin. Extreme fluting! I find folk metal very interesting, and Eluveitie really play all the parts on stage where some of the other folk metal bands use backtracks for the wind instruments and strings in a live setting. Also, the Swiss are just blessed with good genes. After snapping a few shots, I went to the back of the room to get a drink. Burton C. Bell, vocalist for Fear Factory, was standing by the bar watching the set.
I was very excited to see Amon Amarth, as I had never seen them before. Tolkien sure has inspired a lot of metal bands. After taking my pictures- where I cursed my camera for not being able to get some awesome shots that escaped me- I wandered around the venue to find the best spot for watching the show. This is when I encountered my first couple of the night making out…..WTF…..Viking metal is not romantic! Also, I saw that someone kept raising a flag….turns out it was the wrong flag. Yikes. ‘Guardians of Asgaard’ is my favorite AA song, so it was great to hear that. Since I had just seen Brendon Small the night before, and was about to see Gene Hoglan, drummer for Dethklok and Fear Factory, I was thinking about how AA is one of the bands that Dethklok is inspired by. I was really taken by what a class act AA was on stage….I love how the Scandinavian bands can deliver brutal metal in such a regal way. They dedicated a song to their bassist, who had just become a father the day before (another bassist was filling in for him). They complimented San Francisco for it’s metal scene. When they finished their set, all the members came to the front of the stage and gave out picks, drumsticks, etc. to the front row, shook people’s hands, and thanked the crowd.
Fear Factory is a bit of a nostalgia act for me. I never loved them, but they were always there as I was into industrial metal and then nu-metal…yes, I admitted that! I was a teen in the ’90s. I thought it was very bizarre that these two tours had joined together to co-headline this SF show…but we’re seeing a lot of that lately in the Bay Area….either tours are entirely skipping us or they are co-headlining shows. When the set began, I practically passed out in the photo pit due to the strobe light action + no sleep the night before + lack of food….and it was not kind to my camera, either.
The crowd was a bit smaller for Fear Factory, so after I finished shooting I stayed at the rail for most of the rest of the set. Fear Factory aren’t the prettiest band to watch, but it was good to see a full set up close after the 3 song appetizer I got at the Golden Gods awards. Bell is a good frontman, he has a signature move where he crouches down like he’s about to take off in a sprint. I like their new album, and they played quite a few songs off of it. After a while, I had to move away from the rail because a fan was blowing in my face the entire time and it was annoying, but probably not as annoying as my hair blowing in the face of the guy behind me. Then I encountered not one but two more couples making out…..why? Then some guy tried to talk to me and I could not understand what he was saying and he got really annoyed by this….look dude, don’t try to talk to me during a set. Blast beats do not make for good conversation background, and plus, I’m watching the show.
I left right before the last song, ‘Replica’, ended, and the warmish weather had become icy cold……Viking weather…..industrial weather…..now it all made sense.