Ever Been Surprised by a Support Band?

Posted: June 21, 2011 in Bands, Live Shows
Tags: , , ,

Just a random thought I had on the way to work this morning whilst listening to ‘In Dreams’ by After the Burial, but have you ever come across a band at a gig that you’ve never heard anything by that have truly blown you away?

Generally, I like to know something by the bands I’m going to see before I can enjoy watching them.  Sometimes, and in hindsight stupidly, I’ve neglected to watch a support band at a gig because I didn’t know them (and probably because Jim said they were amazing and we don’t always agree) and have sat at the bar and missed bands the calibre of Protest the Hero and Whitechapel.  Silly me!

Anywhoo, I have found myself at a few gigs over the years where I’ve been utterly stunned into laughter by an unexpected gem of a band.  I can think of three occurrences that spring to mind.  One I’ve already mentioned on here before, so I’ll keep that one brief…

First up, was waaaaaaay back in the day. Anyone familiar with Canadian all-girl group ‘Kittie’?  Well, I went to watch them.  Didn’t have a ticket and it was sold out so I took a chance and headed to Manchester to see if I could get one off a tout.  Robbing bastard touts wanted £50 for a ticket which I was not willing to pay for a £12 gig!  So, I thought I’d try one more avenue.

I headed to the back of the venue to see if I could get my stuff signed, and lo and behold, Morgan Lander of Kittie was walking to the bus.  Jackpot.  She kindly signed all my bits n bobs, CD’s, singles et al and said “enjoy the show” to which I replied “Not coming. Couldn’t get a ticket!”.  In a move of pure genius, she got me added to the guest list!  Oh yeah!  Bingo!  I’m in.

Pretty sure Sugarcoma were supporting on that show too, but don’t quote me on that.  However, the band that made this night so damn good were about to grace the stage.  I’d heard of them, but nothing by them. They were an unknown entity on this night out, so coke in hand (I was driving) I settled in to watch the show. …and the band was ‘Shadows Fall’.

Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall

They hit the stage hard with a barrage of fast, technical wizardry and thrash-esque riffage that put me in mind of Slayer and early Metallica in parts.  They were amazing.  Thinking back, they were probably the first band of this new breed of metalcore type band that I witnessed, leading to a love of bands like Unearth, Parkway Drive, Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying and more…

I pretty much stood there laughing to myself (I was on my own) as they blasted through some amazing sounding songs with great music and vocals. Topped off by the 6-foot dreadlock windmilling by frontman Brian Fair, Shadows Fall made the ever growing list of bands I needed to hear more of!  Needless to say I nipped to the merch stall after the show and got a copy of ‘Fear Will Drag You Down’ and chatted with the band (except Fair – his autograph still eludes my CD cover, even though I have met him twice since!)

The second band that did this (and the reason for me writing this) were ‘After the Burial’.  I was off to see Caliban with Jim and Ross and supporting were After the Burial, a band I’d never heard of.  Pretty sure I MySpace checked ‘em and thought they sounded ok, but couldn’t remember the song I heard or what they were like.

So we got to the gig and watched the opening act, then on they came.  The stage was dark and then they kicked in.  Silhouettes of two guitarists with their back to the crowd and their guitars behind their heads opened the show and blazed into perfect technical shreddery of their opening song, which I think was ‘Berzerker’!  They nailed some awesome guitar playing – sweeps, the works – from the back of their heads!!!

A brilliant show of skills and some fantastic tunes came from the stage. The only off-putting thing was the god awful illuminous colours of their guitars!! Really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them again very soon supporting Suicide Silence along with All Shall Perish.  A beast of a line-up, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Now, here’s where I’ve done that thing where I don’t pay attention to a band only to find they’re actually fantastic and I really like them.  Also on that Caliban line-up are the third band in this story.  A band who were so heavy and bass-pulse destructive that they left me in fits of laughter at the ‘Never Say Die’ Tour in 2010.  Emmure.

Yes, I didn’t pay attention to Emmure, and if I did, they sounded nothing like they did that day at Never Say Die.  I did a full blog about that gig if you wanna know exactly what I thought, but needless to say, I thought they were pretty damn special.  I laughed through their set.  They were immense and aided a thoroughly good night out and have since added a host of great tunes to my iPod!

Have a think.  Pretty sure we all come across a band we don’t know who just stick in the mind as a “fucking hell, these are ace!” band.

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