Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Human Abstract, iwrestledabearonce, Vanna and Set Fire to Athens

Friday March 22, 2009
Marquis Theatre, Denver, Co

Due to a previously failed attempt to see The Human Abstract live (a story for another day), and the fact that the Marquis is my favorite venue in Denver, I was fucking stoked for this show. Unfortunately, we missed Vanna and locals Set Fire to Athens - I told you to get used to it - and arrived midway through the set of iwrestledabearonce. As the good little music fan should, I researched the opening acts via (cough) myspace. Their name is not the only thing that sounded like a joke. The tracks were just noise. And that's exactly what it sounded like live. Until we got closer.

The music was heavily bass driven, with finger-tapping guitar, power stances, and menacing, vile screaming interchanged with harmonious vocals. Krysta Cameron, who Jon and I dubbed metal Bjork, has a set of vocal chords that are otherworldly. Have a listen and form your own opinion. IWABO successfully turned the show into a metal dance party, using what appeared to be a signature move, combining skanking with a jig (?). Somewhere between the genre-bending music, all-bitch-mosh-pit, and toupes thrown onstage, I became addicted.

I strategically staked out my favorite and best seat in the house for The Human Abstract -behind the speakers. You can see everything since you're practically on the stage. Plus the 14 year-old over-singing the wrong lyrics is behind some other poor fool. We had a perfect view of guitarist Dean Herrera just in time for his dual guitar-sweeping solo with Andrew Tapley on Nocturn's "Mea Culpa". Usually a strobe-light-hater, I now realize they are a necessity for rad metal guitarists with long dreads who like to shred. I cannot believe I didn't bring my camera.

Since this is THA's first tour headlining, they have the opportunity to play songs they've never performed live, mostly off their new album Midheaven. "A Violent Strike" was one of them. This nearly seven minute song was the highlight of the show for me. Along with Tapley pouring sweat onto the crowd during "Breathing Life into Devices". And the high school kid in the front row who knew the entire drum track of every song. I guess it was all pretty sweet.

Toward the end of the set, I heard rumor of another dance party brewing behind me. Members of IWABO stormed the stage, along with everyone in the crowd. Metal dance party, round two. Somehow, Harrera and vocalist Nathan Ells pulled off some onstage stage diving. It was an intense conclusion to a high-energy, crowd-pleasing show. I cannot believe I didn't bring my camera.

Like that shit? Here's more!
Protest the Hero - mathcore goddess worshipers.
Dillinger Escape Plan - IWABO's dance move should work with this.
The Fall of Troy - something from Seattle that's not indie. Kinda.
Tera Melos - instrumental mathcore.

Stay tuned, next week Rawk goes Pop! No Doubt and Paramore!