First concert of the year and it’s an Amon Amarth show at the Classic Grand in Glasgow, Scotland. That seems like a perfectly respectable way to start 2015. The day itself started by drinking mead out of a horn, because when you’re a walking stereotype you might as well go all the way, then it was off to interview the second of the nights support acts, Huntress (there will be a link here when that’s online).
Post interview there was just enough time to check the merch stand and come away with yet another t-shirt before the first band of the night took to the stage. While they didn’t have the full crowd, Savage Messiah certainly played as if they were in front of a capacity crowd. Those who had made it into the venue by this point reacted positively to this energy and I’d be surprised if they didn’t end the night with a few more fans on Facebook.
After a short break it was the turn of Huntress. By now the venue was much more packed out and the drink was flowing at the bar meaning the Glasgow crowd was starting to turn into a proper Glasgow crowd. While some support bands struggle with sound issue in clubs (and in general), Huntress managed to avoid the curse. Front-woman Jill Janus has a surprisingly powerful range that managed to lift her above the rest of the mix while the rest of the bands blend of heavy metal with “doomy” elements had enough treble to stop it becoming a muddy mess. Like Savage Messiah, some people might not have known them going in, but they left fans.
Eventually the lights went down for Amon Amarth’s intro music. Due to this being a club tour rather than bigger venues or festivals, there was no longship drum riser, but everyone made their peace with that fairly shortly. Earlier in the tour Johan Hegg’s voice failed him briefly and with him singing this style of music, some were worried it would go again. The fears were thankfully unfounded and he took to the stage looking as beardy as ever, sounding as monstrous as ever
The overall sound wasn’t bad. Some of the clubs in Glasgow struggle to get a decent sound sometimes but everything seemed to sound okay. Granted it’s death metal so it might not be as obvious if things aren’t clear, still, if you can tell what song is being played and can hear the vocals I consider that decent sound in a club.
The setlist was heavy in later albums material, but there were plenty of classics from the history of Amon Amarth so I’m sure everyone left happy. I’ll be honest, as long as I get the “show no fear…ATTACK” segment of Cry of the Blackbirds live I’m always going to walk away happy, or limp at least. Today is an incredibly painful day to be alive.
All about the Attack. No treble.
While the audience partook in the standard walls of death and pits (the wall of death that was more of a circle for Cry of the Blackbirds was particularly painful, when the floor gets wet in the Classic it becomes an ice rink), alcohol and silliness eventually won over. The pit became a conga line for Pursuit of Vikings while earlier the traditional rowing took place. I mentioned the floor being wet, it was dried briefly from the backsides of those sitting rowing in time to the song. Needless to say, the next wall of death promptly soaked again and bodies were seen skidding out during such wall of death classics as Twilight of the Thunder God.
It’s one of the reasons why seeing Amon Amarth is so much fun live and why I go back each time. While your standard death metal gig is very serious, sometimes to the point of parody, the congaing and rowing can’t fail to make you smile. The audience had fun, the band looked like they had fun and at the end of the day that’s the important thing. No matter how angry or happy your music sounds, if everyone leaves the venue smiling and joking, you’ve done your job as a band; and last night Amon Amarth definitely did their job.