EPICA - MOONSPELL - Starkill
Mill City Nights – Minneapolis Minnesota USA
January 28th 2016
Review and photos by Matthew Haumschild
GO SEE THEM!
My brothers and sisters, I haven’t been to a show in years. Since before I was married in fact. It might seem sacrilege that a good and upstanding metaller as myself not attending metal shows at least on a monthly basis, but I hope people understand that other priorities took over, made me unable to see even my favorite band, Sepultura. However, my wife took a liking and curiosity to Epica, which allowed us to see a concert during the week at a venue Gryphonmetal.ch has yet to attend.
Mill City Nights is a club across from the old “Quest” venue of which I had been and reported dozens of times over the years, since then it turned into a country/western monstrosity that seems to be doing well for itself. MCN has yellow bricks on the inside, which I hadn’t seen before. IT has a really cool “underground” feel to it, unfortunately it is in the wrong location. It’s in the epicenter of the “warehouse” district of Minneapolis, which has tons of nightclubs playing vastly different music than metal. It’s also next to a light-rail station, a block from Target Field (major league baseball) and Target Center (Basketball and concerts). The venue has a balcony the wraps around half the upper level as well. I have nothing but good things to say except for the location.
I will have to apologize first of all, my wife and I did not arrive at the venue in time to see Starkill. Apparently people seemed to like them. As I was wandering around a venue I had not been to yet, people were talking about them favorably.
Truth be told, I came for Moonspell. I’m not going to lie. I loved Moonspell’s new album “Extinct” as evidenced here http://www.gryphonmetal.ch/Moonspell_Extinct.htm . I was heavy with anticipation. Over the last few months, Moonspell has been on heavy rotation working out and driving. As mentioned before, I hadn’t been to a concert in a very long time. I found myself a little out of my element. I remember crowds being…more active. Moonspell came on and opened up with “Breath” which is their opening track on their newest album. I was hoping that would get people going, but they stood there like stones. Pissed me off. It seems me and 3 or 4 other people were there shouting lyrics out of the hundred or so that were in the room. The last time I saw Moonspell was 6 years ago in Ft. Worth Texas (read here: http://www.gryphonmetal.ch/Moonspell_Texas_09.html ) and I remember the crowd being into it! I didn’t care, I got into it and I’ll be damned if I cared what people thought of an overweight 35 year old married father of three did when one of his favorite bands came on! Usually, Moonspell’s keyboard player dubs as the rhythm guitar player as well, but was only on keys throughout the whole show. The band killed it in my opinion, for not having much of a crowd response. Throughout the show, Fernando kept trying to get the crowd to pump their fists in the air, I thought it was overkill and got a little redundant but I understand what he was trying to do, make the best of the situation. One of the more pleasant surprises that I wish they’d incorporate more on their albums, were the backing vocals from the lead guitar player. I thought they sounded great together! Moonspell played (not in order): “Funeral Bloom,” “Breath, Extinct,” “Last of Us,” “Alma Mater,” “Moon Over Mercury,” “Opium,” “Shadow Sun,” “Awake!,” “Vampiria,” and “Full Moon Madness.” I certainly enjoyed seeing them, at times I couldn’t hear the guitar at all, and the light show was actually pretty nice but it was nothing compared to what they did for Epica. I’ve seen Moonspell probably 6 times and this was my favorite time seeing them, I just wished they played more songs! Especially from “Butterfly FX.” Fernando sounded the best he’s ever sounded live and the rest of the band was completely on point with every song, I really don’t have much to complain about. All my complaints are on the lack of enthusiasm of the crowd. Moonspell is such a unique band that it’s really hard to pair them. It was hard seeing them play with Opeth (http://www.gryphonmetal.ch/OpethMoonspellUSA.html) , although on paper they should be compatible, but Moonspell’s lyrics and imagery are vastly different than any other band and that’s what makes Moonspell unique. I will say, this is my favorite time seeing Moonspell out of all the times I’ve seen them and as you can tell, it’s been well documented on Gryphonmetal.ch!
I’m going to be blunt, the last time I saw them, I got bored and left. ( http://www.gryphonmetal.ch/Epica_VisionsofAtlantis_liveUSA07.html ) Might seem strange considering everyone I’ve talked to who knew me back then, thought I’d love this band. I saw (and still kind of do) them as an over achieving band that has a certain arrogance to them when they play, like they know they are better musicians than 80% of people on the planet and their arrangements are so good, the songs and the band should make music for movies. I don’t see them being a humble band or humble musicians that when you look at them, you know they’ve worked so hard to perfect their craft that you instantly respect them. I suppose, it’s a compliment to them that they make it look easy.
Seeing them play this time was a bit different. I wasn’t actually bored, which is probably a good thing. The band was every bit as technical and operatic sounding as I remember and yes, they still make the music sound easy even though it takes a genius to create it. The band was on point with every note they played and their stage show is stuff that every band should be taking notes from. The band brought their own lights with them; which made them look very cool, it entertained everyone. The crowed erupted and sang every word of every song the band played. No pits erupted or anything, but the crowed was very much into Epica. The band made me change my mind about them, at least about the music being boring. It’s precise music that reminded me a little bit of “Within Temptation” only…well…better. The strange part about the band’s stage presence, forgive me, I have a hard time explaining it, they had kind of a “Van Halen” feeling to them. They smiled a lot! And they seem to be kind of joking around amongst themselves on stage, it’s hard to explain. The day after the show, after I had time to digest what I saw, I found that I really liked them so I bought their latest album. So, if the band is reading this, YES I BOUGHT IT YOU’VE SUCCEEDED IN TURNING ME OVER! Not an easy task mind you. Would I see them again? No question and that goes double for Moonspell.
Everyone, I can’t stress this enough, buy Moonspell’s “Extinct” and tell your friends to buy it too! And Go see them! And Epica….hell yeah go see them!
- Matthew Haumschild