Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where death is most alive

I went to see Dark Tranquillity with Insomnium and Cypher16 at the Underworld last night and I had a lot to say about it, so I thought I'd share my wise and well-informed opinions with the rest of the world.

First of all - Cypher16. J hates the name, but I don't think it's so bad, although numbers with any name just make it look like a bad email handle. Terror 2000 remain my exception to the rule, because I love that band :D

So, crappy name...and crappy band, for me at least. I think they have a lot of potential and some people may well think what they're doing is cool already, but they were not my cup of tea at all. If I'm honest, I checked them out on MySpace, decided I didn't like them and so only bothered to turn up right at the end of their set. A little unfair, but I'm hardly Lady Justice.

Moving on...Insomnium fucking RULED. They owned that place; every song was awesome. It's the second time I've seen them and both times they've blown me away - I'm not saying they're technically the best or they have the best sound or whatever, but overall, they are one of my favourite live acts. They had a lot of fans there, which was great to see and they had an incredible atmosphere for a relatively unknown band here in the UK. I got one of their albums after I saw them the first time and didn't think much of it, but I'm definitely going to try again. If not then hey, I only like Immortal live, there's nothing wrong with that.

Dark Tranquillity were really really good, despite a few technical difficulties, but overall, I think Insomnium won the day. DT are one of my favourite bands, but in terms of what they play they can be very hit and miss. More than half their set was songs I really didn't care for at all - although the upsides were two from The Gallery (my favourite album - they played the title track and Punish my Heaven) and ended with Terminus, for me the setlist wasn't that great. My highlight would have to be Punish my Heaven as it's one of my favourite songs ever.

The other highlight of the night, I have to say, was Michael Stanne himself. Obviously I don't know him, but he comes across as a really, really nice guy. There was a lot of crowd interaction - he surfed, didn't mind holding hands or holding out the mic to people and generally seemed incredibly happy and at ease with everything. At the end he said the band were going to be at the merch stand and would be sticking around for a couple drinks after the show, which is great to hear from a band that's big enough to get away without doing that shit nowadays.

In terms of venue, I'd say they could have done with a bigger place. The Underworld is small and has many pillars and last night was probably the busiest I'd ever seen it. Even the merch stand could have done with more room - the bar just ain't big enough. Had the Astoria not been razed (bastards), that would have been a perfect venue, but without it, London's really lacking a great medium-sized venue. Last time DT played the UK it was at the stupidly small Barfly in Camden, so I don't know whether the band's management are too cautious with the bookings or just undervalue their commercial appeal, but I'd say they could easily play Islington and with a little more advertising, they could even fill Brixton or Shepherd's Bush.

My final point - oh dear god, £4 a pint? I spent almost a tenner, wasn't even close to drunk then decided I couldn't possibly afford to get drunk. Doesn't make for a fun night, Underworld (and all you other venues charging stupid amounts for watery beer). Improve please!