On Sonata Arctica

Oh hey, another post about a metal show!

Like with Nightwish and Within Temptation, I learned about Sonata Arctica from my final college roommate, Amy. We technically had the chance to see Sonata (along with Nightwish) back in March, as they played in the Springs two days after Shinedown, but B had to work and we were both getting quite sick, so thought it prudent we not go.

Eventually we learn that Sonata was coming to town again and I was really kind of thinking I wanted to go, so fortunately, the timing worked out and we hit up their show at the Gothic.

We got up right near the stage as the night of the concert was in either the teens or single digit temperatures, so no one wanted to wait in a long line. We found street parking across from the Gothic so we could wait in our car until either:
A.) the doors opened; or
B.) the line started to get long.

In our case, it was (B), but we didn’t end up having to be out in the cold for long. We also saved our friend Jeremy a spot, as he was meeting us there.

The first act was Omnium Gatherum.

 photo sonata_omnium_gatherum_zpsr8ij9c5z.jpg

They were okay. B and I actually were smart for this show and wore earplugs, but as a result, the growls of the lead singer got basically muffled into dinosaur noises, which amused me to no end.

Next up was Leaves’ Eyes.

 photo sonata_leaves_eyes_zpsanh2jufn.jpg

 photo sonata_leaves_eyes2_zpssuajdopv.jpg

 photo sonata_leaves_eyes3_zpsxn4auqgz.jpg

First of all, props to them for the proper usage of the possessive apostrophe. This grammar nerd appreciated that a lot. Secondly, we both thought they were good. It was a fun show, with it being audience interactive in that we did some sort of Viking chant/cheer thing and, as you see in the last photo above, the lead male singer came out in costume with a sword! Totally awesome.

Finally, Sonata Arctica. I’m trying to be better about enjoying shows instead of being so concerned about taking pictures, so as a result, I only have one to share from their act.

 photo sonata_arctica_zpsaf8elh8r.jpg

Overall, both of us were happy we decided to come to the show. It was obvious that the band has been together for a while and has toured for a while. We hadn’t really heard much of the new album, but I downloaded a few songs off of it the next day due to liking them so much. I also got to hear “Power of One,” which is an older song and doesn’t get played all that much (but is my current favorite by them), so I was super giddy about that.

Also, while in general I think wearing ear plugs was a smart move, I don’t feel like I got as good of an experience wearing them, missing the true feel of the music. I’m unsure on whether I’ll wear them again to a show, or whether I’ll just wear them for the opening acts (as I do really like my hearing …).

All in all, a good time, even though I’m still not the biggest fan of the Gothic for a show.

Shinedown: Take Five

This was *technically* a Five Finger Death Punch headliner show, but since both B and I had to be up early the next morning … we skipped out after Shinedown. That, and I heard from my cousin (the one that tours with Papa Roach) that the guys from 5FDP are douches, so y’know. I trust him.

After the amazingness that was the Colorado Springs show, we weren’t expecting as good of a show, particularly given that it was a bigger venue. But, on the off chance we thought it was awesome because we were so close on the floor, I bought us GA floor seats pretty much as soon as tickets went on sale (in fact, I might have even gotten them through a presale).

It thankfully worked out that B was home for the show, sneaking home during a break in Delta training. I ended up having that day off from work, so we woke up, got in a run, and headed to Pepsi Center ass early (doors were at 5/5:30; we got there … before 2pm, I want to say) so we could storm the stage. Quite a few other people had this same idea, but we probably weren’t any worse than maybe 100 people back.

When we were finally allowed in (getting our floor wristbands), Brandon stampeded the stage while I high-tailed it to a pee room. We had been hiking down to the gas station while we waited for snacks, but the gas station that essentially splits the Pepsi Center parking lot doesn’t have a bathroom. No, it has porta-potties outside it … which were so damn disgusting that I just couldn’t.

While wandering about, I was also tasked with finding us food. Hot dog for Brandon and mediocre chicken fingers for me. I miss when food at Pepsi Center used to be good … back in high school …

Brandon, meanwhile, was able to get us essentially second row on the floor. I somehow fought myself, our food, and two waters (not in bottles; opened in cups) to him, aided slightly by concert buddies Brandon had made. We ate our food and I probably pissed more people off by sneaking back through the masses to throw our trash out and then snaked my way BACK. People probably did not like me for this, but eh.

First band to go on was As Lions. I’m pretty sure this was their first ever tour, which, damn, is awesome for them. They were British, but didn’t have that British rock band sound (see: that Springs post linked above).

In any case, the music wasn’t bad and they were highly entertaining.

 photo shinedown_as_lions_zpsdgmn7d2m.jpg
High energy lead singer.

 photo shinedown_as_lions2_zpsuiqsigs5.jpg
Set list. The bottom part cracks me up.

Next was Sixx:A.M., which I had heard a little about. They put on an awesome show – you could tell they have a lot of fun on stage, which I, as a fan, love to see.

 photo shinedown_sixx-am2_zpsm6kci6xc.jpg

 photo shinedown_sixx-am3_zps6bijjchd.jpg

Next up, Shinedown. Firstly, before I get into anything, set list:

Adrenaline
Fly From the Inside
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Unity
How Did You Love
Enemies
Call Me
State of My Head
Second Chance
Cut the Cord
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Sound of Madness

Notice song #7 on that list. NOTICE IT. That is probably my all-time favorite Shinedown song that they hardly ever play anymore. But the song went Gold this year after being out in the world for eight years, so maybe that’s why? Or, as I joked to Brandon, “it’s because you yelled “Call Me” and “play Call Me” at the Springs show.” I cried throughout that whole song. And through How Did You Love.

 photo shinedown_zpsquubbpo1.jpg

(I didn’t take as many photos this time because I chose to ENJOY the experience, and it was worth it. I also hopped around and danced like a crazy person, which had the happy side effect of making the guy who had seriously creeped up into my personal space back off lest he be elbowed or stomped on.)

Other highlights:

– caught three guitar picks. Two different, one the same as one from the Springs show, so we gave the duplicate to our concert friends.

– It was Eric Bass’s birthday, so they brought out a cake and we all got to sing to him.

 photo shinedown2_zpsxec7hub8.jpg

 photo shinedown3_zpskfpozfge.jpg

– The crowd test of Brent Smith hopping into the crowd on the West Coast tour must have worked out well as he did it again at Pepsi.

– During the “Simple Man” section, there was a tiny break and I was close enough to Zach Myers to show him the picture of the Germantown Commissary I put on Instagram (that he liked …), zoomed in on the logo … and he saw it and his eyes lit up in recognition and he mouthed, “Hey! That’s my hometown!” Pretty cool. Also pretty sure he attempted to flick guitar picks our way after that …

When wandering for food, I saw a tee that had “Call Me a Sinner, Call Me a Saint” on the back (clearly from “Call Me”) that I kind of just had to buy. And we got a shirt for Brandon, too.

While not as intimate as the Springs show, the guys are starting to show some better personality on tour which makes it that much more fantastic of a show experience. Sure, they do some generic schticks, but when it comes down to it, they just put on a great show.

And it helps when Smith doesn’t do the volume “you’re right here, I need you up here” thing, because damn is that annoying. Not experiencing that again? GLORIOUS.

Shinedown. They’re the best. Go see them. I’m at five times and will happily grow that number.

(Tour still going on now – see if they’re coming to you!)

On Apocalyptica

In the spirit of catching up, also way back at the end of April, Brandon and I went to a concert … and, once again, a metal show. This time, however, it was a metal show of my choosing.

I discovered Apocalyptica back in college and knew them as the band that covered Metallica with cellos. I then discovered the song “Hope,” which I can still safely say is my favorite song, despite the fact that it’s instrumental. It’s just that amazing.

I saw them live ten years ago, back in September 2005. That show was at the Bluebird. It was small, intimate, sparsely attended … and beautifully powerful. Just four guys with cellos on chairs and simply amazing. I’ve talked about that show to Brandon probably since I’ve known him.

So, when I found out they were back in Denver almost by fluke – thanks Facebook for telling me which friends like the Ogden Theatre and that Apocalyptica is coming to the Ogden! – I told Brandon we had to find a way to go. The day of the show ended up being a super long day – I worked that morning, we got in a workout, we headed down to the Springs to witness a close friend’s civil ceremony (and went out to dinner with them after) … and then drove back up to Denver to the Ogden without even bothering to change.

Apocalyptica’s style has changed slightly over the years. They’ve gone from four cellos down to three and have added some drums and a lot of guest vocalists, but the music is still amazing.

It was a much more crowded show than the first time I saw them, and the nature of the music made it probably one of the most subdued metal shows I’ve been to, but the guys put on a great show (I would argue they’re better showmen now than they were ten years ago) and neither of us regretted the long day.

 photo apocalyptica_zps8iapg4ga.jpg
Marquee.

 photo apocalyptica2_zpskt0h44xa.jpg
Backdrop with drums.

 photo apocalyptica4_zpsbc3lgtki.jpg

 photo apocalyptica5_zpsra3enmh2.jpg

 photo apocalyptica6_zpsciwxvlvn.jpg

Saints and Sinners Ball

Also known as Shinedown round three.

Way back on Halloween, Brandon and I went to go see Shinedown (double-headlining with Breaking Benjamin and alongside Nothingmore) at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. This was my third time seeing Shinedown and second time at 1stBank Center.

Let’s start off with the first two acts.

Nothingmore opened with the theme song to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the band came out in costume … dressed up as the Turtles.

 photo shinedown_nothingmore_zpswlshhvmk.jpg

Their music wasn’t necessarily my style, but they were good performers. Some bands that have been around for years (*cough*Uncle Kracker*cough* don’t have the stage presence that these guys did. Their drum stuff and some of their theatricality (like with this awesome creation:
 photo shinedown_nothingmore2_zpsalvm9auq.jpg
)
reminded Brandon a bit of Blue Man Group.

The night we saw them was their last night on the tour, so they took a giant selfie with the crowd at the end of their set.

 photo shinedown_nothingmore3_zpsw58mwnoj.jpg

Next up was Breaking Benjamin, who also embraced the day and came out in Star Wars costumes.

 photo shinedown_breaking_zpsfuqwuiye.jpg

Brandon was really excited to see these guys and they did put on a great show. They threw out candy to the crowd. They grabbed a sign from an audience member (sign was for said member’s significant other serving overseas) and brought it up on stage to sign,
 photo shinedown_breaking2_zpsiz4vfkza.jpg
giving a great shout out to our service men and women before playing “Unknown Soldier.”

Going on with the Star Wars theme, they did a great mash-up of the Imperial March and a few other covers – Schism, Smells Like Teen Spirit, and Walk. Probably my favorite musical moment of the show.

I forget which song they did it for, but they had all the house lights turn off and had all of us light up the arena with our lighters (that is, cell phone flashlights) to show how much light we can bring and it was fairly fantastic to see how much light it was.

 photo shinedown_breaking4_zpsrcru3ibr.jpg

They ended up their set by grabbing a whole bunch of fans from the crowd and bringing them on stage to sing “The Diary of Jane,” and to have a chance to be on stage with their favorite band, which was super, super cool.

 photo shinedown_breaking5_zpsovdl2u8c.jpg

Finally, Shinedown.

First, pictures:

 photo shinedown_zpsb6c6ohnr.jpg
Opening.

 photo shinedown2_zpsqqq5rvmj.jpg
Barry Kerch with some killer make-up going on.

 photo shinedown4_zpsembyteky.jpg
So there was this stuffed Eeyore at Brent Smith’s feet and I’m not sure why …

 photo shinedown6_zpsjmzqlvif.jpg
Zach Myers with some face paint.

 photo shinedown8_zpsnleaptqu.jpg
Brent Smith and Zach Myers.

 photo shinedown13_zps5erb5mae.jpg
Near the end of the show.

Thoughts on the show:

The Good:
– Music was fantastic, as always.
– They also threw out candy into the crowd.
– They played “How Did You Love,” probably my favorite song off the new album.

The Not So Good:
– They really didn’t embrace the Halloween theme like the other bands did. Okay, so they tossed out candy, and Zach and Barry had some face paint on, but that’s it. A little disappointing.
– For it being the “Threat to Survival” tour, I expected way more songs from the new album, as opposed to … three. Come on now, guys.
– I’ve seen this band three times … and I’ve essentially seen the same show three times. If the show I’m going to see of theirs in March (hopefully) is basically the same show again … I may not want to go see them anymore because I don’t want to spend my money on the same. exact. show. over and over again.

On the plus side, Brandon was able to get one of Barry’s drumsticks (unfortunately it’s just plain; doesn’t have his name on it like the Papa Roach sticks we have) and I was able to somehow snag a Breaking Benjamin guitar pick at the end of the night. Woo!

Under the Sun Tour

Little known T fact: I was a huge Better Than Ezra fan in my youth. They are arguably my first favorite band and “Good” was my favorite song for years.

Now, I’ve seen most of the bands I’ve considered “favorites” over the years live. Metallica, Apocalyptica (okay, so they just have my favorite song), Shinedown. However, I’ve missed out on BTE.

(I should note that I did have an opportunity in college – they played the Paradise Rock Club and I almost went … but missed it because I was in theory going to hang out with one of the Suffolk hockey players. Stupid men. I regret not going to that show to this day.)

In any case, in randomly looking up summer concerts, I found out they were coming to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield as part of the Under the Sun tour on July 28. A lot of stuff was going on in our lives but Brandon and I bit the bullet and bought the tickets and went to the show.

The tour – 90s throwback! – consisted of Eve6, Uncle Kracker, Better Than Ezra, and Sugar Ray.

We missed the first part of Eve6’s set thanks to traffic and picking up food.

 photo underthesun_zps3oklofj9.jpg

They were … okay. I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse.

 photo underthesun2_zpsy4k0th8z.jpg
Concert selfie!

Next up was Uncle Kracker. First few songs were boring as hell and he was doing nothing to get the crowd into it. Except after the first few songs, and then he yelled at us for sleeping on him – sorry, sir, that’s your fault for SUCKING. They picked it up a little … but if I don’t see them again I won’t be sorry.

 photo underthesun3_zps3wb74t1w.jpg

Next up was Better Than Ezra, and they were AWESOME. They opened up with “King of New Orleans” and went straight into “Good” after that. Kevin Griffin said that they weren’t going to wait for anything and went straight after it. I was going to stay in the grass with Brandon … but I couldn’t help myself and ran up to the stage.

 photo underthesun4_zps3uu6kdvt.jpg

 photo underthesun5_zpss5t8rdgx.jpg

I forget the whole set (and it’s not on Setlist.fm yet), but I do know they played “At the Stars” and explained that they actually wrote the song up outside of Crested Butte, which was really cool for this Colorado girl.

 photo underthesun6_zpsoc9224zj.jpg

They also had Michael Jerome on the drums do a really cool set using only cowbells. I love drummers and the cool shit they can do, man.

 photo underthesun7_zpsjsjboqkg.jpg

They finished up the set with “In the Blood” which, although it opens up “Deluxe,” is a strong finisher, too. To top it all off, I managed to catch a guitar pick. Night? Made.

However, the night wasn’t even over yet. We still had Sugar Ray to go. Brandon had seen them in college and said they put on a great show, and after seeing them, I have to agree. Mark McGrath may be in his late-40s, but he is an entertainer, plain and simple, and he is awesome.

(He also referenced his roles in the “Sharknado” franchise, which made me super happy. If I had had more time, I was considering bringing a stuffed shark to throw on stage.)

Sugar Ray was just plain fun. There were beach balls tossed around, a cover of “Unbelievable” (apparently one of the guitarists (bassists?) wrote it) … it was pretty awesome. We also both headed down to the stage for this show … as did quite a few other fellow concert-goers.

 photo underthesun8_zpsm4ioj1rm.jpg

 photo underthesun9_zpsc1dm4enw.jpg

Nightwish Concert

I was all set to write a post on a different subject and then realized I totally forgot I hadn’t blogged about this concert yet … probably because it got lost in the house shuffle.

Anyway, way back on April 21 (so two months ago), I went to yet another metal show – Nightwish, with Delain and Sabaton. I’ve known of Nightwish since college – my roommate Amy was a big fan (same deal with Within Temptation) – but that was two (or three?) lead singers ago.

The show was at the Ogden Theatre, the only one of the Colfax venues I haven’t been to. Now that I’ve been to all three, I have to say I prefer the Bluebird over all. We also didn’t have the greatest spot at this show so maybe that led to part of my dislike of the Ogden, but eh.

 photo concert_marquee_zps7s0otdpb.jpg
Marquee.

Delain I believe was already playing when we finally got inside. I remember them being better than Brandon led me to believe, but that could have been an Insomnium thing where they’re better live than in studio.

 photo concert_delain_zpsjdw3rms4.jpg

Next act was Sabaton, a Swedish metal band who plays songs based off historical events. Obviously I thought they were awesome. Even if I didn’t like their music however (although I did), I would have been a fan thanks to the lead singer. He noticed a young girl up on the balcony – probably about 12-years-old or so – and started talking with her. He learned that it was her first concert (I think; at least first metal show) and for a memory, tossed her his sunglasses.

I believe metal gets a bad rap a lot of the time thanks to the stigma that all metal bands are devil worshippers and whatnot (okay, I get the Ozzy Osborne thing, but if you actually look at some of Black Sabbath’s lyrics … they were anti-war and politically motivated. Go on. Research “War Pigs/Luke’s Wall” and get back to me.), but I have friends who are wonderful people and also huge metal heads (my friend Jeremy, for one) and have met some of the nicest people at metal shows. As a result, I’m super happy for the lead singer for making the gesture toward a young fan, because it proves that stereotypes aren’t always real.

 photo concert_sabaton_zpscrzoqyxg.jpg

As for the Nightwish show, it wasn’t nearly as good as Epica or Within Temptation were. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I got hooked on Nightwish during the Tarja days, and Floor, while awesome, just isn’t Tarja. It’s a different sound (which both Brandon and Jeremy like, by the way), but it doesn’t quite do it for me.

Me being so tired I was half-falling asleep during the show probably didn’t help, either …

 photo concert_nightwish_zpsgpeln2l1.jpg

 photo concert_nightwish2_zps4zxtr9xe.jpg

 photo concert_nightwish3_zpslb0yjqj4.jpg

 photo concert_nightwish4_zpsetbazsx7.jpg

 photo concert_nightwish6_zpso5eq1frl.jpg

Would I see them again? I don’t think I can answer that question. Sabaton was fantastic and writing this post reminds me I need to look and see if their studio stuff is as good as their live stuff. Nightwish … maybe. If it’s not at the Ogden.

Within Temptation Concert

While I’m a fan of a lot of different types of music, it seems I’m mainly going to metal shows these days. I think I should blame the husband on this one …

Anyway, Within Temptation came to town on September 27 and since they’re one of Brandon’s current favorite bands, he bought us tickets. I’ve known about them since my college days, as my roommate Amy was a fan.

It was a small-ish show – just WT and Amaranthe, which was happy for me as it meant I could get to bed before midnight (lord I’m old). Our friend Jeremy likes Amaranthe a lot, but this was the first I heard them – they’re pretty good.

However, the Within Temptation set blew me away. The few Shinedown shows I’ve seen recently have been amazing, but Sharon and the crew legit brought me to tears a few times during the show. It has been a long, long time since music has moved me that much. If they come back to the states on their next tour, I will 100% go again.

And now, the photos, because really, this wouldn’t be complete without them.

 photo wt_concert_zps91e7fca6.jpg
Marquee at the Gothic. This was the first show I’ve ever been to at the Gothic – wasn’t bad, but I think I prefer the Bluebird.

 photo wt_concert3_zpsb0ae3a68.jpg
Amaranthe.

 photo wt_concert4_zps515acb86.jpg
Husband in between sets.

 photo wt_concert5_zpsf3a6996e.jpg
Lead singer Sharon den Adel, before she ditched the jacket.

 photo wt_concert6_zps49078ff9.jpg
Sharon.

 photo wt_concert10_zps16db7bb2.jpg
The band. Thought it a tad strange the drummer was behind plexiglass …? Maybe he just gets that sweaty …

 photo wt_concert11_zpsc4cb4a82.jpg
Sharon with these super cool fringed arm sleeves.