Gig/Concert: Frightenstein w/ Minstrel Cycle, Enemyus and Black Earth
Venue: Vern’s, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Date: 30 April 2010
In One Word: Mixed
Finally done exams, and by extension another year of school. Another Friday night in Calgary was upon me, the day after the Alice Cooper/Rob Zombie show at the Corral. I don’t know about a lot of people, but I found that a post secondary education as well as odd jobs can take quite a toll on your life and mental state. With school done for a semester, I really should be trying to relax and calm down my life … or, I could go drinking…. Oh, screw it! I’ll take a beer and a home grown brew of Calgary’s musicians over trying to quiet down my life like a sissy. To Vern’s!
Minstrel Cycle were up first, and may have been the last, judging from what sounded like them almost blowing the PA system. It was a different sort of sound, kind of a tired droning. The instrumentals and vocals were timed in a very strange way, making a basic, weird sort of noise. I thought it was bizarre that the songs were mostly about sex or diseases. Even though I usually really enjoy going for weird and obscure music, I found that I was not personally too passionate about their sound. However, it could be something that would grow on me and I would understand if a lot of other people enjoyed it. It may be best for me to just recommend that you take a look at their myspace page and judge for yourself. I’ll see if they are playing again in a month.
The energy in the scene was jolted to life with Frightenstein on stage. Each of the three musicians were dressed up is some freakish outfit that had its own gory appeal and horrific charm (instead of me trying to explain them further, just go to the pictures). Their set and style was all horror based, their songs all seemed to pay homage to the horror punk scene while keeping their own identity. They played songs with names like “Human Faced Dog” and “Prehistoric Hell A.D.”, as well as a cover of “Halloween” by the Misfits. In between songs, the singer/lead guitarist would sometimes talk up the crowd about horror stuff, such as saying they were going to take the crowd on a trip to Hell. With all the visual and audio input that they gave, they made me think of their music as an accelerated and entertaining funeral wake. It was all a cool and fun experience.
Enemyus kept the energy at Vern’s high by pumping out an astounding metal set. Each instrument was cohesive and led tightly and smoothly into the next instrument, while the vocals were belted out with a furious passion. As the bass, drums and vocals boomed out, the lead and rhythm guitar worked well together and helped complete an all around harmonious sound in the music. However, do not let this pansy idea of harmony fool you, this was definitely high quality metal. I really enjoyed their sound and feel, the songs avoided the tricks and trends I see in a lot of metal music, which kept me interested and paying attention to them. The guitarists also mastered the hair windmill techniques, something I couldn’t master if my life depended on it (which, now that I think about it, would be a really weird situation). In short, high calibre sounds mixed with practiced professionalism.
Lastly, Black Earth, the only other band besides Frightenstein to feature a female. Their sound and style seemed to epitomize and borrow many themes from the alternative music scene. Their girl lead singer sung with a sort of flatness, which I mean in the best possible sense, it had a Chrissie Hynde sort of charm, which worked well with the manly backup vocals. All the musicians and singers worked well together and fed off of each other’s energy. They appeared to be having a lot of fun on stage with each other and with the audience, with whom they connected with well. Between songs they would take the time to yell out something weird like “we are the most metal band here”, or dedicate a song to someone. They had some good alternative type songs and I would enjoy seeing them again soon.
The whole show ended with Black Earth covering “Timmy” by The Lords of the Underworld (South Park). I think that going out and seeing this mixed bag of rock musicians was a great way to end a hectic April schedule and kick off an eventful May, as well as Beltane on May 1st. Happy belated Beltane, by the way. Anyways, I would definitely recommend looking into all these groups more.
© Lindsay Goodwin, Music Vice
Pictures of Black Earth, Enemyus, Minstrel Cycle and Frightenstein