It seemed like only yesterday when Kittie came a calling to New York City, and in all actuality it was back in September if my Metal memory serves me correctly and yet despite this very recent visit, one cannot be anything less than pleased when these Canadian Metal chicks want to help make March Metal Madness all the more special by visiting us once again. They were doing the equivalent of a co-headlining tour with God Forbid and depending on where the show was taking place would swap the lead off spot every now and again. The show also featured Gwen Stacy and if you want to see the full concert report just scroll down past their logo. There’s also a lot of cool backstage candid moments and images here from this very night.
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, N.Y.)
Opener: God Forbid, Gwen Stacy
Label: E1 Entertainment
March Metal Madness was showing no signs of slowing down as we found ourselves over at B.B. King’s once again for the return of those Queens of Canadian Metal, Kittie. The girls were in town back in September of 2009, but NYC never minds a return visit from them especially when it features New Jersey’s own God Forbid.
Gwen Stacy: When I first heard Gwen Stacy, this was on the Sounds Of The Underground show from back in 2005 and I didn’t like what I heard back then. The reason is simply because the band was on very, very early and the mix was so messy on all of the leading into the festival bands that each of them bled into the others and didn’t stand out. Sadly, I would not think the show starting as early as it did and this found me only catching the last three songs of their set. My guess is that they played about thirty minutes and what I did see I really liked. There was a great level of energy and technical drive to the tunes and it was a far cry from that first impression I had from back in 2005. Let’s make this a rule my Metal legions, never trust in full your very first impression on a band because you might not be seeing them in the best environment for their sound. I would totally see them again and look forward to that chance. They are a Christian Metalcore band and are signed to Solid State Records. I don’t think you need me to mention that they are named after the character in the Spider-Man comic books but they are, even though there is no female member in their lineup. The crowd seemed into them which was nice to see for the first up group so let’s hope they made some new fans on this Kittie tour. God Forbid was up next.
God Forbid: I haven’t seen God Forbid performing in NYC since that co-headlining tour that was done with Death Angel a couple of years ago and while tonight’s affair was also listed as a co-headlining deal, God Forbid would be going on first for much of the tour and playing a shorter set than Kittie would. They did headline the recent Starland Ballroom show but that is home turf to these New Jersey natives and it made perfect sense for them to swap the main spot for that particular evening. Since we last saw them some changes have happened and the biggest one of them all is that guitarist Dallas Coyle is no longer a part of the lineup. In his place we now find Matt Wicklund (formerly of Himsa) joining in on the ranks heralded by singer Byron Davis, guitarist Doc Coyle, bassist John Outcalt and drummer Corey Pierce. Tonight’s show would also be the very first NYC gig to support their latest release “Earthsblood” and this album is a monster since it really seemed to pull out all the stops for the band and was far different from what was delivered on the critically acclaimed “IV: Constitution Of Treason” which came out before this one. One might have expected a complete focus on the new recording, but God Forbid doesn’t seem to follow the rules in things like that and they would make sure to touch upon some earlier stuff along with the most recent releases and even give us a cover.
Byron is an imposing front man visually, but when he speaks to the crowd there is a great amount of sincerity to his words. It’s almost like watching one of your friends up there on the stage because when he does talk it feels like he is directing the words to you alone. That’s commendable and the band did hit the stage hard and direct which was just what I expected. They are a tight unit and new string shredder Wicklund seems to fit right into the lock that Doc has forged for the bands guitar riffs without question. During the show Byron joked about his eating a bunch of taco chips before the show was probably a bad idea and he warned the folks in the front to watch out for debris when he got to growling. I was nowhere near him, but hoped that those in the front escaped unscathed just the same. He joked about the setting of the B.B. King Blues Club as well, because the stage is all set up with dark velvet curtains and he said this made him feel as if he were a part of a lounge act. He began to sing the jazz standard “Am I Blue” but then crushed us all with a cover of Pantera’s “Mouth For War”. I am not sure what led the band to offer up that one, but it was a solid rendition and one that was appreciated by the crowd. Overall their set was strong and the audience made their voices known for the closing number “For The Fallen Hero” as they all helped sing along when Byron commanded them to do so. They said they would be back as soon as possible, but until then you are advised to pick up “Earthsblood” and their double disc DVD “Beneath The Scars Of Glory And Progression”. Either of those should sate your need for God Forbid material for the duration. Now it was time for Kittie.
Kittie: The girls in Kittie were still running the gamut and the positive praise for their latest album “In The Black” which comes care of their new label E1 Entertainment (formerly Koch Records) and the members of their diehard fan base were all ready to lend them their love once again. Kittie was indeed back in the New York Groove and we are always happy to have them dropping by for a visit. It was only about six months ago that the girls were last in this very room celebrating their new music and new label so one had to wonder how much different this go round would be in terms of the set list rundown. They would open up with “My Plague” and lead us into the rousing night with “Cut Throat” next and by the time that song four had been delivered it was pretty clear to those who had come the last time that they were following that same set list. No one seemed to complain which was a very good thing because after tune number seven the girls would mix things up a bit. I was glad to see them changing things around a little more because there are always going to be those songs that their ardent fans are looking to hear and the girls always try to accommodate them whenever possible. When it all came down to it, they seemed to do about six tunes from the “In The Black” release and it was surely enough to entice you into buying a copy.
Morgan spoke to the crowd quite a bit this evening and not only spoke of the bands special connection to New York but how she always feels as if this particular audience is like a group of friends. Having seen them in action a number of times, I can firmly agree that they form a special kinship with their crowd and this reaches far outside of New York City alone, even if they fondly recall gigs at the Continental down on St. Marks place. She teased and said how she knows many of the front row by name and how she bets that some of these same people were there back then. I like seeing bands that are connected to the fans, especially when there are so many groups to choose from. Kudos to Kittie for recognizing this and for that matter appreciating it, it definitely separates you from the pack. One of the other things that was mentioned was how they had two versions in video for the song “Sorrow I Know”. One is a “cleaner” version while one is a tad more risqué. It would have been nice to see the film played behind the band while they did the tune but we wouldn’t get that tonight. Oh well, you cannot have everything. Performance wise I felt that they were on point and Morgan was both demure and demonic as the tunes needed her to be. Mercedes was pounding away on the drums and I had heard earlier in the night that she was not feeling her best. In any event, she didn’t show this when it came to playing the drums. Tara is proving herself to be a fantastic guitarist with each and every show and was really showcasing some shredderiffic skills tonight. I’m happy that she became a part of the lineup back when she enlisted in the bands ranks and I had to say that Ivy is meant for the live stage herself. The girl is a ball of energy that just explodes and does her best in bringing out the extra excitement in the fans.
The show would end earlier than expected but that was good in some sense because it was still a work and school night for most of the people around me and this gave the girls a chance to mingle and meet with the fans who wanted to say some hellos or take a photograph with them. I would have liked to see more people there but then again I always do feel this way when it’s a couple of bands that I like. Either way, B.B. King’s had a nice crowd and everyone here was having a blast and that is what matters the most. Another interesting fact was how present in the audience was one Faisal Talal and you might not yet know his name but you will eventually. Faisal is a lead singer and a member of the band Acrassicauda and they originally hail from Baghdad, Iraq. They were the subject of a documentary film called “Heavy Metal In Baghdad” and while I have yet to see this; a number of my friends have done so and told me that it is a powerful film. Maybe one day soon we shall find Faisal’s band opening up a Kittie show and I think if that happens that it will be a seriously good Metal time without a doubt.
After this tour ends Kittie will go on the road with ICP or the Insane Clown Posse and while I know you might be shaking your head about this one, let us wish the girls all the best as they embark on their quest to transform simple juggalos into tried and true Metal heads. Be careful out their ladies, and hurry back to NYC soon. For those of us wondering what could be next in this maniacal month of March Metal, well, it seemed as though Immortal was preparing to seal NY’s doom in a matter of days.
God Forbid Set List:
1. The End Of The World
2. Chains Of Humanity
3. War Of Attrition
5. Empire Of The Gun
6. Mouth For War (Pantera)
7. Bat The Angels
8. Force Fed
9. To The Fallen Hero
Kittie Set List:
1. My Plague
2. Cut Throat
5. Never Again
8. Burning Bridges
9. What I Always Wanted
11. Die My Darling
12. Whiskey Love Song
13. Sorrow I Know
14. Look So Pretty
15. Forgive And Forget
One almost would think that the venue had changed it’s name if they looked up at the marquee at a particular instant and we felt that if it did, it would surely become a little more Metal by doing so. Imagine “B.B. Kittie’s – The House Of Metal”.
Of course the venue name remains the same but we couldn’t resist having a little fun based on the photo that we captured.
The girls in Kittie seem to love coming to NYC and I am not sure if its their love of the sights and the shopping as much as it is the love of their fans but as long as they visit we are all good with that. Backstage before the show I was able to catch a cool couple of moments and here we see a meeting of the Metal minds, or two lead singers just chilling out a little before slamming down the Metal justice.
Morgan was in good spirits before the gig and shows us her look of “surprise” to some extent. I think I yelled something like “Morgan! Think Fast!”
Not long after the crushing God Forbid set, or maybe we shot this one just before they took the stage, we found Mr. Doc Coyle present and accounted for so we snapped a shot of him with Kittie’s Tara and Morgan. Dare I say “The Doc Is In?” No, that would be too corny…..oops.
The guys in Gwen Stacy had really done a terrific set, and it was just bad timing that caused me to miss most of it since I really liked the songs that I got to hear. We asked the guys to do a traditional photo op in front of the B.B. King’s banner, especially since it was their very first time playing here.
We felt that both shots snared were amusing enough to share with you so here is the second one. Remember these guys are signed to Solid State Records and deliver Christian Metalcore like nobodies business. Pictured left to right are T.J., Geoff and Brent who handle drums, vocals and bass respectively.
We were missing one of the bands lineup in these shots and I had no idea where he went off to but eventually caught up with him and as luck would have it, got him on digital media with the lovely Morgan Lander.
The singer’s playful nature came to the fore as she stretched the limits of her hoodie and ended up looking like something out of a Chuck Norris or Ninja movie as a result. I’m not even sure this was a hoodie, but it was surely perfect as a quick disguise for when the charming lass “vant’s to be alone…..”
In the main article we mentioned how the lead singer from the band Acrassicauda was at the show and he was having a blast without question. We’ve met Faisal a couple of times in the recent past and we happy to capture a bunch of candid moments of him and some of the folks hanging around at the show. Enjoy this little additional segment free of charge of course.
Here’s Faisal with God Forbid’s Byron Davis. Sadly the rest of the band were outside loading up the gear to the truck for the next go round of Metal delivery so we couldn’t get them all in one shot. The two singers will have to be enough. Oh yes, but wait, there is much more coming up so just keep on reading.
Now that the show was over the band could finally relax and unwind before packing up and heading off to the next city. When Faisal met up with Morgan Lander (as you see in the photo above) he was happy to be able to speak to her and one of the things he made sure to mention was how many fans he had met of theirs in parts of the world such as Syria and Turkey and more. Talk about Metal being a Global experience. That is a wonderful thing to learn if you asked me.
Here’s Faisal and drummer Mercedes Lander. I hope she was feeling better by the end of the show because touring and being ill are not things that one wants to find happening together. We prescribe lots of soup and tea and look forward to seeing you slam those skins again soon.
Since Faisal also plays the guitar in Acrassicauda, my guess is that he was also talking a little shop with lead shredder of Kittie, the cool and always pleasant Miss Tara McLeod. For some reason by this point of the night I had given her the nickname of “T-Mac”. Fortunately, she thought it was funny, never a bad thing. We mentioned in the review article about how much ass she was kicking with her guitar during the show and we feel she is an inspiration to those younger female guitar players out there who want to brave this road.
Ivy’s turn and it was cool to finally see her in one spot as opposed to her wild running back and forth on the stage. Of course this is perfect for the show’s sake and we think she is a killer musician and a great show person to boot. Good stage presence is very important in a band of this kind and we feel that Ivy brought a lot of additional excitement to the mix.
As you can see by the photo above we managed to get the whole Kittie group together for a shot with Faisal and yes I know what you might be thinking – it’s a tough life being a musician. Please don’t get mad at Faisal for all of this because I had a hand in getting them all done. He is too new to our customs to be blamed for any of it, and Faisal if anyone gives you crap about these images just give them the standard line of “don’t hate the Player, hate the Game”. They should know what you mean.
I couldn’t resist not being a part of the whole visual fun that I was presenting to the readers for a moment and one can never have too many photos with Miss Lander, so here is a new one from the show. Make sure you check out the ladies new album In the Black. It’s a great album and show how much the girls can do. We also think you would enjoy Faisal’s band Acrassicauda, and you should check out their EP Only The Dead See The End Of The War. That’s some powerful Thrash Metal from a faraway land.