Venue: Knitting Factory (New York, NY)
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Genre: Progressive Metal
It was cold March night and I remember this fact since my Friend and I decided to come to the venue an hour earlier and freeze our asses off while someone we knew tried to find an extra ticket for the show. Inside was interesting to behold for while there was clearly an amount of Metal Heads inside there was also a large group of older folks who looked more as if they were visiting from lunch at the New York Stock Exchange. It was my guess that they people had heard that Apocalyptica performs their music with cellos that they felt it would be some sort of Classical concert instead of a new form of Progressive Metal. I did not know for sure, and was not planning on asking.
The Knitting Factory was pretty packed and this was a mixture of both band interest and they fact that this venue only holds a little over 200 people. This club size was the main reason that a lot of people did not get to buy tickets for the performance. It’s a shame, for this being the bands very first appearance on US Shores, there was a great amount of interest in their gig. It sold out very fast which on its own is a great thing to have happen. The opening acts did not make much of an impression on me and I only remember liking the bassist in one of them. I guess my excitement for Apocalytica was higher than even I had expected. The venue could have done better in selecting more appropriate acts for the show in my opinion but I digress. The second band did far too much ass-kissing to being on this gig for my enjoyment. It is one thing to appreciate a good and unique gig, but it is another to do it over and over to guarantee some amount of crowd response. Securing a spot to get both a good view and some pics was easier than I thought, but my constant telling everyone “excuse me please I am Press” seemed to work quite well in having them move out of my way.
So after enduring the cold, then the crowds and some terrible openers it was time for the Boys in Apocalyptica to hit the stage. It was wonderful to see them in person, and there they were in all their glory Perttu, Eicca and Paavo on Cellos and Mikko on drums. They started with a piece from “Reflections” which was awesome. The set list contained a large amount of material from the “Reflections” and “Cult” CD and of course the Metallica covers. I felt as though the crowd really only knew the Metallica songs and I hope this changes over time as their own music is pretty damned good. The awesome show was not without any technical difficulty as at one point their stage mics went dead. The guys had to scream at the top of their lungs as a result for the rest of the night. The curious will be interested in knowing that the band has a good stage presence and just does not sit calmly playing the cello. Instead they run about the stage and mugging for the fans with crazy faces. They also played the cellos on their shoulders and put them on top of their heads. They were really having a good time. They also show that they will not miss a beat as during one of the earlier songs Eicca popped a string and had to replace it on the spot. The other guys continued without any incident. Not all of the songs featured the drummer, and as a matter of fact he came out later.
So despite the very small stage and poor lightning effects, the show was amazing and I was happy to exclaim that I saw Apocalyptica’s first New York show on their first US Tour. The sound was crisp despite the mic incident I mentioned and the audience really seemed to enjoy themselves. I even noticed a small group of girls who formed a Mosh pit near the center of the club (well, this was a metal show when you look at the big picture). Should the band return it is my hope that it is to a larger venue. This band will gather some attention for they are different and I can see them filling up a decent larger or mid-sized venue with no problems. I laughed when I heard comments like “I wanna play cello now.” Who ever thought you would see this in a Metal group? Apocalyptica should add a few of the tricks used by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for taking this new style of Classical meets Progressive meets Metal surely would be one hell of a show.
Official Website: http://www.apocalyptica.com