Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Unexpect, Ecliptic
Label: The End Records
It would seem that September was going to be a month of music that I would not soon forget because when it came down to the hectic schedule, it looked like before it would end that I would find myself attending approximately ten shows that each found some interesting openers being a part of the fun. We were only two weeks into the month and I was hitting another show at my home away from home B.B. King Blues Club and the original setup was for a co-headlining tour of Japan’s Black Metal artisans Sigh and Zimmer’s Hole, the latter band being what remained after Devon Townsend departed from Strapping Young Lad. Sadly, some issues with Visas would prohibit the Zimmer’s guys from performing and that moved the third band up one rung on the performance ladder. Here is how the night went down for those who might have missed it.
Ecliptic: These guys had the original good fortune of being the fourth band on the bill and with the Zimmer’s Hole cancellation now found themselves starting the event off for the two remaining major players after them. Some folks were disheartened by no heavy hitting replacement but three bands are often enough for most shows and I myself was happy about it. With no one but them to start, the event was kicked off just a little bit later and as result more people were able to be inside when this band went on. It was my first time hearing them and their sound was a definite mix of classic Black Metal and traditional Thrash. Good from top to bottom in the live sense and being delivered very well for the assembled B.B. King’s crowd. To my knowledge they had never played here before and it was nice to observe the fans paying attention to them with interest as opposed to just milling about at the bar or outside smoking. They are unsigned but apparently recording material for an independent release and I will be interested in seeing them again so hopefully they will come back. Now it was time to get a little dose of Unexpect.
Unexpect: I’m proud to pledge my allegiance and support for this band that I accidentally stumbled upon at The Gathering’s show back in 2006 and with each gig that I catch my love for their style and delivery grows and grows. A show at B.B. King Blues Club is nothing new for Unexpect and as result they have a core fan base that makes sure to be on point when they are here for a visit, but its often that the band is saddled with a very early spot and ends up being finished before they even start to get your blood pumping. The show which was originally a co-headline for Sigh and Zimmer’s now enabled a direct support spot for Unexpect and for many this was a very good thing because it would allow for a little bit longer set from the band. Of course this wouldn’t be the case as it seemed as though the band was playing around the same amount of time as they normally would as the delivered songs such as “Desert Urbania” and “Chromatic Chimera” from their The End Records debut of “In a Flesh Aquarium”. Tonight marks what I believed to be my sixth or seventh gig from the band and I am now officially convinced that they need a live DVD release of some kind. They are a very intense band in the visual sense and are so hyperactive during a set that you can’t help but feel a little bit of the same spurring you into some movement on the general floor area. I’ve viewed their musical presentation as controlled chaos because of all of the different avenues their songs take. It’s powerful stuff and they remain a recommendation of the highest account. They would play a new song tonight and it really excited me about the prospect of new recorded music hopefully soon. Congrats Syriak, Leilindel, Chaoth and the whole rest of the gang for always pulling out the stops and leaving us screaming for more. Sigh was up next and would be another new band for me as far as concerts go.
Sigh: The Land Of The Rising Sun has offered the world of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal some interesting bands over the years such as Loudness and EZO to name a few, but there are not many groups who do things the way that Sigh does. Signed to The End Records here in the USA, the band was touring in support of “The Hangman’s Hymn” and the soon to be released EP of Venom covers which definitely was proving to be a night of interesting Metal. I had never really followed Sigh before this show so was intrigued about their delivery of the tunes and found them really nice and heavy from the moment they started. The band is comprised of Mirai Kawashima (vocals/keyboards), Satoshi Fujinami (guitar), Shinichi Ishikawa (guitar), Junichi Harashima (drums) and the one and only Dr. Mikannibal (saxophone/vocals) and while everyone seems really good at what they do with their instruments the key focus is on both Mirai and Mikannibal. Mirai for his insane display of energy from behind the keyboard which instead of being off to the side instead was facing the audience like that of some pulpit, and with Mikannibal for her over the top outfit that consisted of a leather bikini top and super short miniskirt. She was also very energetic and was inspiring the crowd to join her in chants for their tunes and just to get more into it that they were already doing. She must have felt like a celebrity because I didn’t see the flashes from the audience cameras stopping once while she was on the stage. Having a minor background in their material was not phasing me tonight as four songs from their set list would come from the “Hangman” CD while the rest seemed to touch upon their obviously rich back catalog. The band has been around since 1993 and has some seven albums under their belt along with about four EP’s and a couple of what they list as “official bootlegs”. That’s a lot of ground to cover for a band that does not get to this region very often. Having been a Metal fan for quite some time, I can’t say that I remember them ever being here before but I could be wrong. They were most certainly never at B.B. King’s and from the looks of this show, they would definitely be asked to return. During the set I checked with some fans who are friends of mine about what was newer as compared to old and I had to say that I was enjoy the stuff that came from “HH”. It was really heavy and interesting to see how it was executed live. While Mikannibal was going crazy up there by dancing and offering up some vocals, it was totally interesting to me to see just how well the saxophone she played worked within the bands compositions. As a fan of Progressive elements as well, I am never close-minded when it comes to how bands do their thing. After all, the folks in Eluveitie use both a hurdy gurdy and flutes to do their stuff and it works out extremely well. The exciting evening closed out by the band offering up homage to the legendary Venom by playing “Black Metal” as their final number.
This was a cool show to say the least and while it could have been a little more crowded, my guess was that with Opeth performing around the corner in a couple of days that people were picking and choosing their shows a little more carefully. At least it was not as dismal as the Trouble show attendance of the previous day where there were at best 25 people in crowd. I would definitely see Sigh again and shall be digging around for some of their music to be more aware of what they deliver for the next time. I’m also confident that Unexpect will be back and I hope to see more of Ecliptic. From beginning to end this was a satisfying Metal night and those who didn’t join us in the venue missed out on some cool stuffs even though there are quite a few other awesome shows coming up before the month ends.
4. In Velvet
5. Desert Urbania
7. The Fall
9. Chromatic Chimera
Sigh Set List:
4. Hail Horror Hail
6. Death with Dishonor
8. A Victory of Dakini
9. Bring Back the Dead
11. Inked in Blood
12. Black Metal
Since Sigh had been moved up to the headlining spot our friends in Unexpect were now direct support and that meant that their name would also be featured on the marquee. You’ve come a long way babies.
While the Unexpect folks had been here a number of times in the past, this was the first time that their name had been up on this marquee so we felt it very necessary to photograph it for posterity.