of the Underground Tour
July 9, 2006 - Chicago, IL. - First
Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
reviewed by Brodie
Metal is not dead, as the current lineup
of the Sounds of the Underground tour that came through Chicago this past
weekend has proven. Of course, metal fans have known for some time that
metal is not dead, with the likes of the Ozzfest monopolizing the summer
touring circuit, and while many of the big name metal acts that frequent
that tour were not here, there were still a number of good bands, mixed
in with a few subpar ones, that made the day all a metal fan could ask
for, and at a fraction of the price of the 'other fest' that would be coming
through soon after.
There were definite good points and bad
points to the day that held the SOTU. Many of the bands in the fixed time
slots early in the day seemed a bit rushed, due to their shorter set times.
This afforded them little opportunity to interact with the fans, aside
from through the music. It was apparent that some didn't mind, while some
seemed a bit hurried, in an attempt to get the fans access to as much music
The sound for the tour was good for the
most part, especially considering the quick turnaround times between sets.
For the main acts, however, the sound didn't seem quite as good as it could
have been. In Flames, for instance, suffered from the music being too loud,
and vocals too soft. While the band sounded SUPER tight, vocalist Anders
Friden's microphone seemed like it could have been higher up in the mix.
A minor problem, but an issue nonetheless.
Now for the bands. Most of them, whether
or not you were a fan, were easy to get into. All the bands on the bill
did an excellent job at getting the crowd into the music, involving them
whenever possible, and even sharing water with the throngs of fans who
stood out in the heat all day. There were a few bands that, while they
got the fans into the music, seemed to be more of a filler than a band
that people were really psyched about seeing.
Through the Eyes of the Dead-good
band, with a lot of energy. They were a great way to kick off the day.
It was apparent that their fans were eager to hear more music, and it's
a shame they weren't able to oblige.
Horse the Band-filler. I can't remember
much of this band's set, aside from the fact that I was waiting through
it to get to the next band. Highly forgettable.
The Chariot-I saw the Chariot with
Underoath back in November. They had a different lineup back then, and
impressed me far more than they did this day. If nothing else, it seemed
as though they were still adjusting to the addition of two new members.
Behemoth-I saw a lot of Behemoth
merch shirts being sported on the grounds. After hearing them live, I can
see why. Behemoth is an interesting band….part cliché satanic metal,
part KISS (in the way of similarly painted faces), part face-ripping metal.
The last part was what got me. Behemoth put on such a good, energetic show,
they had EVERYONE into their set. It was hard not to want to move when
they were playing. While I would probably never go out and buy a Behemoth
cd, they were easily one of the best bands musically of the non-headliners.
The Black Dahlia Murder-Another
great set by another great band. BDM tore up the stage, and even if vocalist
Trevor Strnad mistakenly referred to his adoring crowd as "Cleveland" (the
tour's previous stop). All in all, they owned the stage while they were
on the stage, and there was quite a buzz about them throughout the day.
GWAR-After what seemed like an hour,
GWAR hit the stage. If you've heard Gwar, you know all about them. If you
don't know about Gwar…….hide.
Converge- The most hardcore-influenced
band on the bill (along with Terror), Converge hit the stage after Gwar,
proclaiming that they had, 'no gimmicks, nothing to say, just music'. They
proceeded to throw down through their set with a ton of energy. It seemed
as if the more metal-leaning fans weren't quite as into them, which is
a shame, because Converge is a great band. That's not to say that people
weren't into their set, just not as into them as they were for other bands
throughout the day.
act, Terror also owned the stage, as well as their fans, while they occupied
it. Plenty of energy gave way to a solid set from this Boston hxc band.
It's obvious to see the roots they have with old-school hardcore, and their
allegiance to it. Terror was definitely a highlight of the day.
Cannibal Corpse-Hard to believe
these guys are still going. They get props if for nothing else, for still
doing what they love. The highlight of this set for me was seeing a guy
in the crowd, EASILY 60+ years old, with a confederate flag bucket hat,
getting down to CC's set. That's not a shot at CC, nor at the old guy rockin'
out, but more of a testament to CC's staying power in an ever-evolving
Trivium-These guys nearly outdid
everyone else on the bill. Trivium played such a good set that one would
have thought they were actually headlining. Unfortunately, they were only
able to play for about 30 minutes, but it was evident just how many people
were there to see them, and they definitely did not disappoint.
In Flames-I had heard a lot about
In Flames prior to the show, and knew they were well loved by many. They
put on a great show, and it was finally late enough in the day that utilizing
the lightshow worked to their advantage. As previously mentioned, vocals
in the mix for this set were far too low. They put on a good show, although
after while, for someone who is unfamiliar with them, every song started
sounding alike. They came out of the gate strong, but by the end of their
set, I was kinda glad it was over. Maybe a listen to their cd would produce
a different effect. I hope so.
As I Lay Dying-AILD were supposed
to hit the stage by 9:00pm, but because the entire day was running behind
(due to a delay before Gwar's set for a wedding happening on the grounds),
everything else in the day ran late. Even when AILD hit the stage at around
9:50, many of the fans were still in attendance, toughing out a 30 minute
wait between In Flames and AILD. When they finally hit the stage, the place
went nuts. AILD's set ran the gamut, as they played songs from all three
albums and kept the crowd moving. There was plenty of energy during their
set, even more so than many of the bands before them, and they did not
disappoint. Tim Lambesis was sure to thank all the fans not only for coming,
but for sticking with them after an entire day of bands before them.
One has to think that while headlining
is an advantage, it is a double-edges sword, as you get the fans, especially
on a day like that day, tired, cranky, and almost ready for the day to
end, even in spite of their excitement. AILD was sure to acknowledge this,
and they didn't disappoint.
The Sounds of the Underground tour is a
perfect summer event for those not wanting to pay through-the-nose ticket
prices to see some of their favorite metal bands. While the overall lineup
didn't quite measure up to last year's lineup, it was still a steady dose
of good metal and hardcore that left most in attendance satisfied. And
while seeing these bands in a smaller, more intimate club setting is usually
better, the bands did all they could to still connect with the fans, holding
meet-and-greet sessions, mingling with the fans, and hanging out all day
instead of retreating to their tour bus until it was their time to play.
If you have the chance to see this tour come to your town, don't pass it
the official tour homepage
tickets to this tour
articles for this tour
a friend about this review
Photos by Brodie Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Krause / Iconoclast Entertainment
Group All Rights Reserved