in this house of seven gables my crown I wear three pair one from these windows, these portals there stares the observer, the owner, the visitor contemplating the street the sun, the trees sidewalks buckled under root curbs so artfully formed like molded cliffs assessing the neighbors all locked behind doors dwellers in dwellings seeking more but just that fatal one step one move the other side, of that front door to leave the confines into only what was seen and filtered not heard, tasted or felt from within these membranes these walls that contain, and protect one specific flavor one specific intellect
notes… we are in our own prison, we have freedoms but at some point there is freedom from this form, and none of us know what that will be…
So in between sets I looked behind me and there is standing Anna Murphy kind of unassumingly checking out the room and opening act. Other people noticed of course, I didn’t want to be a pain in the ass but definitely wanted to tell her (in some suave manner) how much I love her art (it is art after all). So after some trepidation and a flux of nervous energy I saw the opportunity and jumped in to say a few things… and boy I am glad none of my friends were around, I turned into a 13 year old fan girl faster than you can say my little pony… I had all these lofty things in my head that I thought I might say but… whew, I swerved past that in a nervous rout of sheer geeky fandom, to her credit I am sure she has witnessed plenty of men turn into jelly trying to get out all the feelings/emotions/thoughts as she has been touring for years and been on huge stages in front of massive adulating crowds, I said something in the neighborhood of loving her solo album (which I absolutely do) and how I didn’t need a selfie (gee.. cause I am just too cool for the room but I was probably drooling on myself by this point), I haven’t had that sort of nervous energy in some time… so I made a semi fool of myself, and that’s fine, it certainly was not the first time, and certainly will not be the last, she was absolutely gracious to me and everyone who wanted anything (autographs, photos etc etc)… she took it all in stride and was genuinely appreciative of the fans (this was a tuesday night after all… and 9/11 no doubt). So anyway I was literally vibrating after that for some time anxiously awaiting their set. Side note… In my mind’s eye I didn’t think Anna was that short, I don’t look up people’s vitals when viewing videos but man.. they are all a lot shorter than I pictured in my mind (like from the videos). Not that it matters but it is that much more impressive that someone of Anna’s stature has a 10 story voice, and Merlin? damn, he is a slamming force of nature (no fret Ivo, you rule too, and damn I forgot to google the bass player but I am not going to pretend for this piece that I did, but his bass reminded me of seeing Geddy Lee ages ago as I never saw a bass like that previously). Like I said in my previous post this club has such a strange (but awesome) setup where the band literally has to wade through the audience to get up to the stage. A quick word on the audience, for such a small crowd my fellow cellar darlings (see what I did there..) were a really good crowd, no assholes, really polite, and definitely into it.
So the band finally takes the stage… (they did a quick last minute sound check previously which I am so used to when I was following King’s X all over the east coast back in the late 90’s early 2000’s). I purposely (which is not usually like me) did not check the internet to see what the set list was (well.. I mean, they only have ONE album so… it was just a matter of song order I suppose)… but point being I wanted a total surprise, a total new experience, I really haven’t had the chance to go out to many shows the past few years as none of my friends listen to what I do and I am quite single (applications… ladies? … kidding, having some fun there), so… they opened with Black Moon which is a good choice as it is a pretty simple one to play and gives the sound engineer some leeway to adjust the levels, sure, it is one of their “singles” (is that even a thing anymore?) but it surely is a kick ass song to get the crowd going. A word on their sound engineer, she did a fantastic job (and “she” is important, my years of seeing literally thousands of shows I almost expect some dude working the soundboard, just one of those things, you usually do not see females at that job.. why ? I have no idea nor can I speak to that, but she absolutely crushed it, unfortunately I did not get a chance to tell her so – sound people rarely get the credit they deserve – so kudos to her wherever she is at this moment – after about halfway through song 2 the sound was close to perfect, sometimes the guitar popped up in the mix but overall, especially the hurdy gurdy was spot on). I won’t go through the whole set, I used to be one of those people who wrote down all these things… but I was there singing along to all the words (OK, except the song not in english “Hedonia” – before which Anna quipped “you won’t understand shit” lol, but then amended that because there were some people in the audience that apparently spoke Swiss), so I was banging my head old school, just enjoying the show. The band was fantastic, there was only a couple of mistakes in the entire show and I think I was the only one that noticed being the music nerd I am. Totally tight and in control, Anna.. man, her voice live ? wow… watch the clips, no tricks, no auto tune she just brings it… and as I said previously Merlin just SLAMS on the drums, what a thunder, Ivo and the bass player are friggin robots (in a good way, just exact and damn on time), they basically played the entire album, I liked the song mix (order) they picked, great ebb and flow, they decided not to do the usual “encore” bullshit and Anna just basically said they were going to just play the encore tunes… and they did.
I absolutely loved it all and was pleasantly surprised by “Six Days” which was much better live than on the album (heavier), they did the Queen cover “Prophet” as well but I would have preferred Twin Flames… but I am just a lowly fanboy, still on cloud 9, feeling like I am in my 20’s discovering some new thing that no one knows about. If anyone reads this, and cares about the future of music, go check out Cellar Darling… I don’t understand how people are not beating down the doors for them, they are not some crazy death metal act (ahem, which I love, crazy death metal that is…) but really accessible folk metal/rock with both amazing vocals and great playing overall (without being too prog imo).
Thank you Cellar Darling, for a great experience I will not forget.
Being that they are basically a Swiss band they do not travel these parts often (well, not as this band maybe… as Eluveitie… ok, fair enough). But that said when I first got into Eluveitie it was a little (very) late in the game, in fact when I started googling them they had just broken up ! doh! So… the sometimes lead singer (the amazing Anna Murphy) and two members of Eluveitie (Merlin Sutter, drums and Ivo Henzi, guitars and bass) broke off and formed… Cellar Darling (the name is also the name of Anna’s quite excellent solo album)… so with all that tedious groundwork laid out….
The venue? A legendary (to some), mysterious to others (me) spot located in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, I am very familiar with the area (one of my accounts is literally up the street) but I had no idea this venue (which seems to specialize in the heavier side of the musical spectrum -yay!) even existed… and the beast is called “St. Vitus“… go ahead and check out the link, I’ll wait for you… It looks a lot worse than it actually is inside, I was sort of amused and bemused that there is absolutely no sign on the building, I kind of just drove down manhattan ave until I came to the approximate address… so I just parked… I went to where the place SHOULD be and found THE door that music was behind… and entered…
No pat down (which I was expecting, like the dork I am I wanted to bring a journal and one of my fancy metal pens… oh well, just have to use the ole noggin instead!). Lots of cute satanic stuff adorns the walls but that is just amusing to me… I mean if you believe in satan you are acknowledging some other “good” god, unless you are of the Anton LeVey strain, but that is all a different matter and I do not want to venture off onto another tangent (as I am known to do)… on first glance you think dive bar, but this is a dressed up dive bar with actual clean corners if you look around and inspect, plus they had a good tap menu (although a beer was $8, I know it is a stone’s throw from NYC proper (ie manhattan south) but damn… either way I still tip at least a buck when I buy a drink)… I wound up having a couple of Victory Prima Pils (excellent beer)… I did not want to get buzzed in any fashion as I had a good hour drive home (god bless (or curse) the BQE and the Staten Island Expressway, oy…)… plus it was humid as balls so water was the later option (I know, ruining my party animal image…). The room itself (stage etc) is pretty small, they say capacity is 250…woah, that has to be pushing it…. forward, I might imagine you can fit 300 in here, but only if you include the bar area (which honestly would not be the worst thing in the world…).
So I scoped out the room, picked out a spot, and anchored myself, luckily the crowd was light so planting a flag and defending my turf was not a necessity on this night, I used to be that guy who had to be up front… but with age I just want to hear everything the best I can (and finding THAT spot is a thing, being right in front sucks… trust me even though I get the urge). So there was time to kill.. so of course I people watched (as I am known to do)… there was huge metal guy (with his denim vest from 198? with all the patches from iron maiden forward, sort of like a metal war flag of where he has been, and damn that dude is always like 6’2 or bigger, but there is always one of THAT guy at every metal show, then there is the people competing to wear the oldest concert shirts to show off their metal cred, then there is the disinterested girlfriend dragged there by their totally into metal boyfriend (I totally have been that guy), then there is the spiritual old guy with the fanny pack raising up his hands like he just don’t care with the newly bought band t-shirt tucked in, not sure if he knows where he is, then there is the friends of the local openers, easy to spot, maybe I am cynical and have been to too many concerts? nah… even though I was scoping out the soundboard setup… again I am too into this… I just was in a t-shirt and jeans with my semi soft looking merrells (they are comfy!)… besides I have been all those things I laugh at, so… not judging, more reminiscing…
So I had no idea who the opening band was… usually I could care less (or they stink worse than the skunk that died up your ass 4.5 months ago)… turns out the opener friggin ruled ! They are called Seven)Suns (apparently the “)” thing matters… they played as a trio instead of their usual quartet, which, to me made no difference because I had no idea who the hell they were anyway, so anyway… they basically are excellent classical musicians who are into the heavy stuff and cover same.. ferociously on their instruments (and I do mean ferocious!)…. now, I know not everyone (or more than 14 people at times…) read my blog but I love classical music, I also have always been under the belief that death metal and really technical metal is closer to classical music than most people understand/realize (challenging, exciting, fast, tonal changes etc etc)… so this absolutely blew me away… I think most of the audience was a bit bewildered (by observation) but I totally got it. Nothing like banging your head to classical instrumentation… they played a few “covers” (as if they don’t sound so original..) they had me like “what the hell is that?? I KNOW that!!??!?” for parts of the songs. Their cover if “It’s Love” by Pantera was really damn cool, apparently they don’t like to play it because Phil Anselmo (the lead singer of pantera) did something I have no idea about and frankly am too lazy to google at the moment (I’ll get to it… but cmon, that song rules), they had great vibe and personality, Earl was very amusing and real, Jennifer and Amanda were also great.