Songkick and Bandsintown do not give a shit that you’re on hiatus — they will still clog up your inbox with show alerts. As such, I ended up going to a few shows even though I was trying to cut back. It worked out pretty great, because it turns out that quality really IS better than quantity. Even though I didn’t go out too often, the shows I did see were superb. Here’s who I saw and enjoyed.
Claim The Throne‘s first North American tour passed through Brooklyn in January, and they are absolutely amazing. It was super irresponsible for me to be out in Williamsburg at 2am, but there was no way I was going to miss these guys. The more sensible members of the crowd trickled out as the night went on and Claim The Throne ended up playing to a crowd of about a dozen people, giving their set a really intimate feel.
The last time I’d seen Metsatöll was at Stage 48, an overcrowded, inconveniently located venue that was clearly never designed to accommodate metalheads. Even though I love the band, the show just wasn’t all it could be. This time though, they played at Irving Plaza to an enthusiastic crowd. Every band (Týr supported and Eluveitie headlined) gave it 100% that night, but Metsatöll really stood out as fantastic.
Yeah, yeah, not metal, whatever. I am a long-time crazed Offspring fanatic, it’s true. Back in the late ’90s when my friends were fawning over boy bands, I was fawning over Noodles and naming my Tamagotchi children “Kevin, Jr.” I got a guitar. I named my diary after Dexter Holland (“Bryana” actually, because how was I going to share my secrets with a BOY diary?).
When I went to see The Offspring in Philadelphia, they played Smash from front to back. Somehow I made my way up to the front and stayed there through their whole set despite pressing bladder concerns. As if that wasn’t great enough, I caught a pick from Noodles. It is now in a Plexiglass case, guarded by trained ferrets (mild exaggeration). Behold its glory:
Despite the fact that most of the band is based in New Jersey, Swashbuckle rarely crosses the river to play here in NYC. It was a huge treat to see them at Gramercy not only because it had been so long since they’d played there, but also because they’re so much fun to hang with! I spent a considerable amount of time just hanging around the merch table shooting the shit with the honorable Admiral NoBeard and drinking inadvisable amounts of “wenches ‘n’ mead” (a themed drink that combined hard cider with Fireball whiskey).
Is it cheating to name two bands from the same show? I’d never heard of them before, but after seeing them go on before Swashbuckle, I was an INSTANT fan and so were many of the other people in attendance. I’ve never seen a crowd grow so quickly. Most of us were kind of lounging around the bottom floor drinking until it occurred to us, “Hey, there’s a band upstairs. Maybe we should check them out.” The Dread Crew of Oddwood was well worth the look, and I still have “When I Sailed” stuck in my head over a month later.
Honorable mentions go to Delain and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, both of whom I really wanted to see but couldn’t for one reason or another.