The Big Apple last found Kittie hitting the stage back in August of 2011 and sadly I had to miss that particular gig since the mighty Kamelot was also making an appearance after a lengthy absence from the region. For the show the ladies were proudly unveiling their latest bit of Metal wares in one “I’ve Failed You” that came care of their E1 Entertainment label. Now the release has had a little steam and it was great to find them returning to give those who missed it the chance to catch up a little bit. The tour was almost entirely a Canadian Metal invasion and would bring along Blackguard as support with The Agonist and Bonded By Blood. Having never seen BBB before and since I liked all the other openers I made sure to arrive nice and early to see what the entire evening would be like. Here is the scoop.
Bonded By Blood: The dudes in Bonded By Blood are an interesting lot since they are not only on one of the most extreme labels out there with their place on Earache Records, but they also appear to take their name from an incendiary tune by the one and only Exodus. Add these two things together and the band delivers a massive thrashing to the skull with their material. I was seeing them for the very first time tonight but I will tell you that I liked what I was seeing and hearing. They were intense and precise and so very, very into giving you their all. I did a little investigation about the guys when they were at the merchandise table and learned that they have two albums out on Earache already and a new one coming soon. Their set was a small sample of the two older albums and then the remainder of the forthcoming. That gave the audience who was in the venue early enough to enjoy them a great sneak peek into what the band had in store for them. I will definitely check them out again in the future if my schedule allows. Good luck to Bonded By Blood. You guys come off strong out of the gate and we wish you well.
The Agonist: Interestingly enough, the last time that I caught The Agonist was when they were on that aforementioned Kamelot show and since I’ve enjoyed them since the very beginning I was happy to find them as a part of this ¾ Canadian Metal tour. Tonight would find lead guitarist Danny Marino back at the command as he was not here that last time around due to some personal business and I admit that anytime that I read that, I look too deeply into it. The pains of music journalism where you think some information is hiding X-Files secrets. Insert sigh of relief. The band hit the stage first and laid down some heavy riffs before Alissa White-Gluz charged to the front like a growling banshee. It was great to once again witness the audience being behind them because there have been times where a lackluster response was given in this region and the reasons still eludes me on that as they are nice and solid live. They would open with “Thank You Pain” and then deliver one of their new numbers “Ideomotor” which is coming from their soon to be released album “Prisoners”. This was a fast-paced and focused set from the band and at six songs appeared to give us a couple from each of the releases including the new one. They were done before you knew it unfortunately but many of the band members were available at the merchandise table to sign and help move their wares. Tonight the merchandise would be upstairs as opposed to down in the lower section which surprised me. A few more people had filed in but there was not yet much of a crowd which saddened me just a little. The full Agonist set was “Thank You, Pain”, “Ideomotor”, “Panophobia”, “Business Suits and Combat Boots”, “And Their Eulogies Sang Me To Sleep”, and “The Escape”. Make sure you pick up their new album when it comes out. Next up……BLACKGUARD!
Blackguard: Okay, I have officially lost count on how many times that I have seen Blackguard and I am sure that many of you readers are in the same boat because the band for the last couple of years has been on almost as many show rosters as Warbringer. I’ll keep my details about the band brief and to the general point because they’ve been documented here so much it risks sounding the same. As usual they continue to hit the stage with thunderous vitality and thanks to all of these past gigs have successfully built up a strong fan following of their own. I actually was turned onto them by the kind blue haired screamer who had just finished her set and I thank her to this very day. When they last played they had one of the members of Destrophy filling in on guitar detail for the absent Kim Gosselin. It would soon come to light that the lead guitarist was no longer a part of the bands lineup and now they would have yet another person in for the tour. His name is Gabriel Guardiola and he hails from a band called Immortal Guardian that is based out of San Antonio, Texas. Mind you I needed to secure all this information quick as I did not recognize the talented young player at all. He did the job well for sure and as this run of dates had been on for a while it seemed as though he was up to snuff. Perhaps he can work with both bands and end up helping his own in the end. The set list was a lot of what I had seen the band do since their latest release “Firefight” had come out but when they blasted into “The Sword” from “Profugis Mortis”, the vocal part done by Alissa White-Gluz on the recording would instead be live. That made sense since the singer is on the tour. At the close of the number she appeared on the stage to share it with Ablaze and it very simply ruled. They would close with “The Fear Of All Flesh” and leave their fans screaming. Now a quick changeover would give us the sounds of Kittie and wow it was super early. This event was running like a machine. I liked that for sure.
Kittie: The girls were up and ready for action very quickly this evening and I guess that the timely nature we were so far experiencing was based on the venue having an early curfew for this performance. After seeing so many incredibly late shows I surely didn’t mind an early one for a change. The most significant change right off the bat with Kittie was the absence of Ivy Vujic who had left the lineup some months ago to follow a different path as clothing entrepreneur and wife to the singer of Gwen Stacy. We wish her the best as we greatly enjoyed what she brought to the table. Moving forward, the upside to Ivy’s departure would be the return of the wonderful Trish Doan who was a definite fan favorite and had recorded their “Funeral For Yesterday” album and done some extensive touring before leaving the band for personal concerns. Now healthy, and a retooled Metal musician of purpose, she is back for the attack and ready to leave you breathless at each performance. Welcome back Trish. The show kicked in like a shot and the girls would open with “I’ve Failed You” which is the title of their newest release. A solid track for sure and yet the title surprises me still because I don’t think Kittie has failed anyone. See, it’s that writer thinking again; so anyways the sound was raw and heavy which is always what I like about a Kittie show. This is one band that you cannot assume you got the scoop about from only listening to their albums. You do need to see them in the live sense to see the bigger picture. It was a great way to start.
“My Plague” from the bands previous recording “In The Black” was up next and with singer Morgan Lander (now looking fatal in her black tresses) unable to really leave the microphone area, it was up to guitarist Tara McLeod and Trish to bound from side to side of the stage and believe me these ladies were keeping you focused. The girls all seem to know how to play to their audience and as I glanced around the assembled folks tonight I saw many familiar faces that I would normally see at a Kittie show. The diehards always come right? Let’s hope they keep spreading the word though because there is strength in numbers. The composition of the set was an interesting one and it was nice to see it playing with a number of different albums because the fans do tend to expect certain numbers and I think every group has tune that “they must never leave out”. I was a latecomer to the Kittie camp myself and only really started digging into them when “Funeral For Yesterday” had come out and then I did some backward research. Anyway, I digress. I was trying to get at the fact that they did deliver a number of solid choices from across a great range of releases and no one seemed miffed by the look of it. For those who like to know the setup of the stage, I wanted to quickly mention that drummer Mercedes is now using a bit of a scaled down kit. I loved her larger pink double bass setup but I guess that all gets tiresome to always bring around. I also need to add how much Tara has impressed me as a guitar goddess. I felt she was really good when I first saw her at B.B. King’s those few years ago, but now she is truly exceptional at it.
Tonight Morgan was keeping the banter between her and the crowd a little bit on the minimal side and while we would get the occasional “come on New York” there was not all that much extended dialogue. That’s okay because it lets her be different in the audiences eyes and wonder how their next experience might be. She did talk about the new album and how fun it was to do the release party show for it in NYC back in August. Fine Morgan. Rub it in. Thanks ? While Morgan seemed to be a little more serious this evening, the returning Trish looked like she was a kid in a candy shop and was feeding off the positive energy of the fans. That was a nice way to be welcomed back in my humble opinion. All in all the new release would find four of its numbers performed tonight and as they had opened with a tune from it so would they close in the same fashion. The final song of the night would be “We Are The Lamb” and the track has a fantastic video that will appeal to all the fans of “The Walking Dead”. Trust me; you are going to want to see this one. With that the show was over and since we were on the main venue floor there was no real ability to convene at the merchandise stand for the fans like they sometimes do downstairs. I noticed several disappointed folks faces who I guess had hoped Kittie would come to their table to perhaps sign some things. I was not sure if there was any sort of pre-show meet for the fans at this one since I was otherwise occupied. Sometimes there are and sometimes, well, not. The band’s full headlining set appeared to be just over one hour in time even though there were sixteen songs performed. Kittie does not have Dream Theater length songs after all.
This was a solid show from beginning to end and I give points to all of the performers on a job well done. The only real downside would be in the rather limited attendance for this show. Tonight would find three events of the Metal kind going on and all doing so in close proximity. We had Destruction and Warbringer going on up at B.B. King’s while over at Irving Plaza there was Steel Panther who were back for the third visit this year I think. I’ll venture to guess that none of these shows affected each other because these bands all have their own unique set of followers. The Destruction fans that I know were not going to debate seeing them or Kittie nor would the Kittie fans I know debate the same way about Destruction. If their favorite band is in town that is where they pointed themselves. I think with Kittie just having been here in August might have been more of the issue. Who’s to know in the end. This was a good time and a nice change of pace to have an early night of Metal that would not leave me shot to pieces the following day based on the ending hour. Thanks for visiting Kittie, see you all again soon.
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Official Web Site: www.kittierocks.com
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/blackguard
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/theagonist
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/bondedbyblood
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