Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 15, 2015: Veil of Maya, live at the Blue Moose Tap House

Today was a wonderful adventure.

It started when my pal Jimmy came in from Waterloo. We were both excited to see Veil of Maya at the Blue Moose Tap House here in IC, but he arrived five hours early. Of course, we did what normal college-aged men do, ate food and dicked around. Pepper Jax was our first stop. I put a french fry behind my ear as a joke, but then I forgot about it when we left the restaurant. We decided that if it stayed in my ear throughout the concert, I'd have to eat it. We then commenced walking through random alleyways, looking at the artwork of vandals, and sitting in a museum of dead animals. We killed the last hour just goofing off with two of Jimmy's friends we chanced to meet outside the venue. I was never a big deathcore dude, so I had little expectation for what lied ahead.

At 5 o'clock we got in and I immediately put a stout in my hand; beer is essential for the beginning acts. The very first act of the night was no exception. A metalcore band called the Point Past Insanity kicked things off. Things were very shaky. Less than a minute into their first song, they stopped and restarted the song. There was immediate enmity towards their drummer, expressed by both guitarist and vocalist. However, I would not place the fault for the band's inability to work cohesively in one member; all were at fault, but they were able to regroup during their second (and final) song. I will give the band credit for wearing their own merch; this shows they're definitely trying to market themselves, as a lot of openers will go through a set without making their identities known. Also, I must note, this is one of the two instances where the the "hardcore ninja" was at work here. You all know that guy: he's the dude who shows up at every -core show who seems to be desperate to prove he's the most hardcore guy around by being an asshole in the pit by pulling out karate moves. This dude was literally forcing people into his level by pulling them in and doing some acrobatic kicks. I put myself on the fringes with hopes of being ensnared (so I could teach him a lesson), but he stopped after the first song.

Next up was a band called Doppleganger.  I was pretty interested to see this group because the bassist was in my literature class the previous semester. I remembered him mentioning he was in a band, but I never imagined it to be something like this. Doppleganger plays prog-core (I'm coining that genre) that combines ferocity and sophistication in one fell swoop. I was thoroughly impressed by these dudes.

The third band to take the stage was Invent, Animate. It was extremely hard for me to analyze what was going on on-stage because most of the action was in the audience. This is where the -core kids got particularly crazy... well, one of them at least. The vocalist for Invent, Animate must be extremely charismatic, because a select few of the crowd were absolutely ravenous. There was one dude in particular who was absolutely insane. He got onstage and tried to stage dive, but ended up hovering for a moment before falling like a rock. I couldn't tell if he was drunk before this or if the dullness in his countenance was the result of a concussion; a fellow audience member tried to break him away from the show, but he was having none of it. He and several others grabbed the singer and would drag him down to their level. I'm sure the vocalist probably was in desperate need of a nap after that, just as the audience member may have been in need of an MRI.

After the Burial came on next and all I can say is HOLY SHIT.  These boys hadn't played a live show in four months and they made up for it big time. Vocalist Anthony Notarmaso was in command of us all. I was forced to headbang beat my fist into the stage. Every instrument brought me life; whenever people behind me moshed into me, I'd push them back and they'd leave me alone a while-- a rarity for little ole me. The brutality pulsated through my body and everyone else's. When the ended their set, everyone called for one more song; sadly, it was not meant to be. Jimmy thought Veil of Maya had made a mistake putting them on before them, as they had raised the bar considerably.

I think everyone was interested to see what would ensue in Veil of Maya since this would be the first performance with their new vocalist, Lukas Magyar. Could have fooled me. I would have thought he had performed with them for ten years. The dude was on fire. He jumped from place to place, assaulting your ears with his growls. He'd get right in your face and scream into the mic, maybe being two inches away while staring you right in the eyes. Lukas wasn't disconnected with his audience; he was right there with you. My attention also drifted towards bass player Danny Hauser. Holy crap! He was dripping with presence, too. There was something about how he'd slink across the stage like a leopard that seduced the eye. Once ensnared, you couldn't help but be astounded by his playing; I don't think I've ever seen any kind of -core band-- let alone a tech-deathcore band-- with a bassist playing slap-bass. It was pretty damn remarkable.

After the show, I went outside with sore legs, a raspy voice, and Veil of Maya's latest album; if you exit a venue any other way, you're either doing it wrong or a physiological anomaly. And if you're wondering what became of that french fry from earlier... it stayed.

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