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I Scream, You Sing: Epica, Threat Signal, Blackguard @ Slim's, 2/17/10

February 18, 2010

I arrived early for my interview with Threat Signal, and enter an empty Slim’s. I’ve never been in this venue when it’s empty…it seems much bigger that way. I’m led down to the dressing room- the belly of Slim’s is a cavernous place. I was told that the band might prefer to do the interview after their set- when they’ve had a few beers- so I walk in unsure if I should be ‘business HRC’ or ‘fun HRC’. They clear a space on the couch for me, and we’re talking for a bit, and then all of a sudden they get quiet and look at me. So I look at the singer, Jon, and go, “do you want to do it now?”

Note to self: do not say the words ‘do it’ in a dressing room full of boys.

The rest of the guys laughed and said, ‘well..should we leave the room?’ After we settled back down, the interview proceeded, and then I was on my merry way back up to the main floor and outside with the rest of the kids.

Once we were back inside, Blackguard‘s set quickly started. I saw them about 3 months ago open for Ensiferum down the street at DNA Lounge (which they mentioned and said was the best show of that tour). These guys (and a girl drummer!) have a lot of energy. They constantly move about the stage, and the crowd LOVES them. At one point this guy and girl who were up front took off to the middle of the crowd to thrash about. I thought they were fighting. It was kind of a weird maneuver, but, hey, to each his own.

Blackguard / Threat Signal / Epica

Threat Signal really doesn’t fit on this bill. Sandwiched in between melodic metal bands, they brought the hard and heavy. The crowd seemed slightly stunned. Jon’s vocals sounded just as good live as I had hoped for. The whole band had a aire of confidence usually reserved for bands that have been around for longer. Because I was standing close to Travis, I got to see his guitar solos up close. WOW. It was the kind of thing where not once, but twice, I turned around and looked at my friend and we just exchanged the nod that means ‘this guy is really like really really good’. And we’re not talking noodling guitar for the sake of being noodly guitar solos- this is real speedy metal guitar. And he’s only 20! Travis- don’t forget who interviewed you before you were big and famous!

Blackguard / Threat Signal / Epica

Blackguard / Threat Signal / Epica

Blackguard / Threat Signal / Epica

An interesting thing occurred before Epica: old dudes pushed their way in front of me. Wanna know why they were there?

‘This chick is hot!!!!!!’

Dudes are dudes no matter how old they get.

Epica is a very interesting band to me. In fact, I think I watched the set kind of cocking my head from side to side, like when a dog is trying to figure something out. So Epica is fronted by a truly beautiful red headed woman with a voice like an angel. I mean, her voice is absolutely amazing. She could be an opera star, have won American Idol, perform on Broadway….but she fronts a metal band. She’s up there singing astutely from the depths of her diaphragm, headbanging with a fan underneath her to make it look all magical hair commercial-ly, occasionally forming the most unmenacingly delicate horns with her pale white hand. The music is good- some songs I could stand behind when the guys growled, but then she would always come in and I would scratch my head. But the thing is…she is why the band is successful.

I have never seen a room so quickly become filled with the chemicals of every girl wants to be her, every guy wants to do her. Some younger girls pushed their way in front of me, filming the show with one hand and mimicking her arm motions with wanton looks on their faces. Hell, I think I even wanted to be her for a second!

It was interesting to watch a set with guys constantly looking at each other going, ‘she’s so fucking hot!’ all night. While I would never listen to Epica, it will definitely go down as one of the most different metal bands I have seen.

Blackguard / Threat Signal / Epica

Blackguard / Threat Signal / Epica

I went home and practiced headbanging with a fan underneath me.


  1. Can't really get in to bands like Epica. It didn't help that my first exposure to that microgenre was seeing Within Temptation, and watching their singer do the shittiest Stevie Nicks impersonation I'd ever seen while their keyboard player was FAKING IT. Just left a bad taste in my mouth, I guess.

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