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Scandinavian Metal Night w/ Opeth & Enslaved @ The Grand, 5/14/09

May 15, 2009

8pm is just too early for a metal show.


By the time the security line allows me inside, I have to make a mad dash to the photo pit. Enslaved is already on stage, and since I’m a photo pass rookie, it’s a little overwhelming for me to go through the masses to the front of the stage without a little adjustment time. But in 2 songs I got some good shots, and went off to the side to enjoy the rest of the set.


There’s something very epic about this band. If you’ve never heard of them, I would start off with ‘The Watcher‘. They have a unique energy about them; part dramatic, part fun- and when I say fun, I mean it doesn’t go into melodramatic ‘we are Norwegian black metal and we are evil!’ cheese territory like…say….Cradle of Filth. They actually look like they work together as a band, instead of being a bunch of separate egos up on stage. Luckily they were unaffected by the respectful yet stiff and quiet crowd. I was rockin’ out, what was wrong with them?


enslaved gui/key

The guitarist in particular deserves a paragraph of attention. OK, so not only does he have- oh, how do you say- a very nice build, but man, is he intense. He has a stance when he plays, kind of like he’s wrestling with the guitar, like it’s magnetized and he’s trying to keep it away from him. And then he nods his head in quick little bursts. Quite entertaining to watch. Despite his ability to stand out, the other members hold their own. I can’t help but think that some of these guys were inspiration for Dethklok.

The entire time I thought their sound was fairly quiet. At one point it was very low, and someone came out to fiddle with the amps, lowering the sound even more and creating a lot of feedback. The band played through the entire thing without missing beat.

I want to see them again someplace smaller with a more appreciative crowd. Luckily, my photographer friend Alan let me know that they were signing some posters after their set, so I was able to shake their hands and tell them what a great job they did.


Apparently the crowd likes to chant Opeth a lot. It was like someone flipped a switch in the room. When they hit the stage, the pit crowd was screaming every members’ name.

opeth guitar

Opeth are great musicians. Unfortunately, this A) makes them slightly immobile when they play, and B) causes major lulls in energy when they dive into their classically influenced tracks. It’s all a bit confusing, especially when lead singer Mikael opens his mouth.

opeth sing

The best way to describe it would be “Buffy, let’s go to the tennis courts tomorrow”. Just to go from growling to that is a bit much. And he likes to talk a lot. Someone in front yelled for him to take his shirt off, and he touched his chest and said, “mine are firmer than yours” (in that voice). He asks, “Are we a death metal band? Maybe pussy metal” (in that voice). He tells a story of his drummer getting kicked out of a club for fucking a girl in the bathroom, and returning to shit in the sink (in that voice). It was just all too much when he talks like that….I was laughing like it was a comedy show.

It didn’t help that he had a cupholder for his water bottle on his mic stand…so he “doesn’t have to bend over”. Uh-huh.


That said, they sound great live and have a really good rapport with their fans. I can see why some people are crazy about them, but it’s just not for me.

OVERALL: 8.5/10
Opeth performance: 8.5/10
Enslaved performance: 8.75/10
venue (The Grand): 8.5/10
crowd/scene: 7/10
value ($30.00/ticket): 8/10
memorable: 9/10


  1. Wow, totally the same story when I saw this line up on the fifth of May. The venue was smaller, but the sound wasn't so great in the front; the speakers were positioned weirdly.
    Anyway, Mikael was wearing a Conan The Barbarian shirt when he played. Epic.

  2. High On Fire got the same muted response from an Opeth crowd last year at The Grand..

    Arve = Toki! Brilliant.. “What is acoustic? Oh, you mean a grandpa's guitars?”

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