Every once in a while, a show comes to town where the excitement leading up to it is palpable. This was the case with the recent GAIN Music & KronikNoise event – Misery Signals, The Color Morale, Intervals, The Kindred, and Arkham Awaits at Club Vinyl on Saturday, July 13.
The night was abuzz early on, and by 5:30 pm a lineup was already forming down Macdonell St. outside of the club. About an hour later, a sizable crowd made their way in to catch hometown boys Arkham Awaits. Saturday was a gorgeous, hot day in Guelph, and when Arkham Awaits dug into their set, it was already hard to ignore the rising temperature inside. The guys played a set of crowd favourites and ended with “A Siege Upon Us” which, in my opinion, has one of the most beautiful intros I’ve heard in a long time – but then ramps up, stirring the crowd into a frenzy. Every time I see Arkham Awaits, I find myself wondering how screamer Kyle Bushert manages those intense, ripping vocals, while maintaining such a great tone throughout the set. Kyle’s screams are perfectly complemented by singer/guitarist Levin Maaskant, and backed up by an extremely talented and technical band. Arkham Awaits‘ music is both interesting and catchy; their song structures have a lot changes – keeping the listener fully engaged, while their melodies keep the listener grounded and craving more. I’ve said it before – not many bands get this formula right, but Arkham Awaits does.
Ottawa-based progressive metal band The Kindred (formerly known as Today I Caught the Plague) took to the stage next, offering up a bit of a different sound. They reminded me just a little bit of The Mars Volta with a touch of European metal flare. They didn’t necessarily look like your “typical metal band.” In fact, lead singer David Journeaux was downright dapper in his button down shirt and chinos. But don’t get me wrong, this was not about fashion – he delivered some impressive vocals and a very engaging performance. Many of the songs began with moody, atmospheric intros, giving way to heavy riffs. By the third song, the audience was all theirs. The Kindred is a band I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on – they have a new album due out this fall that promises to be interesting.
The Color Morale from Illinois was slotted to play just before Misery Signals, and if their job was to pump up the crowd for what was to come, they were extremely successful. With their guitarists and bassist being just as active on stage as their frontman, few bands look like they’re having such fun on stage as The Color Morale does. This was the point in the night when the crowd really got fired up. A shout-out to photographer Brandon Marsh who battled the pit to get us these great shots. To an outsider, the pit at a metal show may look like a very violent place – but it’s violence without malice. There are few finer ways to blow off steam than in a metal pit, and you’d be surprised at how people take care of each other in there.
Sometime around 10 pm Misery Signals from Wisconsin hit the stage. This is the band everyone had been looking forward to all night, and they certainly did not disappoint. Well over 200 people filled Club Vinyl to take in the act. By this time, I’m sure the temperature in the pit must have been pushing 30°C, but Misery Signals didn’t let it show – the band dished out a ton of energy, and the crowd fed it right back to them. The audience was dense enough to support some stage diving and crowd surfing. After seeing Misery Signals, it’s hard to resist the urge to get in on the fun – their infectious riffs make you wanna just jump right in. And I overheard more than one person in the audience say the band was so tight, that the concert sounded as good as a recording.
Hard to believe, but after all that, the night still wasn’t over. The fun continued next door at Jimmy Jazz with a free after-party where Southern Ontario’s Eaten by Sharks and Deterrence proceeded to melt everyone’s faces off. By 2 am, there was nothing left to do but grab some cheap Chinese food and drag our hot, sticky selves home.