Concert: Enslaved/Pallbearer/Royal Thunder/Ancient VVisdom (2/4, Minneapolis, MN, Mill City Nights)

**I just realized this is my 100th post! Woo! Maybe someday when I have a real job I can do giveaways for stuff like this!**

About a year and a half ago, Enslaved went to St. Paul with Alcest (!) and I had to miss the show because of a late class. The band was nice enough to sign a poster for me as a consolation prize, which Jamie brought back for me and that was awesome, but I was still bummed that I didn’t get to see them. But now I have! (And now I feel like I might deserve a signed poster).

Once again, the show was at a venue that was new to me. Mill City Nights is, nicely enough, right off the Warehouse District light rail station, which makes it very easy to get to. It is also a much nicer venue than I am used to being in, and I have to be honest, I like Station 4 a lot better. I don’t feel quite so much like I’m being judged; my friend said she feels like they run it a bit like a nightclub sometimes, and that’s what it felt like to me. A lot of security, and a coat check you had to pay for. I mean, the venue was nice, and the sound was very good, but it was a weird experience and I’d much rather be at a place that will allow me to loiter with my friends afterwards.

It’s interesting to see how Enslaved or their label or whoever does it picks the bands that open for them. Last time it was Alcest and (was supposed to be) Ghost; this time it was all bands from the United States South. I appreciate the variety, however; death metal shows, for instance, are usually not too good about varying the bands on the lineup, although I suppose there is something to be said too about six hours-worth of death metal.

The opening band was Ancient VVisdom from Austin, Texas. They are an interesting band; their drummer stands the entire time, their vocalist used a chain for sound effects on one song, and they have an acoustic guitar player. Although the music was pretty standard hard rock (it reminded me of a lot of the stuff that was on the radio when I was a kid), there was a certain Southern tinge to it, perhaps as a result of the acoustic guitar. The lyrics were also centered around Satan, which I found very interesting- people where I come from tend to be scared of the Devil in a way that most people aren’t , and he is certainly not something you ever talk about. It was a little refreshing to see a Southern band do it, then. They played a strong set; Jamie saw them a while back when they opened for someone else, and he said that they were much better this time (the sound was messed up when he’d seen them previously). That being said, they really were not my thing (although I did appreciate the acoustic guitar).

[Live at Roadburn. I think they’d grow on me if I let them. Certainly original]

Next up was Royal Thunder, who I was really happy to see added to the bill a few weeks ago. Royal Thunder is that dirty, sludgy sound that the Georgia bands do so well, and they also have a female vocalist (hooray for girls in metal!). Her voice is awesome- it has a gravely growl to it and really complements the music well. They were also a three piece for our set- I’m not sure what happened to the other guitarist, but the sound was still very solid despite his absence. I had expected many more people up on stage than just three- their sound is tremendous. They played a very solid set, and I am really glad I got to see them perform live.


Then was the mighty Pallbearer, who played easily one of the heaviest sets I have ever seen. Holy crap. The speakers were turned up so loud that the vocalist kept getting feedback when the sound guy tried to turn the vocals up. As a result, the vocals were a little hard to hear from where we were. Jamie went out to smoke at one point and said that you could hear a little better from further back, though. One of the drummer’s cymbals fell over during the first song, but Ancient VVisdom’s vocalist ran onstage and righted it, and it was quickly fixed before the second song. My gosh were they amazing. Heavy heavy heavy dooom. I am going to have to catch them headlining sometime, when I can maybe see them play more than three songs.


Finally, Enslaved took the stage (and the sound, thank goodness, was better)! They were incredible! They played a lot of stuff from the new album, including Materal, which is obviously the best song on RIITIIR. They also played quite a bit of their more recent material. I was a little worried for a while; they’d played about 45 minutes already, and although I do enjoy Enslaved’s newer material, I prefer the black metally old stuff. It was silly of me to worry, though. Ivar Bjørnson brought out the black guitar, the signal for “the old stuff is coming.” They then proceeded to play another 45-50 minutes of their older material. It was insane- if you go to see Enslaved on this tour, you will definitely get your money’s worth. They ended with their cover of the Immigrant Song, which was a lot of fun to see live, and came out and played Isa as an encore (yeeeessssssss). It was an excellent set, a great end to a night of really good music.



Over at the merch table, I picked up a couple of more buttons (Ancient VVisdom and Royal Thunder) and an Enslaved shirt. They had a lot of really cool shirts to choose from (including a white RIITIIR shirt, holy crap), but I couldn’t resist the Frost shirt.


All and all it was a really awesome evening despite vocal difficulties and missing guitarists. Enslaved was everything I hoped they would be, and they had something for everyone in their set. My getting to see Enslaved was a long time in the making, and they did not disappoint. Pallbearer was also earth-shattering; I wish the vocal sound was better, but it couldn’t be helped, and they sounded fantastic even still. Royal Thunder was as much fun live as I expected they would be, and Ancient VVisdom was a really interesting and original band, if not quite my style. Overall, ‘twas a good night.

(I promise I am doing my best to update this whenever I can. School is insane this semester. Just did a big presentation that went off without a hitch, but that means I get to devote less time here. I’m working on it. I promise).

Coming up soon- a review of RIITIIR (where I can go into detail of why Materal is the best song on the album), some more updates to my jacket, a bit on the new metal record store in St. Paul (because St. Paul is cool too!), and a review of the local black metal show I’ll be going to on Saturday. Whew. A lot, basically (and there’s more where that’s coming from, as long as I can make time to post things).



3 Responses to “Concert: Enslaved/Pallbearer/Royal Thunder/Ancient VVisdom (2/4, Minneapolis, MN, Mill City Nights)”

  1. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  2. […] I saw. I’m still not sure how I feel about the venue, although the sound was much better than last time when we couldn’t hear the vocals during Pallbearer’s set and it is a nice space to accommodate […]

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