Show In Review: Amon Amarth Goes Berserk at HoB Las Vegas
I could not contain my excitement while I was at my office. I was ecstatic to be meeting Amon Amarth in a mere matter of hours. My focus on other things was there but the 1.5 liter drinking horn I had purchased specifically for them to sign was sitting on my desk
staring me in my face every time I looked away from the electrical line diagrams on my 3 monitor set up.
It was like a game of show and tell minus the extra pizzazz of having their signatures on this giant hollowed out ox horn of wonder. I went through my plans to get a leather harness for it to hang upon the frame I planned to put my signed poster in (that came with my meet and greet package) to be on display in my living room for house guests to admire and to spur memories of the show in my own mind periodically.
I left the office at 330 to head off to the venue which was only about a mile away and go there super early to park Ernest (my truck) and gleefully made my way down to check in at the front of the venue. I was met by friendly faces in battle vests adorned with various patches. The gathering of metal-heads included Ian, an equally gleeful fan of Melodic Death Metal and follower of Into The Pit With Annie.
Jeff Loomis from Arch Enemy just so happened to be walking by. At firts a gent that
appeared to be a tour manager or otherwise affiliated team member said no, but then Jeff turned around and was graciously adamant on taking photos with his fans rather than alienating them. Which in itself is awesome. Knowing that the main 3 bands on the bill had fans who paid for meet and greets to do the same, it was nice to see it wasn’t all about the money for him and he was open to getting photos. Four of us managed to snag a photo with him as a group. I was asked to block his frappacino from view while the tour manager guy took the photo. We managed to get Ian his own individual photo with Jeff as well before he headed back in and the gent who was doing meet and greet check ins for Amon Amarth came out to start taking roll call of who was who and give out lanyards.
Being VIP is a little different. And every venue is also different with this. I am still not used to it. I am used the days when I could only spare enough to pay for GA tickets ONLY for me and not even that often. Missing tons of concerts and regretting it but adulting
none-the-less. I always feel like yes I’m paying to meet these musicians in some cases but at the same time I am just not worthy. But It was comforting to know that I am known by the staff and was able to ask the right questions to the right people to make sure I understood where I could and couldn’t go and when.
Puppet Guitarist Chris Garcia also joined the group of fans patiently waiting outside of the venue for the time we would be let in to meet our metal idols. He had brought a guitar for Arch Enemy to sign. It was the largest item I saw a fan bring with them for any of the bands to sign. Luckily all the VIP merch and signed personal items were able to be
placed back in our parked vehicles before doors to ensure they were not destroyed during the musical festivities.
Once it was time for the actual meet and greet to occur they had us line up and wait in single file. I chatted up the berserkers that were dressed in full viking garb while I waited my turn as the 2nd to last person in line. They made it super awks for me by asking if me and my buddy Tony were together. Tony’s girlfriend was waiting patiently upstairs for him to come back after he was done shaking hands.
The meet and greet wasn’t as exciting as the expectations I had set in my head. I was expecting to be able to watch them sign my horn and shake their hands and maybe even
hug one of them but also just have it be an extra level of exhilarating. They had us hand them the items to be signed and made us wait on the other side of the screen while they signed them before waving us forward to shake their hands and take our photo. We did not get to see the photo before it was added to the online portal days later so for all I knew at the time I looked like shit. ( I didn’t but that was my worry until I saw my photo posted).
Because I had meet and greets I was able to get back into the venue pre-doors and was able to snag a spot on the much coveted barricade (stage right which turned out to be amazing!).
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
room on the stage . JB was shoved far off in front of where I was standing on stage right while Ludwig and Fox were on the far side of stage left. I could only imagine what their stage movement and banter is like when they have more space to play with. But all and all I can’t say I was disappointed.
and the length of time that these metal veterans have been sharing their art with the world. It is astonishing to me that I have not managed to see them live sooner. My buddy Kip even found his way up to where I was at the barricade to rock out with me. This dude possibly loves metal more than I do or at least at an equivalent level.
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Century Media Records
The last time I saw At The Gates was roughly a year prior to this in Oct 2018 with Behemoth and Wolves in the Throne Room at the Van Buren in Phoenix, AZ . That in itself was an amazing show.
Tomas Lindberg is super animated on stage, engaging the crowd with every song without fail. He makes sure to go from end to end of the stage for full
effect so no one feels left out. There are a lot of vocalists that, even with room to play / move on stage, favor one side or the other. Mr. Linderberg is not one of them. He wants to see all your faces melt off.
But it’s not all about the front man, Jonas B (Bass) , Jonas S (Guitars) , Adrian (Drums) and Martin (Guitars) all seem to feed off each-other with the same level of energy. Grinning from ear to ear clearly doing what they love and taking queues from the excitement of the crowd.
A decent sized pit opened up in the middle of the floor for House of Blues and it churned at an even yet brutal pace. While the pit spun on the floor the band played At War With Reality , Slaughter of the Soul, Cold, Blinded by Fear , Death and the Labyrinth, The Night Eternal and more.
Before their set began Steph met me at the barrier to rage for the rest of the show. During the set there was a drunk patron who had started to lean on me and other people
around us and then proceeded to try and get in-between me and her. I wont lie, the dude almost got punched. In an effort to bar this drunkard from further violating her space, I essentially acted like her butch lesbian lover and put my arm around her protectively anchoring my fist on the barricade.
After their performance reached its climax and then its conclusion I managed to snag a set list from one of the security guys in the photo pit after a stage hand had thrown it to the ground. While I rarely go after these kinds of memorabilia, when I really like a band its hard not to. Last year while at their show with Behemoth, I had bought quite a bit of merch to include a signed copy of their 2018 release To Drink From The Night Itself. Which has been played many of times in my truck since. I cant wait to see them again and what is in store for the band in 2020.
Label: Century Media (excluding Japan) / Trooper Entertainment (Japan)
majority of my playlists with so many more metal bands that appeal more to my darker more grungy tastes. While I appreciate that Alissa White has taken on the role as vocals for this group, I do miss the added gritt that Angela brought to the stage with a more commanding presence (in my opinion). This isn’t to discount the bands talent. Vocally her range is fantastic and I wish I would have been allowed to hear it in its full power, but HoB LV sound said it wasn’t to be. You could barely hear the vocals. I could hear her voice for the cleans well enough but her growls were almost non-existent when it came to sound quality.
Label: Metal Blade
ever worn lipstick and it wasn’t even on my lips. The anticipation was killing me as we stared at the large curtain that read Berserker on it.
There is nothing bad I can say about this band. There will probably never be anything bad I can say about this band. The first time I saw them live I drove from Las Vegas, NV to Boulder, CO to see them with Goatwhore at a smaller venue. The 2nd time was earlier this year in May with Slayer. I had no problem driving all the way out to Phoenix to see them with my favorite band (to be clear that is SLAYER it probably will always be SLAYER) but I digress …..
This show blew the other 2 out of the fucking water. They traded in the long ship for a helmet that had screens for graphics set in the eyes along with 2 stair risers on either side. Joined on stage by the 2 fully clad viking berserkers throughout the set doing full on combat with the short and sturdy spears and axes that are the authentic preferred weaponry used in viking raids and warfare. Complete with wooden shield, furs and drinking horns. They added an extra dimension to the show that made me feel like a kid on a shopping spree in a toy store. It was pure happiness overload
They appeared on stage to Iron Maidens “Run to the Hills” and when they stepped onto the platforms at the edge of the stage…they became larger than life. Like metal gods smiling down at those who raged to the sound of their fingers hitting their guitar strings.Opening with Raven’s Flight , off their new album Berserker, as tribute to the raven god Odin and all his might and infinite wisdom.
Before blasting Raise Your Horns the berserkers brought the band out drinking horns filled with brew. Every time I see them make this toast Johan Hegg’s horn seems to get larger at each show. His was also the largest of the whole band. A feat of strength to
chug beer out what looked to be a 1.5 liter or larger horn, the detail on that thing also is something to admired.
Loki appeared on stage and glared into the crowd during Deceiver of the Gods. The mischievous villain was an amazing site to behold on stage to say the least. Their was also a giant sea serpent that inflated on stage almost instantaneously (seriously it took like maybe a minute for this enormous thing to inflate) that I would assume was meant to portray the Kraken. According to the Norse sagas, the Kraken dwells off the coasts of Norway and Greenland and terrorizes nearby sailors . The portrayal of a battle between vikings and sea beast made sense during The Pursuit of Vikings. Johan struck the Kraken with Thor’s mighty hammer and the beast was slain. It would terrorize passing ships no longer.
After the best was slain they closed out the show with Twilight Of the Thunder God. This show had theatrics after theatrics that made for everything my soul craved in a performance. It was like watching a musical made specifically for metal-heads. Or maybe its just that i really dig vikings and mythology and battle re-enactments of a more brutal nature. I was left in absolute awe. Speechless even.
The Head Bang-Over
After making our way up the stairs while douche nozzles tried to snatch the set lists I had
been given off the stage from me like fucking children, (seriously irritates me, be happy someone got memorabilia but don’t try to snatch it from them, c’mon now) Steph and I stopped to talk to a few familiar faces including my buddy Dante who kills it in any pit he touches.
On the way to pay for parking there is this club right before you get to the doors to the parking garage. EVERY time I pass by there …I mean EVERY FUCKING TIME….I scream “SLAYERRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!” This night was no different. The looks on the faces of the women wearing their tight dresses with their faces painted on and the dudes in their lose button ups and polos are always the icing on the cake. Its not expected EVER and security just kind of gives me the shock and then nod of approval afterwards.
Once I braved the exit line of vehicles and arrived back home my roommate bobby decided to scare the living shit out of me by hiding behind the front door as I was coming in for the night. He got hit , pushed and kicked and was lucky there was not a closed fist to his face …… as comical as it was that was the 2nd time in a week they had gotten me (first time they got on video the bastards). I followed up my barrage of self defense / panic by laying out my spoils of merch and showing it off to my roomies before peeling off sweat saturated clothes and passing out.