Acts: Sarah Longfield, Ne Obliviscaris, Wintersun
Date: Saturday 9/22/18
Location: Club Red, Mesa
This show was dope, I really enjoyed it. Overall the experience was great, the venue was nice, the crowd was energetic and the bands all killed it. Sarah and Wintersun played songs that were completely foreign to me, so I won’t comment on their composition and musicality, but I can say that the show was damn good.
First up was Sarah Longfield. Sarah is a progressive metal guitarist who has been active on youtube for a while now (check out her work with Rob Scallon). I have been following her for several years now, so it was cool to finally see her live. She plays instrumental progressive melodic djent kind of stuff, definitely some Animals as Leaders vibes goin on. Her set was short, but it really showed off what makes her so awesome. She is very technical and her entire set was flawless, I do not remember hearing a single missed beat or wrong note. She brought along a backing band, a guitarist and drummer who I do not know. The drummer was very skilled and utilized a lot of interesting fills and beats that really added to the songs. The other guitarist played great rhythm stuff but I couldn’t hear him too well to be honest. As with some djent bands, there was not a whole lot of energy in the set, it was mostly standing around while shredding.
Next was Ne Obliviscaris. These guys are the main reason I wanted to see this show (their 2014 release Citadel is on my short list for best albums of all time). Another band that I have been following for years, NeO is great progressive death metal. They are heavy as fuck, but also add in clean vocals and violin to give their songs some great textures that you really can’t find anywhere else. As I expected, they killed it and pulled off a perfect set. The mixing was really clear, and the violin and growls sounded good. The guitars had pretty good tone, and the bass was audible but not too loud. The drums were amazing, Dan Presland is basically a god. The band chose a good setlist for the time that they had. They opened with Devour Me, Colossus Pt. 1 and then played Libera and Urn from their most recent album. This started the set off strong and kept up the vibe through the set. They finished with And Plague… It was cool to hear songs off of each of their albums, so good on them for awesome song choices.
The headliner was Wintersun, a Finnish symphonic/power/death metal band. To be brutally honest, I never got around to listening to them before the show so this show was the first time I had ever listened to their music. That being said, I knew what to expect with their genre of metal and I was not disappointed. The band started off fast and they really knew how to keep the energy up. Their singer ran around the stage and their guitarists were pretty showy with their solos. The mixing was good, all the instruments were perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Their samples did seem a bit quiet, but it wasn’t a big deal. The vocals sounded great, the vocalist had great tone in his growls and clean singing. High growls were great.
They played a variety of songs including several from older albums. Personally I couldn’t distinguish the songs, but the crowd was loving it. Wintersun was the only act to get a full on pit going. Tons of head banging, you could really get into the vibe. Overall, it was a show that convinced me to take a deep dive into their music, so they get an A+ from me.
Reviewer’s Name: Nate Smitm