On Friday, May 29, I was able to snag a photo pass for the Amaranthe show at the Bluebird in Denver, Colorado. We’re going to trim the opener reviews down a bit since we were there for Amaranthe. The tour is over at this point, but check out the photos and look into the bands if you’re interested.
I do have to say that I was embarrassed (and slightly disgusted) with the KBPI DJs and fans during this show. Willie B and Beardo were at the show to promote I Prevail because they introduced them to the Denver market. That’s great, Willie… but when you take time out from a concert to promote your involvement with the opener without even acknowledging the main act, you’re a jerk. Oh, and Willie left the venue before the main act even took the stage. At least Beardo had some class and stuck around for a few songs. I miss Uncle Nasty.
Moving past that stupidity, the show proved to be interesting. Amaranthe was absolutely amazing. The other bands seemed a little out of place. Let’s dive in.
Santa Cruz at the Bluebird
The guys in Santa Cruz brought me back to the hair metal days of the 80s. They call themselves “Glam Metal.” I was expecting makeup and costumes from a band in that genre, but I got a bunch of young Finnish guys with great hair. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed their set. I think their biggest inhibitor was the crowd. They tried to pump up the energy, but the crowd didn’t seem to care. They just wanted to see I Prevail. I found that very disappointing. I would’ve loved to see Santa Cruz perform without the KBPI fans in the audience.
They were entertaining and had a good sound. Arttu “Archie” Kuosmanen did a great job with his higher vocals, but the lower stuff was lacking in oomph. The instrumentals were polished, simple, and clean… sometimes too clean. Lyricially and musically, the band has room for growth. They put on an okay show with what they had, but they need more depth if they’re going to have a long career in music. I’d consider them a boy band in the Glam Metal world at this point. I wouldn’t consider myself their target demographic, but it was still a decent opening act.
I Prevail at the Bluebird
I’ve never been a fan of “hardcore” music… but I Prevail says they’re “post-hardcore.” Does that mean they’re hipsters of the hardcore movement? Post-hardcore has roots in hardcore punk and traditional hardcore music. I’d consider I Prevail a solid mix of punk and hardcore. Granted, I’m not an expert in this genre, nor do I like the overall sound/message of their music. Let’s scream a lot, flip the bird, and beat each other up. Awesome.
That said, I can’t give these guys a real review. Their studio work is way better than the performance I saw. Listen to them on Spotify, catch a show, and decide for yourself. Maybe you’ll end up as angry as these guys.
Amaranthe at the Bluebird
Like the majority of the audience, I was at this show to see Amaranthe. I’ve been listening to them for a while, but it was my first time seeing them live. They got energy out of the crowd that neither band before them could. It was everything a power metal show should be.
If you’ve never heard Amaranthe before, you should know that they do something different. They have three lead singers who perfectly share the spotlight and blend into a unique sound. Elize Ryd does the beautiful female vocals; Jake E does the manly stuff; and Henrik Englund does the “unclean” singing (screaming). For the show at the Bluebird, and much if not most of the tour, Olle Ekman filled in for Henrik because he had a kid coming any day. Olle didn’t miss a note. I loved his energy. Elize and Jake were right there with him. The three of them showed that blending three lead vocals into one band works really well.
The rest of the band did really well too. For me, the vocals make this band great, but they wouldn’t get anywhere without solid instrumentals. With Olof Mörck on guitar, Johan Andreassen on bass, and Morten Løwe Sørensen on drums, the band rocks hard. Olof and Johan worked really well together on stage, but I had a hard time getting any good shots of Morten on the drums. Everyone forgets to light the drummer. :)
Even though their North American tour ended a couple days after the Denver show, I’d strongly encourage you follow them on Bands in Town so you know when they’ll be playing a show near you. Until then, listen to their music on Spotify or buy their CDs if you still do that sort of thing. They’re one of my favorite bands right now, so go check them out.