The first night of a tour is always a mix of emotions for an artist. The excitement of a new tour. The possibility of what could be. After all the unglamorous toil and travel, the opportunity to see your hard work in the studio and every other element of your years of work payoff. All for that briefest part of the day, sharing the music with fans.
However, it doesn’t always go your way, as we found out tonight.
With a positively stacked bill for this tour that has been booked and rebooked a few times, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Obscura co-headlining, with direct support from Wolfheart, and Thulcandra, hit the DNA Lounge (a.k.a DNA Pizza) in San Francisco. On this Saturday night in the West SOMA section of town, the club filled quickly with eager metallers, ready to rock out.
I arrived and met up with our fantastic photog Anita Frausto. Black Metallers Thulcandra came out to a huge roaring cheer of approval.
And then it all went to shit for them.
Thucandra came out in the darkness with minimal light (a theme for many bands tonight) and kicked into their first song hard after the intro tape. Right away, something was amiss. The band seemed out of sync and unable to hear each other. The crowd was even singing along right away. Oftentimes, bands have some technical issues and usually battle through. But no, not tonight. Thulcandra played ½ half of one song before grinding to a halt. Their in-ear monitors were not working and the band apologized to the crowd, saying they could not play the show the way they wanted to, and left. The crowd was stunned, including a group of fans nearby who told me they were only in the venue tonight to see Thulcandra. While I felt bad for the guys, also one could not help but wonder if they should have tried a little harder to work through it. I love shows at DNA, but they have had some bad issues of late with sound and technical issues for metal bands. I think it’s the exception, not the rule. Better luck next time.
The rest of the night was uneventful in terms of technical issues. I met a cool mom and dad next to me whose son’s band started doing metal covers of songs by Gojira and others. The future of metal was never in doubt, people.
Wolfheart came out with even less fanfare but no issues! They played their epic melodic death metal with confidence. These Finnish madmen continue to get better with every release but are workman-like about their performance. They played mostly to dim lighting but blasted through a strong setlist of new songs from King of The North and old classics. I would love to see them come back here for a headline show.
Long-running Technical Death Metal act Obscura has made a career of brain-breaking proficiency and skill at making metal. One year ago they released their new album A Valediction (Nuclear Blast Records) cementing their consistency, even this far into their career. Playing inexplicably in almost total darkness with some greens and reds, the moody Germans blasted through a satisfying set of genre classics and a few new songs. The band did indeed seem to have fun out there while playing metal so clinically tight, robots might fail to comprehend it. A great set!
Lastly, it was time for Fleshgod. Just a year and a half or so removed from the terrible accident that saw frontman Francesco Paoli horribly injured, the band made a triumphant return tonight. With their theatrical presentation (with good lighting!), and amazing songs, the band had fans just ravenous for their set. The band played an eclectic set list, but pulled a lot from their last album, 2019’s Veleno (Nuclear Blast). The entire band is extremely talented, but what sets them apart from most other bands is Pianist and arranger Francesco Ferrini, and unbelievable operatic singer Veronica Bordacchini. They take the group’s Symphonic Tech Death to new levels. I have personally never seen a crowd go as hard for this band in America as on this night.
Please, come back soon.
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