After 29 hours of exciting travel I finally made it to New York to begin my 2012 US trip. I rested up on the Friday night but come Saturday night it was time for metal!!

The first gig I attended was a huge bill with Behemoth, Watain, The Devils Blood, In Solitude and the mighty Evoken at Irving Plaza. I came to the US earlier than I planned JUST to see Evoken so I was pretty bloody keen to check out their awesome death/doom live. In got there early and jumped in the queue and after an eternity they started letting people in but when I got there I had a different ticket so I had to wait in a different will call line. D’oh! While in this line I did at least enjoy hearing a big argument behind me between a youngish guy and his drunk mother who was not happy to be in line with him (I assume she had to sign him in). My amusement faded pretty bloody quickly when at 7pm Evoken started and I still had 8 people in front of me who weren’t moving. Grr! Not happy Jan! After a few minutes I was desperate so I asked a security guard if I could buy another $30 ticket just to get in and I pulled the “I came from Australia to see this band” card (which was sort of true) and it worked as he took my ID and returned 2 mins later with a ticket. I sprinted upstairs to find Evoken on their 2nd song and my crankiness faded immediately. They were in the middle of a mellow part when I entered so when the heaviness kicked back my smile must have been blinding. They had a clear but not quite loud enough sound and the keyboards were quite prominent in the mix. For some odd reason there were guys behind me growling loudly throughout their set (but not in time with the vocalist) but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. One other guy who definitely having a fun time was a chap in a Duff’s Bar shirt who was obviously on one or more drugs as he looked to be interacting with imaginary friends. One giant meathead behind looked ready to rip in half but nothing happened. Evoken’s 3rd (and sadly final) song was a newie which was bloody awesome and made me even more keen to hear the new album in a couple of months. Despite missing the first song I was pretty bloody happy and had several moments of goosebumps when they played their super heavy riffs.

Here is my crap photo I took with my phone and below are the first and third songs that someone was nice enough to film. I was somewhat crushed to discover the first song that I missed was one off Quietus which is the album that got me into Evoken.

After picking up some Evoken merch and a beer I went back upstairs and watched some of In Solitude before I departed for Tragedy. In Solitude are a band that several mates really love and I saw some of their set at MDF 2011 but they’ve never really grabbed me because frankly I don’t think the vocalist can actually sing! The music is OK for 80s Fate worship and they definitely get into it on stage but something is lacking for me (plus the songs seem too long). Immediately a mosh started up which included my good mate Mr drugfucked Duff’s shirt guy and it looked to be quite an incompetent affair with the usual young guys running into each other. 2 songs were enough and I left the venue and thanked the generous security guard again.

I walked to Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich and for once timed my arrival perfectly as Tragedy started about 5 minutes later. I had seen them at MDF 2011 but they weren’t really suited to the big stage and didn’t blow me away however tonight was their own gig and it certainly showed as they were on fire. They started with Conflicting Ideas which is a favourite of mine and when the breakdown kicked in the mosh got pretty hectic. It was good to see a hardcore mosh were people actually knew what they were doing instead of the amateur dickhead mosh that occurred earlier. Whenever Tragedy played an old song the there was more frantic moshing and stage diving galore. Most amusing of all was the classic hardcore gang singalong from the crowd which looks a little odd when the 2 vocalists are guitarists too and don’t offer the mic to the crowd. They played 2 new songs from Darker Days Ahead which were a bit slower overall but with a heavy, stomping style which worked really well. Although one song sounded a bit odd when they sped up for brief spurts which didn’t really suit the song. Maybe I’m just getting old but to me it didn’t seem loud enough. Being very DIY and unrockstarish there was no encore and so at 9.15 the gig was over which felt a bit odd. However they had just kicked my arse so I was still happy as Larry.

Next I loitered on Bleeker Street with some mates which was interesting as we were offered cocaine a few times (classy neighbourhood). However we were only interested in boozing which occurred mostly at Peculier Pub which had a decent range of beer which our quite busty barmaid was happy to bring us regularly. I tried a Honey Brown beer which was a high school favourite of one mate and it was pretty tasty. But most of the night was given to the lovely Belgian beer Corsendonk of which I preferred the Abbey Brown Ale to the Abbey Pale Ale. By 2am more than enough beer had been consumed so the Jersey Boys left and I bought a divine slice of pizza, was offered cocaine again and finally hailed a taxi. I didn’t think I’d drunk that much but my hangover told another story. Here’s a pic of me looking stupid with my US mates.


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