I was completely stoked to go to this concert as I have been listening to (and loving) promo copies of Witch Mountain‘s Cauldron of the Wild and Castle‘s Blacklands for the past few months. Both bands are great up and coming doom bands and if you haven’t heard either one yet, I really suggest you go and check them out as soon as possible.
Although I was really stoked to go and see Witch Mountain and Castle, I honestly had only heard of one other band on the bill-ANCIIENTS, a fantastic local band who I had seen open for Skeletonwitch back in August at the Biltmore. I had no idea who Wiser Fool or Blacked Out was and a quick search on the internet gave me little of an idea of what to expect. The only hesitation I had about going is that the Interuban is located in the heart of the down-town eastside – one of the worst crack and heroin filled areas in North America. Crime is high in the area and it isn’t exactly somewhere where you want to be walking around at night. Despite the fact that the concert was located in a shitty area I swallowed my fears and took my trusty photographer to the venue.
We got to the Interurban about two hours prior to the show-We had originally been scheduled to interview Witch Mountain at 7pm but they were delayed so we basically had two hours to kill. With nowhere else to go we decided to brave our way into the downtown eastside. Outside of the venue three homeless people and several drug dealers were hawking their wares while mentally disturbed people wandered around talking to themselves. Yep, we were definitely in the right place. The night got off to a bit of a shitty start when the girl who was handling the tickets said she couldn’t find us on the guest list. She was nice however and said that she believed me when I said we were supposed to be on the list and gave us a hand stamp anyways.
The Interurban is a bit of a strange place – it’s apparently an art gallery by day and then a concert venue on weekends. The place is really tiny and bizarre paintings adorned the walls. It looked like if it was just a tiny bit smaller it could’ve been someone’s living room. Why of all the places in Vancouver they chose this place to hold this concert is a mystery to me. The location is horrible, the space is tiny and after the concert started we found out the room does not lend itself to good sound.
While waiting for the show to start, my photographer and I listened to the bands doing sound check and hung around looking at the merchandise. I bought a copy of Castle’s Blacklands on CD and was given a cool pin by vocalist Elizabeth Blackwell who was manning the merch booth.
Witch Mountain finally arrived right before the show was to begin at 9pm. I went and introduced myself to drummer Nathan Carson and bought myself a copy of Cauldron of the Wild and was also sold a cassette copy of their album South of Salem .
The show finally started at 9pm and as the first band Wiser Fool hit the stage, I went with Witch Mountain’s Nathan and Uta to do an interview. Unfortunately, due to the venue being so small and the music so loud the interview can’t be transcribed which is too bad as both were very friendly and very cool to talk to. I saw maybe five minutes of Wiser Fool so can’t really say much about them other than what I heard sounded not bad.
After about a 15 minute break, the next band Blacked Out hit the stage. Now, these guys I was impressed by. The band call themselves “technical punk” but what I heard sounded pretty thrashy to me. They put on a fun and impressive performance and I plan on picking their album up soon as a result.
After Blacked Out came the first of the two bands I was actually here to see CASTLE! The band had the lights turned off for their performance. and man did it smoke! They describe themselves as witch thrash but really they are a metal band crossed with doom. The band stormed through a very fast set of excellent songs. I was actually really disappointed as I find it hard to believe that they played more than 15 minutes. Both me and my photographer did not think that they could have played as long as the previous openers did. Hey, maybe they did play just as long and the set was just so fantastic that it seemed to be over quickly, but really I don’t think so. For a three piece the band is simply fantastic. Elizabeth and Mat both play like rockstars on stage, hopefully with a bit more exposure they will be. They definitely deserve it.
After Castle short set Witch Mountain took to the stage. Now, at this point I would have figured that the venue would have been filled to capacity. After all, the band (and to a lesser degree Castle as well) have been getting a lot of hype from both the metal underground and more alternative leaning publications. However, I would be shocked to learn if there was more than 60 or 70 people there. I would be even more shocked if half of those people weren’t in one of the bands. Personally I think that if the concert would have been in a better location the place could’ve been packed.
However, despite the lack of attendance, Witch Mountain didn’t seem phased at all. In fact despite the fact that she is so tiny, singer Uta Plotkin simply dominates the stage with her presence. The woman is quite simply one of the best singers in metal male or female. Her voice is so powerful and commanding it is awe-inspiring a times. Even though she was plagued by a shitty sound system in the Interurban she still managed to put on an impressive performance. The rest of the band play just as well and hopefully the band is able to get their profile raised even higher in the next few years. The band’s set consisted of a mix of songs from Cauldron of the Wild and South of Salem. The crowd lapped the performance up and even managed to get a druken mosh pit going near the end of their set.
After Witch Mountain ended their set I unfortunately had to leave and miss ANCIIENTS which was too bad. However, all in all it was a really good night and the best show I have been to in quite some time. I highly recommend catching the tour if it comes to your town. Also, check all of the bands out, all of them are quite good and worthy of your support.
Music of some of the performing bands: