The Black Dahlia Murder & Unearth @ Fowler's Live (Adelaide, Australia), June 2010

The Black Dahlia Murder did not disappoint, despite my heavy anticipation. Unearth I was less excited about. But you'll see why...

 

The number of bands on this bill surprised me. Being a bit of a scatterbrain, I'd not realised that there were more than one support act. So, rocking up thinking that it would be a typical weekday show, I figured there'd be maybe one support plus the co-headliners. 

 

WRONG. There were multiple support acts: Universum were the first that I caught; Double Dragon were the second.

 

Now, I'm not a fan of Universum. Last time I saw these guys, they were supporting DragonForce if I'm not wrong. I was kind of surprised at their professionalism but at the time they rubbed me the wrong way.

 

This time around, they still didn't manage to convert me, but they were tight and professional if nothing else. Universum play a style of electro/industrial metal that they do well. It was a nice performance, and way more relaxed than the last time I saw them on a stage.

 

Double Dragon are a band I have seen a bajillion times around the place. And so, I am really sorry but I just couldn't pay them the attention that they deserved. They were tight as they always seem to be this time but... for some reason they seemed to play a bit slower? I don't know - perhaps it was just my take on their set. It was good, not my thing, but the kids were definitely getting into it.

 

I think perhaps I was just hoping they'd get off the stage so I could indulge my Black Dahlia Murder anticipation!

 

So when they did hit the stage, I was happy as fuck. It was an even crazier performance than I remember their last set here being. And I've said it before, but vocalist Strnad is so heavily influenced by Barney from Napalm Death

 

I mentioned this to Strnad at the bar after their set and he said, 'yeah, i get that a lot.' Of course, Barney is one of his biggest influences, he loves Napalm Death. So maybe it's not surprising.

 

One of my good friends mentioned to me that Strnad looks, on stage (thanks to his gestures), like a Greek at a market selling tomatoes. It's a great analogy!

 

The Black Dahlia Murder clearly loved playing here, and it's awesome to see a band that is having such a great time. And to see a vocalist that just doesn't stop grinning the whole time.

 

But the band's stage dynamics had changed. Perhaps this is because their new guitarist - who, by the way, is a strong, positive addition to the band. Things just seemed to work well for them.

 

Much of what The Black Dahlia Murder played was from their latest release Deflorate... unsurprising given that's what they were touring to promote. But it didn't matter what they played, it was tight and the crowd loved it. Really, that's all that matters.

 

Now, this is a total sin of music journalism. I missed a great deal of Unearth. Why? Their style doesn't really grip me, for one thing - though the punters went bananas for them.

 

And secondly, much of their set was spent talking with Strnad at the bar over beers. 

 

Unearth's style is very similar to Double Dragon - which justified the support slot that Double Dragon gained. It might just be me, but I think the headlining slots were totally around the wrong way. The Black Dahlia Murder were by far the better act - even well aside from my own bias. 

 

Unearth are tight, they play their version of slightly thrashy deathcore well, and they have a lot of fans who loved the set. But it just seems to me that this particular style is just not original enough, and not engaging enough to sustain a long headlining set when a band like The Black Dahlia Murder are playing alongside them.

 

It's a curious blend, and the type of genre mixing we're starting to see more and more at major shows in Australia. I love it because of the blend of audience members that we get at these gigs... but I question sometimes whether the variations on 'core have had their time in the light, and whether we're now on the other side of the curve.

 

BUT - lest I get too philosophical about all of this sort of thing, suffice it to say that this was a killer show! I don't think anybody was disappointed.