January 15, 2006

Concert Review: Sanctuary w/ A Perfect Tool, Cast Your Stones 1/14/06

What do you do when you can't go see acts like Iron Maiden, Tool, and A Perfect Circle? Well, you go and see the local tribute act, and hope that they don't insult the musicians you love with their heavy handed renditions of said acts memorable cuts.

This marks the first trip to the clubs for a show, thus kicking off the 2006 concert season. I got there around 9pm, amid a huge temperature drop. The day had brought temperatures in the mid 50's and a lot of rain, by the time I got to the club, it had dropped to 30 degrees and the rain was freezing. Enough about the weather. I went inside and waited for the show to start. The crowd was small, but everyone looked to have a good time.

At 9:20, the first act took to the stage. They were a young band called Cast Your Stones. I cannot say that I was terribly impressed by these guys, their brand of rock was rather generic. They needed to kick it up a few more notches. They played a half hours worth of radio friendly rock, featuring a twin guitar attack and clean vocals. I will say that it was a pleasure to here a band, no matter how faceless the style, not get sucked into the standard screaming that afflicts much of todays heavy music. I would like to make a special note of their drummer, he was good, very good. He was relentless, kept good times, and maintained an animated persona behind the kit. I daresay, he needs heavier metal related material to really capitalize on the potential that he displayed. Overall, they did not do much for me, but they could develop into something better. The ability is there.

After their set, the stage was cleared and reconfigured for the first tribute band of the night. At 10:10 A Perfect Tool took the stage. I am guessing that all of you, well, most of you, can tell whose music they play. For the uninitiated. they play the music of Tool and A Perfect Circle. They opened with "Intolerance" and "Stinkfist." Other Tool songs that they included were "Prison Sex", and "Schism". Among the A Perfect Circle offerings were "Weak and Powerless" and "The Outsider." The set closed around the 45 minute mark with a rousing rendition of Tool's breakthrough single, "Sober." They actually sounded pretty good, not quite the level of Tool, but the sound was surprisingly accurate. The sound was anchored by tight drumming and a very good guitar duo, but the real star of the show was the vocalist filling Maynard's shoes. The singer sort of resembled Weird Al Yankovic, but his voice was distinctly Maynard James Keenan. If I had one complaint it is that he did not have much stage presence, the energy was lacking. I also realized something else about Tool's music, while a lot of it is very good, it seems to make for a rather dull show. In any case, these guys did a good job, and would be interested in seeing them again.

Finally, the moment has arrived, Sanctuary was set to bring Iron Maiden to life. I had always heard that they were an incredible tribute, that they were the next best thing to the real thing. I had also heard that they were not as good since some of the members had changed. I knew I had to see them for myself. Well, the curtain went up, on stage were a couple of simulated fire pots, a couple of banners with rune symbols on them, and a Powerslave backdrop, so far so good. Next, the band came out to the stage, too cheers from the crowd. They opened up with "Moonchild". They sounded good, and they only got better as the night went on. It wasn't exactly like listening to Maiden, but it was close. The singer's voice was very Dickensian, but he did not have the range of the real thing. It really is hard to criticize a tribute band, unless they are really awful, and Sanctuary is anything but awful. I am not sure if I will ever get to see Maiden live, Sanctuary may be the closest I ever get, and I loved hearing all those classic Maiden tracks. They had the energy and a playful attitude, seeming not to be going for an exact copy so much as having fun with the music, it translated to an electric crowd. They truly put on an excellent show. They even have a live Eddie join them onstage, this show featured 3 variations, The Trooper, The Mummy, and The Grim Reaper, not to mention the inflatable Eddie Mummy which appears at the end of the set. Up the Irons!

Here is an incomplete, and probably mis ordered setlist:
1. Moonchild
2. The Evil That Men Do
3. Powerslave
4. The Trooper
5. The Clairvoyant
6. Number of the Beast
7. Iron Maiden
8. Hallowed be thy Name
9. 2 Minutes to Midnight
1o. Run to the Hills


Dawner said...

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