Every once in a great while, a band catches your ear and immediately you can feel a bond with their music. I don’t know what it is about Sweden’s Tribulation, be it the Rock n’ Roll elements, the Black Metal Elements or just the horrific nature of their lyrics, but once I got a hold of their latest album “The Children of the Night” I was immediately hooked. Hell, I even coined a ‘new’ term for them in the review I wrote and called them Black n’ Roll, Ok that might not be new, but I like it! Just last week we were blessed with their presence at one of my favorite new venues in St. Louis, the Ready Room. When the show got announced I was equal parts excited and concerned, excited because I was actually going to get to see Tribulation, concerned because they were opening for Deafheaven. You see, Deafheaven is one of those bands that it seems like EVERYONE loves and I just never understood it. The first time I saw them, they were opening for Between The Buried and Me who were going to play their Parallax II album from start to finish and then some. I was beyond excited for that show that I kinda brushed Deafheaven’s performance under the table. This show however, I went into with an open mind. The bill was just the two bands, so I knew I was going to get to see a lengthy set from Tribulation BEFORE Deafheaven so no clouded judgments or blocking the set in anticipation for what I had truly gone to the show for.
Upon arrival, I had run into a few friends of whom I had known for a while from our local FYE and to my excitement, I also ran into a fan of the magazine!! I am terrible with names and on top of that I don’t think I got it at this show (we had met at the Kylesa show a month back) and well for me if I don’t hear or use a name often enough it gets lost after a day or two. Either way it was great to start getting recognized for what we do here at Damnation Mag! Tribulation was about to take stage and you could tell that most of the people in attendance, including my FYE friends were there for Deafheaven and had no prior knowledge as to what Tribulation was all about. See that is one of the things that irks me with music fans today, they go for the band they are there to see and don’t even try to find out what the opening acts will be like. I will admit, prior to the show I didn’t really try to listen to Deafheaven, though I had listened to their music for a while after the BTBAM show and heard a few of the new songs (but I had already seen them live so I knew what they sounded like). I just don’t get the point of not seeing what the other bands are going to sound like when tours are the best part of music, its like the Discovery Channel live on stage!
There were a few fans who were there to see Tribulation as when they took stage there was a decent cheer for them. Once the band started playing you could see in the eyes of most attendees that they were 50/50 on whether they liked the band or not. After each song the cheers grew a little more intense, but you could still see that some people were waiting patiently for Deafheaven to start. . a few of them even let me up front with my camera so I could get pictures, sucks for them cause it was a fucking kick ass show! From the moment they took stage to the last note of the final song Tribulation had something going for them that really set the mood for the whole night, be it from the corpse paint on their faces, the bones and candles hanging from the microphone stand or just the overall energy of the band, including guitarist Jonathan Hultén prancing around on stage and just being that 60’s-70’s rock star that they were trying to portray. I really look forward to more shows with these guys as I am sure that like Ghost, their following will just continue to expand as time goes on. I say like Ghost, because their demeanor reminds me of them without the anonymity and more gruesome vocals, but they bring that old school Rock and Roll element back to the table and that’s what the people need.
As soon as they were finished I went out to my car to grab the vinyl of theirs I had bought earlier and had them all sign it, they were ecstatic that I was there solely for them. I then caught up with my FYE friends and asked what they thought, they seemed to like it enough to at least check out once they got home so there’s a plus. I ran the vinyl out to my car and got back just in time for Deafheaven to get their set going. I did all that I could to enjoy their music, the fans were into it, the band was totally into it. . . I was not. I don’t know what it is either, I genuinely was giving them a chance this time around, but something was holding me back and I still can’t place it. after about 15 minutes which for them was still part of the second song I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and left, not without talking to our fan outside (sorry I will remember your name next time I promise) for about 20 minutes mostly about different black metal bands we have seen or want to see, but also trying to figure out why neither of us could really get into this band?!?! Overall the show was amazing, the crowd was definitely having a good time throughout both bands, more so with Deafheaven than Tribulation, but I know those guys turned a few heads and got them wanting more.
That all being said, I got my pass through Tribulation and was able to shoot their entire set, I took a couple of Deafheaven, but they unfortunately didn’t turn out (I borrowed a lens from work for this show and left the rest of my stuff at home. . it was not a great concert lens) The lens I was using is a superb lens, the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8, but it lacks their hypersonic motor for fast focusing, which for concerts you need something that will focus fast or you miss the shot and that was the case in many of my Deafheaven shots. I really missed my fisheye and portrait lenses for this show, but it was a lesson learned. Take a look at the shots I did get as I feel like they are some really great ones with what I was working with and as always like, share and comment on the photos you like! Until next time. . .