Opeth plus Cynic and The Ocean @ Rock City 2008

I like Rockcity – easy to get to, easy to find parking, well organised for queuing, great layout, brilliant atmosphere when packed – but what I cannot understand is how a ‘curfew’ can be operating if they can have other bands playing in a different part of the venue after the main gig is over.  I understand the Opeth gig finished before 10 because of a curfew.  That is just ludicrous on a Saturday night.  Can someone also explain to me why the official merchandise hooded tops were £32 at Birmingham and London, but only £30 at Nottingham ?

I said I was going to provide some fuller comments on The Ocean and Cynic (just in case anyone out there is actually reading this…).  The Ocean seem pretty straightforward but there are a lot of melodic sequences wrapped up in their front-on aggressive Germanic power metal.  They had less than half an hour, and I only managed to catch their full set at Nottingham, but they certainly knew how to fill that time and gave it their all – very enthusiatic on stage, giving the audience what they want, and appeared to go down very well with those who had got into the venues in time.  Personally, I am not keen on that style of vocal, but that is to take nothing away from the great performance put in by the vocalist.

Cynic got better for me with each performance.  I knew nothing of them before seeing them on this tour, and after Nottingham I came away with their latest album.  I believe over the 3 dates I have heard The Space For This, Evolutionary Sleeper, Veil of Maya, Adam’s Murmur, How Could I and Instigated Birth.  They say they come within the progressive metal genre, and I would say that fits.  Lots of power, brilliant drumming, vocals to my personal taste – intricate movements within each track, intelligent, sophisticated metal.  Musicianship of the highest order, and at times they are brutal.  I will be listening to Traced In Air a lot over the next few weeks.

Opeth were outstanding again – it was the Birmingham setlist, with Bleak again left out from what they played at London because of the ‘curfew’.  And having seen them play this set 3 times this week, I have to say it is half an hour too short.  Really.  The venue was packed, although tickets were available on the door.  The drums and bass really drove the tracks and it was another tight performance.  One girl in the crowd kept shouting for things between songs, so Mikael finaly replied “Yeah, I want you to shut the fuck up, little bitch” – humour well appreciated by the audience (except, maybe, by one little bitch).  The band were still wearing the same tshirts…  I really enjoyed the 3 gigs, would have liked another track from Watershed in the setlist, but it has had me going back to the earlier releases, which is no bad thing.

And I have not forgotten my famous person watch, I just haven’t seen any.

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