Friday, September 15, 2006


Last night at B.B. King's I saw the first Celtic Frost show in New York City in 17 years. Tom G. Warrior himself even mentioned that with an element of surprise. I was lucky to have seen them before everyone else on my Norway trip a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to compare the shows.

First, the stage was a lot smaller and the opening bands had to perform all in one line (drums on the left front of the stage). Sahg sounded awesome with their mix of Sabbathy doom and high-powered stoner rock. Their bassist, King, was taking all of his rock-star stances and was really getting into it. We spoke a little bit after their set and he said it was his first time opening and also his first tour in America. We joked about how we keep running into each other trans-continentally, as he was the one who had recommended I take the tram into the mountains in Bergen. I asked about why they weren't able to use the fire and explosions they used in Europe, and of course it had to do with hauling more stuff across the Atlantic as well as customs things, but he said that when he was playing in Gorgoroth they were able to use inverted crosses onstage with flames and torches. Of course they never toured America. One other main difference between this show and the Bergen show was that only about 100 people showed up early enough to see them. That was a festival, though. Apparently one person said, "Oh, that's the dude from Gorgoroth. I hope they don't play rock and roll." This made King snicker.

Next came 1349, who, as always, were amazing. The only problem was that the American audience- save the dude in the Asunder T-shirt up front- didn't really seem to know how to interpret it. Some people seemed to understand it and enjoy it, but others just looked confused. I found myself thinking, "What would happen if, during one of their breaks, the audience just started laughing? How would they respond?" Their singer Ravn just looked out at the audience during the breaks, and there was deafening silence. I wonder what would have happened. Nevertheless, they played "I Am Abominations" and it sounded brilliant. Their whole set was almost identical to the one in Bergen-six-inch-nails through their armbands and all-except they couldn't have fire onstage, other than a smoke machine (and subsequently didn't shut the show down because of "too much hellfire" this time.) They remain one of my favorite live black metal bands. I even caught a guitar pick that said "Archaon" (the guitarist's name) and had an inverted cross on it. Brilliant! If you have the chance to see them, go! (p.s.: all apologies to the dude I told that the drummer was sometime Satyricon drummer Frost, in actually, it's someone named Tony Laureano now.)

Celtic Frost's show was brilliant. They opened with "Procreation (Of The Wicked)," as they had done in Bergen and from that point on just played down-tuned, ultra-heavy, "uhh"-filled hits. Tom G. Warrior was wearing his corpsepaint as was the rest of the band, and despite being older, it didn't show too much. Halfway through the show, bassist Martin Ain, said: "Let me tell you the news… Well, this is New York, so you already know the news, but there is no god other than the one that dies with me." Then, they played a crushing version of "Ain Elohim," from their latest album, which I love to the chagrin of some of my more "metal" friends, Monotheist. Comedian and metal enthusiast Brian Posehn was in the audience, and he was clearly enjoying himself. There was also one non-celebrity guy who did some wild snake dance during some of the songs. That might have been the best non-musical thing that happened. This among the best metal concerts I've seen all year.

Celtic Frost setlist:

1. "Procreation (Of The Wicked)"
2. "Visions Of Mortality"
3. "Circle Of The Tyrants"
4. "The Usurper"
5. "Jewel Throne"
6. "Ain Elohim"
7. "Necromantical Screams"
8. "Dawn Of Meggido"
9. "Sorrows Of The Moon"
10. "Ground"
11. "Dethroned Emperor"
12. "Into The Crypts Of Rays"
13. "Synagoga Satanae"

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