Sure I only saw two bands last night, and sure, I won't be going to another show for ten days, but it's bands like Pallbearer that make this entire shindig worth it. Despite all the drama getting there and the general tiredness that seems to cast a cruel pall over my day to day life - evenings like August 19th at the Theater of the Living Arts in Philly provide hope to carry on - and I think that thousands of fans like me across the world feel the same way. So after I rolled up to the venue and stumbled backstage with Pallbearer I wandered over to see Lucifer and prepared for my mind to expand.
Lucifer are actually a lot of fun live. They have a dynamic frontwoman and a great sense of how to comport themselves on stage. There is a sense of visceral reality to their music, unleashed not just in the soaring vocals of Joahanna Sadonis but also in the crunching guitar of Gaz Jennings, formerly of Cathedral. At first it may seem easy to dismiss these guys as another female fronted stoner doom act - yet the deeper you find yourself going down their metaphorical rabbit hole the more you see behind the sound. There is something epic and grandiose to what Lucifer do, and it leaves them a cut above the rest, a noble addition to this tour.
Suddenly it was time for Pallbearer - the band I had driven for an hour to see and hang out with. These dudes are of high stock, and their overwhelming sense of goodness comes through in the music. Devin Holts hair flies around his head, reflecting his inner rock star, Brett Campbell's vocals soar and speak to the heavens and the band comes together to take the listener on a magical journey. Beyond that - Pallbearer has been able to craft a potent stage presence, made all the better by its sense of understated grace. Fists are raised to the sky and the banter is light, but that's more than enough given the circumstances. There is some sort of strange fifth element that defines Pallbearer's live rituals and is a key part of what makes them so special to me. These guys get at the primal spirit of the genre and show you a way forward. Their tracks are epic and oftentimes overwhelming, and that's part of what I love so much about them. At the end of the day - they, more than perhaps any other band - fucking get it.
I feel that metal has an obligation to itself to keep it real - and no one is realer than Pallbearer. Just a bunch of southern dudes out for a good time and ready to meet the world their live performances continue to stun audiences everywhere. I'm not sure what I would have done without Sorrow & Extinction so the fact that the band who helped me not kill myself also put on a great live show is endlessly rewarding. So let your light shine forth and find yourself looking into the crypt - perhaps there is no way out but at least these bands can provide triumph.
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