photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin , words by Andrew Sacher
Metallica / A Place to Bury Strangers at Orion Music Fest 6/24/2012
Day 2 (6/24) of Orion Fest kicked off with sets by two different, but both very dark Brooklyn bands: Liturgy in the Frantic tent and A Place to Bury Strangers (whose new album, Worship, is out this week) on the Fuel stage. Unfortunately, I showed up a bit too late for Liturgy, but I was able to catch the tail end of APTBS' set, which saw Oliver Ackermann turning his monitors to face the audience and putting his vocal mic up to his guitar amp, creating even more noise than the trio already make. You can catch APTBS in their hometown on 7/27 at MHOW with Hunters.
Then I headed over to the Orion stage for Sweden's Ghost, who were introduced by James Hetfield (who is openly a huge fan). James intro-ed the band saying, "It's never too early for scary," and despite the bright sun shining over their stage, he was right. The band, who always come decked out in white ghoul cloaks with singer Papa Emeritus in face paint, crown, and black cloak, were creepy as ever. Papa Emeritus lead the band with demonic priestlike conduction as he bellowed the vocals to a number of songs off their 2010 LP, Opus Eponymous. The only time he wasn't in the spotlight is when the band took an instrumental break and he stood in the back of the stage, hands pressed together and remaining completely still.
I left about halfway through Ghost for the second half of The Black Angels, who were playing the Frantic tent. They supplied a huge dose of droning psychedelia, and though singer Christian Bland's vocals are often delivered stoically, he's quite charismatic on stage. During their last song, which saw bassist (and Elephant Stone frontman) Rishi Dhir switch over to sitar, they went into an extended jam which eventually saw Rishi playing the sitar riff of The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" (which the Black Angels recorded an exclusive performance of at Coachella) and was soon joined by the rest of the band who covered about half of the song. Slowly, the band exited the stage until only Rishi was left, sending waves of sitar over the head-nodding audience.
Around 4 PM, Best Coast began their set at the Orion stage. Diplo was probably wondering what the faces of Metallica fans would look like during Liturgy's set, though I was also pretty curious about what they'd look like for Best Coast, who played the same stage Metallica would later headline with many anxious fanatics already claiming their front row spots. I think I did actually see one guy sleeping (or maybe he was just really zoning out to the music?), but overall they actually got a pretty great reaction from the people who gathered to see them. The new album, The Only Place (which came out last month), is lacking compared to their debut (it's not bad, just too much of the same), but this was definitely the best I've ever seen Best Coast -- no doubt due to their decision to finally add a bassist. When mixed into a setlist, some of the new songs, like "Why I Cry," actually proved themselves to be standouts, and the songs from her debut sounded great as well. In response to a fan request, they played "When I'm With You" earlier than planned, and before going into it, frontwoman Bethany Cosentino promised a Fleetwood Mac cover too. That cover presumably would have been "Rhiannon," which the band are contributing to the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tribute LP, and premiered on NPR this morning... but they never got around to it.
Next band on my schedule was Titus Andronicus, who were playing the Frantic tent. Before they began, I heard a crowd member ask someone, "So are these guys metal, or is it regular music?" A few minutes later, they fired up their set of regular music, riling up everyone in the tent. The crowd was pretty small -- everyone else was waiting for Metallica or watching Avenged Sevenfold -- but the people who were there were loving it, singing along, pumping their fists, and starting push pits. When the band began fan favorite, "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future," the crowd's singing was overpowering frontman Patrick Stickles and if anyone wasn't taking part, they joined in on the ending's repeated "you will always be a loser!"
When Metallica took the stage a bit before 8:30, they started their set exactly the same as the night before. Everything including AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" playing through the PA directly before the band walked out, the "Ecstasy of Gold" strings with accompanying video clip, followed by "Hit the Lights" and "Master of Puppets," was there, just like it had been the night before. I realize that Metallica have a routine for their shows, but at a festival where much of the crowd had shown up for both nights, it would have been an appropriate time to throw a few curveballs into the set. The only pre-Black Album songs included in Sunday's setlist that wasn't in Saturday's were ...And Justice for All's "Blackened" and "The Shortest Straw," which were great but it would've been nice to hear more/different tracks from Master of Puppets or Kill 'Em All.
That said, I had already been going into Black Album night with less anticipation than I had for the performance of their 1984 colossus Ride the Lightning the night before, and they did deliver well. The bigger Black Album tracks like "Enter Sandman," "Sad But True," and "Nothing Else Matters" were still tons of fun and the crowd goes nuts for them. One of the biggest highlights was "Through the Never," which of all the Black Album tracks is most similar to their thrash roots. Regardless of your thoughts on the album's material though, they performed it flawlessly and was a welcome dip into Black Album's deeper cuts that are less likely to see the light of day at other Metallica shows.
Pictures and review of Day 1 are HERE. More pics from Day 2 below...
A Place to Bury Strangers
Gary Clark Jr.