APHND @ Ultra Lounge, Chicago (US)

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A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH / HEMI

Date: 10th November, 2013
Venue: Ultra Lounge
Ticket: $10 (€7)
Promoter: n/a


DimK: I am not involved in the concert organization business, so my experience is only through the eyes of a fan. So, I could not understand why a show would start that late on a Sunday and why two more bands were added on the billing at the last minute. Sure, I understand the low ticket sales but having a show to potential end after midnight can be a huge turn-off for all those working early on Monday metalheads. And that’s totally unfair for A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH, a band that has been working really hard and has already two high quality LPs out there. In fact, METAL KAOZ had the chance to enjoy APHND in the most recent DANZIG US tour, although the sense of unfairness was still valid having this band as the openers. Anyway, we got early at Ultra Lounge (this venue is no more) to conduct an interview with Sal Abruscato (that will be online soon) and saw a really weak crowd. I guess the late start had something to do with that because honestly the opening bands did not do much. The instrumental duet BRAVER were groovy and passionate but also under-prepared, so their set looked and sounded like a rehearsal. There was no crew to help the bands set up their gear, so we had to endure on top of everything the rather slow preparations adding more to my frustrations. OF WOLVES played something I can roughly describe as Sludge/Stoner but like the previous band failed to get the people in front of the stage going. The last supporting band was HEMI that according to the frontman had long time to play live but apparently this did not affect their set. They did well from the performance point of view but musically did not manage to get us going, so it was no big surprise to see the people returning to the show area after the end of the HEMI setlist. Honestly, this was my first time where none of the supporting bands was at least good, so with great relief I saw the APHND guys setting up their gear faster and in a professional way as compared to the previous bands. I hope they learned something that night...

MariaV: It’s been almost four weeks since my first A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH live experience in Atlanta but I couldn’t say ‘no’ to a reprise live show in our kind of town (Chicago), especially having Sal Abruscato and the boys in the headlining spot. Sure, it was a Sunday night and things were gonna be hard for the week that was about to kick in a few hours since this show had a late start, but still, METAL KAOZ couldn’t miss the opportunity to deal with the magik and the hypnotically depressive tunes of APHND live once more. Does the motto “support your local scene” mean something to you? That’s right...

The scheduled timetable showing APHND onstage fifteen minutes to 12am was well passed due to the difficulties the supporting bands had setting their gear, and there we were, five minutes before midnight and the band still was trying to find a way to set up its things quickly on the tiny stage of Ultra Lounge. Unfortunately, the attendance was pretty low (there were almost 50 faces inside the venue at that time wearing TYPE O NEGATIVE and APHND tees) that didn’t increase after the first songs and I was almost certain that things wouldn’t get better for the five guys from Jersey who would ended their US tour in Chi-town. You know, it’s pretty disappointing having such low numbers in attendance in new and upcoming bands nowadays, but let’s stop whining around and concentrate to business, ok?

“Chicago, how are you doing?” Sal asked the gathered fans (yup, we were only fans inside Ultra Lounge creating an intimate atmosphere) seconds before the freezing tunes of “To Die In Your Arms” hit us and it was really nice watching him behind the mic nailing the vocals no matter the low attendance number. Matt Brown had definitely found his spot on stage left doing his thing, while on the other side Eddie and Dave were trying to fit to the tiny stage that seemed too crowded, even though this wasn’t a Thrash / Speed Metal show with lots onstage movement. The groovy “As Black As My Heart” followed the same ritual with the band’s setlist as in Atlanta and then it was time for the first greetings of the night via Sal’s mouth saying “thanks for coming everybody” accompanied by the first setlist change; it was so cool listening live tracks like “Serial Killer” and “The Needle In You” that made me think how remarkable is for a band who has two full length albums to have already ‘must-have’ tracks in the setlist.

As expected it didn’t take long for “Growing Old” to bring onstage magik and goosebumps on my spine like in the band’s recent appearance in Atlanta due to the TYPE O-esque intro and the guitar scratching-scales coming from Sal’s guitar. This time, I noticed that Matt seemed more confident and loose onstage handling the backing vocals and it was quite obvious that he enjoyed playing live for the few Chicagoans like there was no tomorrow. While Sal kept repeating after the end of the songs that he had some issues remembering the setlist’s order, Matt kindly reminded him what was next, so there was no chaos or unnecessary haste that night. “Shallow Grave” and its emotional guitar solo were next, right before the back-to-back attack of the desperation-hymn “Cracks In The Walls” and the hallucinogen “Pill Head” from the band’s debut that made many jaws to drop that night and I was surprised seeing a couple of heads singing the latter’s lyric lines while standing in the front line.

“We have a couple more, thank you for coming” Sal simply said as a preamble to my personal favorite “Die Alone” (it was amazing how Matt’s guitar work played the role of saxophone originally found in the studio version) and the vicious and faster tunes of “Killer By Night” that left us wanting for more. Well, there wasn’t a scheduled encore after the 55-minutes set, but the band had a teasing mood to treat us with something special, so completely unsolicited they started playing LED ZEPPELIN’s “Moby Dick” as Sal joked about saying “this is a new song I wrote and is gonna be a huge success”. Johnny and Matt instantly took part to this super-cool jamming that lasted almost a minute, dropping the curtain of the band’s show in Chicago and their entire US tour.

Since APHND prepare themselves for the upcoming European tour that will start in February 2014, I’d like to inform our friends in the other side of Atlantic that these special shows are not to be missed; APHND is a solid supergroup with low profile and down-to-earth personality and kicks asses live, so you know what you’ve to do... Hmm, how far is Chicago from The Netherlands’ beautiful city of Hengelo? Let’s see...

A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH setlist:

01. “To Die In Your Arms”
02. “As Black As My Heart”
03. “Serial Killer”
04. “The Needle In You”
05. “Growing Old”
06. “Shallow Grave”
07. “Cracks In The Walls”
08. “Pill Head”
09. “Die Alone”
10. “Killer By Night”
11. “Moby Dick” reprise (LED ZEPPELIN cover)

A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH

A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
A Pale Horse Named Death @ Ultra Lounge (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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