Kvelertak at the Granada
Although the three main bands playing the Granada were from three different countries, they all had a type of music that could be traced back to a common ancestor. Black Tusk (from America), Cancer Bats (from Canada), and Kvelertak (from Norway) all worship the groove that is inherently found in metal, punk, and good old-fashioned rock and roll. The moderate crowd was very receptive and very active for all three bands and made the most out of a raucous Sunday night in Kansas.
Kicking off the show was local group Hot Knives. It was only their third performance and sometimes it showed in their set, but whatever minor missteps they made in technical playing were balanced by their impressive stage presence. Their music sounded like a cross between the southern groovy tinge of Every Time I Die and the riffing of a Botch or a Dillinger Escape Plan. It was very nice to see yet another unique band to come from the local scene, and hopefully Hot Knives continues getting on more and more shows.
The first touring band was Black Tusk from the deep and dirty South – Savannah, Georgia to be exact. Although they are part of the Savannah Big Three (with Baroness and Kylesa), Black Tusk puts much more emphasis on dissonant sounds, grooving riffs, and harsh vocals. They actually might be one of the loudest bands around today. It was a little hard to hear the vocals for anyone but the drummer, but that was beside the point once they launched into sonic overdrive. They’ve evolved so much as a band and it looks like they’ll only keep improving.
Cancer Bats took to the stage with a sound that was much more outright punk, although it still had hints of the southern metal and rock and roll that permeated the Granada all night. For some reason, the bass actually drowned out the guitar through the entire performance, but that just made it all the better. It gave them a very deep thrashcore-type sound, not unlike like Trash Talk or Rotting Out. The band was all over the stage, especially the vocalist who had the crowd provide vocals to several songs. There were a few moshpits, but everything erupted with their last song, “Hail Destroyer.” They had a great energy to work off a crazed crowd.
Nothing can prepare anyone for a Kvelertak performance. Whether they’re opening or headlining, they almost always steal the show. The six-piece band flawlessly combines hardcore punk, rock and roll, southern sludge metal, and old-school Norwegian black metal into something genius. “Spring Fra Livet” was your typical mid-paced rocker, but shortly into the song the band burst into tremolo picking and blastbeat drums – it’s one of those peanut-butter-and-chocolate moments that is addicting and just makes sense. With three separate guitar players on stage they never became redundant or stale. Each guitarist added something different to each song, whether it was just a main riff or little solos here and there. Vocalist Erlend Hjelvik bounded around the stage and was always the first to get the crowd back into the performance. The crowd sang along to every song, which is impressive considering the band’s lyrics are all in Norwegian. Kvelertak’s show was all high-energy and non-stop fun. Undoubtedly one of the best shows of the year and one of the best bands in metal today.
Spring fra livet
Sjøhyenar (Havets herrer)
Utrydd dei svake (encore)