Text: Milton Stille // Photos: Milton Stille/Asia Fairbanks, NotYourScene.ca
I arrived at the venue to a line-up halfway down the block, a few minutes after 8pm. I’m told doors were to open at 7. Needless to say, this is somewhat unusual, especially on a Monday night in January. Upon my admission approximately 15 minutes later, it was quite easy to see why: I don’t believe I’ve never seen so many people packed into the Rickshaw so early.
Edmonton’s Revenge were disappointingly at least midway through their set by the time I got in. Nonetheless, the part of Revenge’s set that I did catch was quite enjoyable in spite of the fact that I’m not terribly familiar with them. With respect to how early it was, I’d volunteer that they did a really great job of captivating an audience of people largely there to see the co-headliners.
With respect to the show’s early start, an air of tense anticipation descended upon the room as its occupants impatiently awaited Watain‘s appearance on the stage. This was lifted not by the band’s arrival, but rather by the wafting of their signature stench through the venue’s already fetid air. Watain played a decent set, albeit one that was arguably brief for a tour that they were supposedly co-billed as headliners on. Regardless, the intensity of the band’s presence – especially frontman Erik Danielsson’s constant movement – got the crowd into it and kept them there.
I’ve always found it hard to assess how realistic expectations of a band like Mayhem can be, in particular due to the storied history consisting of suicide, murder, and all sorts of other controversy-invoking shit. Looking past that though, one can’t deny Mayhem their place as pioneers of Black Metal. As such, I feel the music’s best assessed on its own merits, how it’s delivered in a live setting, and how its audience reacts to it. With these criteria in mind, I can only say that the performance was a solid one. It would be a fair argument that a larger amount of older material would have been welcome, but then that’s pretty much always the case. For a band calling themselves “The True Mayhem” in 2015, I’d say my expectations were pretty much on the mark.
Photos: Milton Stille
Photos: Asia Fairbanks