The mere fact that the the new, major label darlings The Sword are headlining over a band
that has been in a suspended state of relative obscurity - nay, popular inertia -
for the better half
of nearly the last two decades is what serves as a bit of an impetus for the cross-examination that they've been under since their inception. Well, credibility and authenticity
are important signposts, especially when it comes to metal; but in a live setting, The Sword were
definitely in their element, and showed that they were at least eager to dispel any notions of
disingenuity, at the least. At the most, they had an intensity and a drive that would put
many so-called "true" metal bands to shame. Their studio material, however, pales in comparison. But, like I said, this band excels in a live setting that completely eclipses and obliterates any of the purile and ho-hum tendencies that are part and parcel of their studio repetoire.
Slough Feg... ah yes. The Bay Area band has been a bit of a perpetual outlier and constantly riding the cusp of metal obscurity for most of its existence - much to the dismay of the metal community, which is just now, in large, starting to discover and herald them for the tasteful, intelligent and timeless band that they are. Their set was wrought with youthful abandon and a swagger that would usually be befitting of a band half their age; yet they exude enough charisma and boyant energy to rival Iron Maiden as far as stage presence and command goes.
The band tore through a veritable "best-of" - reaching as far back as their debut and as recent as their latest, more streamlined and, arguably, commercially-viable outing, Hardworlder
(which, in my not-so-humble-opinion, is nowhere near the staggering commercial conceit than many-a-detractor has posited - it's simply a bit more palletable and somewhat refined). Everyone in the band were consummate professionals and extremely personable. No rock-star, primadonna posteuring and holier-than-thou attitudes on display. Just simple, almost blue-collar rockers who know how aren't afraid to rock out with all of the intensity that they can possibly muster. So, of course they delivered. They basically set the bar so incredibly high for the night that The Sword, besides being spot on technically, were much more subdued than their tourmates. This came as no suprise, though. Slough Feg has built quite a reputation on their now-legendary live act; and this night proved as no exception.
Now, enough pontificating and onto the visual goods: