If you saw my post below, you know I had pretty high hopes for Agalloch, who played Kings on Sunday. I've been to quite a few heavy shows lately that were pretty disappointing -- not because the bands were bad, but because the venue was practically empty. No matter how great a band may be, they just won't have the same energy while playing to a half-empty venue. There are a lot of open-minded metal heads in this area. I'm not sure why so many shows are bombing. I've heard a few theories about the split between the Volume 11 loyalists and various other factions. I'm not sure it's that simple. I can say that most of the metal heads I know are in their 30s or early 40s and have stable jobs that require them to be at work at 9 a.m. or earlier. If the average weeknight show doesn't start until 10 p.m., they're not going to come out unless it's a band they really want to see. I can also say that if we as a community don't find a way to get out and support heavy shows, the venues are going to stop booking them.
Having said all that, Agalloch played to a packed house and totally lived up to expectations. In retrospect, their show last year at Kings was probably my favorite of the year, and Sunday's show was easily my favorite of 2012. Singer-guitarist John Haughm once again began the show by lighting incense and placing it around the stage in tiny iron cauldrons. No offense to the band, but I honest to God think that incense made the show for me. Last year I liked it so much I Facebooked Aesop Dekker who said he thought it was actual agalloch wood. Evidently I'm not alone in my love of that incense because as soon as it started billowing over the rapt audience, the dude next to me looked at me and said, "they should sell that at the merch table." He's right; they should sell that at the merch table.
The band is touring behind their latest one-track release, "Faustian Echoes,"which they played during the show. Personally I was more looking forward to once again hearing songs from "Marrow of the Spirit," especially "Into the Painted Grey," and they didn't disappoint. That song might actually be one of my favorite songs of all time, and it was wonderful to hear it live again.
I didn't quite know what to make of openers Taurus (above), a two-woman, guitar-and-drums band that included Stevie Floyd of Dark Castle. I was pretty enthralled by the ethereal, 1970s Middle Eastern art movies that they projected onto the walls behind them. The music itself was loud, heavy, and exotic, recalling Diamanda Galas on more than one occasion. Each of their songs had at least one part I really dug, but a lot of stuff that did nothing for me. See more photos.