This evening at the Royale would prove to be one for the history books. The weekend, all around, ended up being one of many firsts. For myself (Josh), this was my first time to Boston, first time to the Royale, first time to actually meet and hit a show with Corey and the first time seeing Neurosis, Converge or Amenra which I, and we, have been following for many years. So it was a trip that will go down in the history books on a lot of levels. As for the show, this combination of bands is like the stars aligning just right for that one moment in time. It was a night of three heavyweights that, in a major way, leveled an entire block of Boston for several hours on August 6, 2017. The plan is to discuss this adventure in three pieces, and we’ll kick things off with the mighty Amenra.
After being treated like a king by my hosts, having some exceptional IPA’s (looking straight at you Stoneface), and a pregame excursion to Trillium’s Beer Garden and Jacob Wirth, it was time. I’ve never been to a place quite like the Royale, it had a vibe all its own and was set up perfectly. Bars in easy reach no matter where you were in the venue, a second level with seating (I’m talking couches and seats, people), a roomy main level and a wide front stage area. Everyone we came in contact with was friendly and accommodating which always helps. The merch tables were sprawling, as they should have been for this trio of bands. After mere minutes of door time the place was packed wall to wall with people excited to see this show. This goes without saying… no one left disappointed.
Before we get into the actual show, we were treated to a pre show warm up by Amenra which was a rare glimpse into the mind of a band making those last minute tweaks to ensure the best possible sound and lighting. If there were any gaps in the band’s performance we sure couldn’t hear it as they sounded amazing. Colin H. Van Eeckhout (CHVE) was like a scientist going back and forth to the soundbooth and across the stage floor inspecting each light and listening in for any possible bad spots for sound. He was a man possessed for several tense minutes and their actual performance held all the answers as to why he took such care with everything.
Based on the aforementioned packed house, everyone knew what kind of heavy they were in for with Amenra. With an eerie backdrop the band eased into “.The Pain. It Is Shapeless.” but once the first sonic mass of guitars, bass, drums and CHVE’s harrowing screams ripped through the venue everyone went ballistic. CHVE began with his back to the audience and violently rocking back and forth to the crashing rhythms the band provided. Anyone that follows the band knows they have a cavalcade of output to pull from but for this show they focused on their heaviest run: Mass III through Mass V and throughout the next four songs they commanded the stage and left jaws lying on the floor with their visceral attack on the ears and the senses. Just for reference points their arch loosely follows Neurosis in the sense that they started with a very jagged and aggressive sound but slowly found their true calling with a mixture of very heavy doom and beautifully executed post metal. On this night they showcased some of their best and heaviest work and by the last note of “.Silver Needle. Golden Nail.” the place erupted in approval of what we all had just witnessed. This was not your typical opener, this was the first of three headline worthy acts of the night that gave the fans more than what they came for.
Stay tuned for part II.