Saturday, August 03, 2013

Age Of Winters

The Sword / Castle / American Sharks
Slim's, San Francisco
August 2, 2013

The Sword are one of those bands who I've followed from almost Day One but over the years I've taken for granted.  I still buy their music but have tended to skip shows every once in awhile.  Long time Music Geeks know what I mean:  Sometimes you just forget how much you like a band.  Out of sight and out of mind.

The opening bands were solid for the night.  I'd seen American Sharks somewhere before (although I couldn't remember where..) and their front man's chatty nature combined with their competent Rock groove was an entertaining start.  The only reason that Castle was on my radar is because Death Angel's drummer Will is touring with them... but I then learned that Umlaut's old friend Billy Anderson also produced their latest album.  Interesting.  Not bad, but I got the sense that most of the crowd were focused on Elizabeth the bass player and not the songs at first... but by the last note the songs seemed to have won over the crowd.  I hope they had a long line at their merch table after the show.

According to the Umlaut Archives this was the 8th time I've seen The Sword dating back to their first tour in 2006.  The fact they were holding court at Slim's for 2 nights was impressive and what they pulled off tonight made me a Sword fan all over again.  Prior to their set Jason Black Cobra introduced me to the Texans and they mentioned how they were going to "wing it" and play their debut album Age Of Winters front to back tonight.  DOH!  Because they were playing 2 nights in San Francisco they didn't want to play the same set twice.

 The Sword's glamorous backstage spread

As the band started into 'Celestial Crown' the crowd warmed up... Then came 'Barael's Blade' with it's semi-iconic chorus that got the crowd lit up more.. THEN came 'Freya' and the crowd realized exactly what was happening and the energy level went through the roof.  Pretty damn cool.  I liked how The Sword didn't say a word to the audience the entire time and didn't pander to the fact they were playing a special set.  They simply let the music do the talking and understood their fans would *get it*.  Kinda epic.

It was only after all 9 songs from Age Of Winters were unleashed on San Francisco that John finally spoke to the crowd with a "Thank you"..  Then The Sword returned for a 5 song encore that included 2 songs that I'm pretty sure are only on singles... followed by 3 selections from their most recent albums.  Special setlist, man.

I couldn't help but flash back to the first time I saw The Sword on their first tour in 2006.  They looked and acted inexperienced onstage (which they were..)... but fast forward 7 years and they're now all growed up and a well-oiled Rock Machine.  The fact they effortlessly and flawlessly pulled out their debut album tonight is a testament to how far they've come.  Pretty cool.. However, they're still those nerdy D&D guys at heart as witnessed by their intro tape being from the Dune movie soundtrack.  The Geeks shall inherit The Earth.

If you bought one of every Sword merch item you would have paid around $180.  Oddly, while The Sword hot sauce was for sale, they only had the picture disc of their latest album for sale and not the CD or regular vinyl.  Oh well... On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  Anyway, it's now a Saturday afternoon and I have a total craving for an egg salad sandwich for some reason.. How do you boil eggs again?