Concert Review: Blackbraid, May 27, The Phoenix Concert Theatre


Let’s face it, print media is a dying form. This is certainly noticeable in the music press in recent years, where despite the occasional blip like Creem magazine coming back from the grave, it’s much more common to see longtime music mags either switch to online only formats (SPIN, NME) or just shut down operations entirely (Q). So it’s a nice change from that pattern to see a magazine that has not only managed to stick around for close to 20 years now, but has even put together a successful touring package of bands featured within its pages.

I’m speaking of course of Decibel Magazine and its Decibel Magazine Tour, which has been going strong for 11 years now. One of the strengths of Decibel as a magazine is the the depth and breadth of their coverage, with acts spanning a wide variety of subgenres, and even the occasional non-metal act (I seem to recall a story on Mogwai a few years back), featured within its pages. Another great thing about their coverage is that rather than just covering the stalwarts of the genre, Decibel will often champion the up and comers or lesser known acts of the metal world. This spirit was definitely seen in the lineup of the latest edition of the Decibel Tour which featured both established acts like Dark Funeral and Cattle Decapitation alongside relative newcomers 200 Stab Wounds and Blackbraid. In fact, of all the acts on the bill, the one that interested me the most was not only the most recently established band, but also the first one up for the evening – Blackbraid.

Blackbraid is the brainchild of Jon Krieger aka Sgah’gahsowáh, and while it’s essentially a one-man solo project with Krieger handling all of the music, in the live setting he focuses completely on vocals and being the frontman, putting on a compelling and energetic performance.

Taking to the stage at the not-terribly-metal hour of 7:00, Blackbraid were lucky enough to be playing to a fairly large crowd for such an early set time – clearly, word has gotten out on the Adirondack-based band, with many in attendance stoked to see their performance.

As they took to the stage to the sounds of traditional indigenous drumming and singing, Blackbraid made it clear from the get-go that their indigenous culture and heritage are a central part of the band’s identity. And tunes like “The Spirit Returns” and “Moss Covered Bones on the Altar of the Moon” clearly show that the band has got the goods live.

Having just formed last year and with only one album to their name (with another on the way very soon – July 7), Blackbraid may have been the rookies on this bill, but they definitely left a strong impression, putting on an incredibly entertaining set and coming on strong with the energy of a headliner rather than the first band up on a four band bill. A friendly reminder that if you’re able to, you should go see the openers. Also? Go buy a magazine.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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