Concert Review: The Sword

017A couple of months ago, I caught wind of a cool show…co-headlined by The Sword and Clutch.  If you are into that particular style of music I think you would find it to be a worthy show to attend.  They happened to be passing though Denver; my (only) choice of cities for concerts and I planned on attending.  However, when I was at Death Angel on 7 Nov, I heard that The Sword was performing in Fort Collins instead of Denver.  I thought maybe this was a one-off show to occupy a day off, but when I did the research, I realized that Clutch and The Sword split the Denver date in two…The Sword in Fort Collins while Clutch still played as scheduled.   Needless to say, based on the title of this article, I chose to see The Sword in Fort Collins which just happened to be an hour closer to home.  Also performing were Fort Collins natives Bronze and Boulder, CO natives Black Acid Devil.

The Aggie Theater was the venue of choice and due to its proximity to home I was thankful.  As my wife and I took our spot in line there were only a few people there.  It looked like it was going to be a sparsely crowded evening.  While in line we talked with a few young folks that were eager concert goers…reminded me a bit of myself when I was a few decades younger.  Our talk of music and concerts passed the time nicely as we discussed bands we had already seen and those we still wished to see.  They were cool kids in their young 20s and I was envious because they had decades ahead of them to see so many shows on top of what they had already seen.  As we entered the standing room only theater, my first stop was the merchandise booth as usual. The fellow there told me why The Sword wasn’t playing in Denver as scheduled.  Since The Sword is scheduled to play two dates, 30-31 Dec in Denver, they were contractually obligated NOT to play in Denver until then.  I guess it was our luck they chose Fort Collins to play their set.

Bronze

Bronze

Black Acid Devil

Black Acid Devil

Bronze and Black Acid Devil had cool sets.  Their style of music is right in the ballpark with The Sword except Bronze was more on the lighter rockin’ style where Black Acid Devil sounded a bit like Kyuss meets the vocalist from High on Fire.  They definitely had an angrier edge to them.  Unfortunately, they had some sound issues arise just minutes before their set they were not able to resolve.  Despite a persistent hum, the soldiered on doing the best they could.  When they played, it overpowered the hum, but in between songs it was quite evident there was a sound problem.  As a trio of sludgy styled bands, they still complimented each other’s’ slightly differing styles quite well.

What I thought was going to be a sparsely populated theater got packed quickly.  The capacity crowd was very eager to see The Sword. They took the stage and opened with Arrows in the Dark.  Most of the songs they played were instantly recognizable as my favorites from their catalog.  To name a few in addition to the opener were Freya, Tres Brujas, Apocryphon, Dying Earth, How Heavy This Axe, Lawless Lands, and Cloak of Feathers.  If I am not mistaken they closed the set with Ebethron combined with a cover of Rush’s Working Man. The 75-minute set included more songs, but they escape me at the moment.  Their playing was meticulous and John Cronise was a man of few words, opting to thank the crowd periodically, but leaving the storytelling to the music itself.  One thing that surprised me was a massive pit opened up in front of the stage in the lower section of the theater floor around the fourth song.  I never thought The Sword would inspire a Lamb of God styled pit.  I figured it was a fluke, spur of the moment thing for a heavier song, but the pit lasted for the rest of the show.  My wife never saw such a pit up close and personal…we were positioned in the front of the next higher level where we had clear view of the stage and the pit.  Overall, it was a real treat to see them headline their own show.  I saw the set lists from their co-headlining shows with Clutch and on their own they were able to play 4-5 more songs for us in Fort Collins. Plus, my non-metal wife likes The Sword, so it was an added pleasure to be able to experience an evening of understandable metal with her.

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About Reggie

Just a dude writing a heavy metal blog and always on the prowl for a cool metal show. I am also a family man...first and foremost!

Posted on November 18, 2013, in Concert Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Two bands I like to see as well. Great live sound, especially for a Youtube video!

    The weekend before last I also had two awesome evenings. On Friday Blues Pills and Orchid in Cologne, which where both fantastic. Also I had the chance to talk to members of both bands, which was also very cool. On Saturday I saw Biohazard in a little venue in Frankfurt. They totally blew me and every single one there away! Extremely powerful and giving all they had, they managed to make every single person (about 150, very packed) participate in every thinkable way. Great band as well as audience. I night I will never forget!

    Sadly no videos of both nights (I don’t like to shoot and always hope others will do. Also no cam would have survived Biohazard:-D

    Also I don’t know If you know Blues Pills. Definitely a band that’s worth checking out!

    • Biohazard is one band I have not seen and always wanted to. It sounds like you had a good time; I heard Biohazard shows were quite “lively.” I never thought my camera would take decent live footage, but that little pocket-sized inexpensive Nikon Coolpix does a surprisingly good job. So, I take one or two from some of the shows I see.

      Blue Pills is pretty cool, they have a late 60s kind of vibe. She even looks a little like Janis Joplin.

  2. Sounds like an excellent show. I hope to get to see The Sword one day soon. I’ve made two attempts at taking my non-metalhead wife to shows. First was KISS in 1999 (original line-up) and that went pretty well as she enjoyed the whole theater of it. Sepultura in 2011 didn’t go over quite so well. I wonder how’d she feel about The Sword…. might be worth a shot.

    My most recent concert was last week: High on Fire with Doomriders and Kvelertak. All three were good, but Kvelertak stole the show for me. They reminded me of The Sword, mainly in the way their style is just so….. um…… joyful, I guess. While seriously skilled, they seem to be having a ball and it is contagious.

    • My first attempt at metal with my wife was Judas Priest and Anthrax. The latter didn’t go over too well, but Priest puts on a show. I thought she would take to Dream Theater, but she was bored by long songs though she does recognize their musicianship. The ones she liked best was Black Label Society and The Sword. Key to success with my wife is that it has to be understandable…no growling or screaming and I think she likes that classic rock beat you sometimes get with the sludgy bands.

      I need to check out Kvelertak. I keep hearing about them.

      Oh, I scored major hubby points taking her to see Bon Jovi.

  3. Sucks you missed out on Clutch, but that’s awesome it lead to a longer set from The Sword. I am still dying to catch them. That looks like it was a killer set list, and…. Holy Fuck!!! RUSH COVER!!!!! I am so jealous! hehe 🙂
    I do have to say, next time Clutch comes to your area, check ’em out. There’s a reason I’ve seen them live over a dozen times 😉

    Great review, pics, and video!

    • Clutch is another one of those bands I saw a couple times, but never owned anything. It wasn’t until after that second performance that I started to appreciate their style. First time I saw them was with Pantera and it was a strange mix, I must say, but it worked. I am bummed I missed them in Denver, but seeing a full set from The Sword was certainly worth it. I will keep my eye out for Clutch at another date and location.

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