My ears are still ringing from the Cradle of Filth show I saw at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco, CA, and my neck still hurts from the head banging, and I have a terrible headache. I am writing this the morning after the show and my physical state is the best indication that this was one of the most intense shows I've ever seen.
Impaled opened. As my friend Greg remarked, they should have been (they weren't so bad, but I couldn't resist repeating that comment). Though not entirely their fault, they sounded pretty lame due to the bad mix. Sadistic Intent was next and by far they were the best of the opening bands. They played classic chug-a-chug death metal which was intense and melodic. Definitely a band worth investigating. Enthroned followed Sadistic Intent. This is not the same Enthroned from Belgium, and they were mediocre, though the keyboards were pretty cool.
Of course, most of the crowd there had come to see Cradle of Filth, the headlining act. The band was incredibly tight and aggressive, and played song after song in an unrelenting fashion. The songs they played spanned their entire four album career, including tunes like Dusk and Her Embrace, A Gothic Romance, Desire in Violent Overture, Venus in Fear, and Black Goddess Rises.
It was Dani who played the role of the front man, constantly engaging and entertaining the crowd. The rest of the band excellently reproduced their musical virtuosity in the studio, and were seemingly content in doing just that. Both Enthroned and Cradle of Filth dedicated songs to Jeff Becerra, of the late great thrash band Possessed (and in which Larry LaLonde of Primus once played guitar). The female dancers on the side were pretty cool---I was surprised they were actually included as part of the U.S. shows.
The Maritime Hall is a nice place to watch a band. It has high ceilings, which make for decent acoustics. Parking, normally a pain in San Francisco, isn't a big problem here. The atmosphere is cozy and there were probably between 300-400 people at this show, which was a bit odd given that this was one of a handful of shows that Cradle of Filth was playing in this country. For the first time in a long while, I saw a fairly decent mosh pit (though I don't think much of moshing). All in all, a terrific show with a lot of passion and, at least in the U.S., a rare opportunity to see a great band.