I had never before been to the Palladium in Worcester (and yes, it’s pronounces wuss-ter,) but I must say I was fundamentally impressed with the place. I’m a sucker for metal venues that clearly used to be performance theatres back in the day, and the Palladium did not disappoint. It perhaps lacks the sheer character of The Chance (my personal favorite venue, and we all have one,) but it’s a great wide space with a good mix of casual seating and open floor space.
(Side note: I knew I was getting close to Boston when the guy at the parking lot had that unique and perfect mix of high-pitched Boston twang and the hot dog vendor as a ballpark. “TEN dahlahs tah pahk HEREAH!” I was a stranger in a strange and wonderful land.)
When I arrived at the venue, the house mix made me wonder if I was in the right place. The first two songs I heard, in order, were “Jukebox Hero” (more on this later) and “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” Now, I like me some Commodores, so no complaint there, but it didn’t feel right. I was concerned the evening was getting off to a bad start.
First band up was Mutiny Within. Here’s the brief synopsis. Not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, not the best. Next.
Arsis came next, and I had very little hope coming into this set. Something just didn’t quite feel right watching them walk onto the stage. But son of a gun, these guys aren’t bad. I admit to not really being intimately familiar with their catalogue, but they didn’t waste time telling me the title of every song, or continuing to mention that they had an album available at the merch table. So points for that. On top of that, I may have to look into these guys more, as I was impressed with the general tone of their playing, even if it borders of being a shade too unfocused.
I am seldom impressed by the all-too-common time sink known as the drum solo, but Daniel Erlandsson is a captivating drum artist who managed to hold my attention throughout.
If you were looking for stuff off of “The Root of All Evil” (which is technically old stuff,) there were a handful of highlights to be had. “Bury Me An Angel” might have been the jewel of the entire set, along with excellent reproductions of “Pilgrim” and “Diva Satanica.” Other crowd pleasers included “Revolution Begins” and “We Will Rise.” Truth be told though, they might well have played just about anything, and the sheer ferocity that their music was imbued with would have been enough. The crowd was drinking it all in, as much as they could take.
Eventually, the crowd started to get tired, but the band never did, finishing with a ferocious encore of “Nemesis” and “Snow Bound.” Really, really good stuff, if I can be allowed to understate it.
And naturally, after four bands and almost four a half hours of metal, what did I find stuck in my head a half hour into the drive home? “Jukebox Hero.” Damn it.
(Big thanks to Brian at Fresno for having a really big band in making this all come together.)