Early Man and Iced Earth

early_man

I went to see Early Man and Iced Earth on Wednesday at the Beaumont Club here in Kansas City. Accompanying me was my friend Beau Bledsoe, who has become a huge Early Man fan in the past few months. He was quite excited to see them live (Beau took the above picture of Early Man). Beau knows his stuff when it comes to music, and he told me which kind of amps Early Man was using (Orange) when he first heard the album. Sure enough, there were the Orange amps on stage when they went on. In addition, Early Man used quite a few classic guitars which pleased Beau to no end.

All that vintage equipment must be doing them favors, because they sounded great. Raw metal and thrash is what Early Man is all about, and they did not disappoint. Mike Conte (guitar and vocals) and Pete Macy (guitar) can both solo with the best of them, but they also know the value of just riding a good riff. 90% of the crowd was there for Iced Earth (in their I.E. t-shirts), and they responded more to the new material, which was more thrash than the old material. The new material is outstanding, by the way. I was expected to be let down after such an impressive debut album, but it was quite the opposite. They ended their set with “Death is the Answer”, which is now a classic, and they played the shit out of it.

Iced Earth was let down by the sound man for the first half of their set. The rhythm guitars were muddled and overpowering, drowning out everything except the drums. You couldn’t hear the lead guitar, and Matt Barlow was barely audible over the noise. They figured something out halfway through the set, and the levels improved dramatically, salvaging what was left of the show. Matt Barlow is amazing, perhaps the best vocalist in metal right now, and definitely the best singer I’ve ever seen live. He just unleashes on stage, and he sounds incredible. The only knock I have to give to Matt is he seemed like he didn’t know how to approach the songs that Iced Earth wrote with Tim Owens. Tim and Matt have very different singing styles, and Matt’s interpretation of Tim’s songs was off. I.E. played many of my favorites from their catalog, including “Storm Rider”, “The Coming Curse”, and “Pure Evil”. Honestly, “Watching Over Me” had to be my favorite song from the set. I know it’s cheesy, but I love that song, and hearing it live was the highlight of my night.

Beau wasn’t really into Iced Earth, although I can’t really blame him since the sound was so shitty at first. After a few songs he headed to a separate bar outside. He texted me about 15 min. later, saying “Im outside w Early Man!” I met him outside, where he was chatting up the bassist from Early Man, Tim Rammage. Tim was a super nice guy, very down to earth. It was ironic since Beau and I were joking earlier that the bassist has to be the lowest guy on the totem pole in metal bands. They’re necessary, but only in a support role. No one pays attention to the bassist. Anyway, mentioned to Tim that I was impressed that he and his band mates were still rocking the old school tight black jeans. Of course I also had to ask where does one get those jeans? Do they make them themselves? Tim said you can find them in certain stores in NY and LA, and yes, sometimes he has altered jeans himself.

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~ by mikehill25 on November 14, 2008.

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