As a boxing announcer would say, “We arrrrrrrrre live!”

Calgary Metalfest fired off to a sold out Ship and Anchor pub on 17th Avenue. Nowhere could you go without bumping 20 people and saying, “Excuse me,” 40 times. The evening was headed up by hard rock group Open Air, warming up the venue with an almost radio-friendly styling with elements very reminiscent of classics like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

Moving on to hard rock group in Million Dollar Fix, the crowd only wanted more. The power chords were enough to knock your socks off with a high-energy drive that got the people jumping and the beer flowing. The first mosh pit of Metalfest was brought on by our next group, ALKATINE, and there was no holding back. Their long buildups and hard crashing tracks sent both people and beers flying. Next, Throne of Vengeance brought it with an Iron Maiden-esque feel of power metal with more double bass than the entire night. Attendees in the pit ate up every minute of it.

Starting off with a classic feel, Calgary Metalfest is in full swing. If there is one lesson to be learned from this evening, it’s to always wear shoes to a metal show, as one poor girl wearing light sandals ending up with glass in her foot would attest. Metalfest gains its first casualty!

Words by Matt Telgen

Clearly, this will be the grumpy counterpoint to my colleague’s praise.

The Ship and Anchor was packed already by 8:15 p.m., and a lineup of metal heads snaked around the corner as drinking revelers soaked in the last rays of sunshine. Open Air began the festivities, performing a ‘70s style of rock briefly reminiscent of the keyboard-laden sounds of Supertramp. The crowd seemed largely that of the pub, rather than that of metal, which was also reflected by the rock-oriented line-up. A wise decision on behalf of organizer Nathan Renaud given the location, though somewhat of a head scratcher given the event was intended to kick off a metal festival.

Million Dollar Fix was up next, and although the rock band is generally strong (though doesn’t cater to this snotty shithead’s taste), this set was particularly bad, a comment echoed by quite a few patched legions in attendance. Though the many attendees perched front stage would not agree, the butchered Metallica cover didn’t help. ALKATINE was much stronger, though it would have been perfect had they loosened up that snare and allowed that wet, sloppy and powerful sound to really resonate. The crowd paid no mind: dozens were pogoing.

Throne of Vengeance was the first truly suitable band of the evening, with rollicking rhythm and dueling guitars. Though their grungey vocals would have been better replaced by either soaring or roaring styles, they were undeniably tight, and the crowd was thrilled to accommodate their requests to go crazy on the floor as the band filmed a live video.

Calgary favourites Chron Goblin capped off the night. As their scheduled start time of 12:15 came and went, Black Sabbath blared over the speakers and attendees screamed along for the opening verse, then grew silent until collectively capping it off with “SATAN, LAUGHING, SPREADS HIS WINGS.”  The weed-addled denizens then drew the evening to a close with their tight stoner rock, stopping only to chug beers and clink glasses with the many still in attendance. All in all, the evening was a success on paper, despite being somewhat odd.

Grumpy shithead out!

Words and photos by Sarah Kitteringham


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