In Flames / Killswitch Engage / The Esoteric
The Beaumont Club, Kansas City, MO
May 7, 2004
TyreeReview by: Tyree

Despite my misgivings about their latest album, "Soundtrack To Your Escape," I nevertheless eagerly looked forward to my first experience seeing one of my favorite bands, In Flames, in concert. I must say, I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Cruising down into the congested snarl that is Kansas City's wanna-be hipster/party district of Westport, I received the unexpected treat of seeing In Flames vocalist Anders Frieden walking around. He was standing at the corner about three blocks from the club, waiting to cross the street. A little old man was standing at the corner talking to him and Anders was smiling and nodding politely. I was sorely tempted to yell "Hi Anders!" or "IN FLAMES!!!" or something else childish like that and flash the devil sign, but I didn't just in case it happened to be one of the dozens of other dreadlocked, bearded white guys who frequent Westport and not Anders, but once I saw him take the stage later on, I knew it had been him.

One thing I'll say for concerts at the Beaumont Club is that they begin on time, something I've never seen anywhere else. It's about the only good thing I can say about the Beaumont Club, however. Even though it's easily three times the size of The Bottleneck (A club in a town about an hour away and the only other nearby place frequently given to hosting metal shows,) it feels about three times smaller. The place is just a Great White-sized disaster waiting to happen, but I tolerate it for the music. Anyway, opening act The Esoteric took the stage and played a solid thirty minute set. While they weren't anything really special, I will say that The Esoteric did put on a good show and have solid musical ability. Their singer needs to lose his Glenn Danzig Misfits-era hair cut, but other than that, not a bad way to start the evening.

During the interim between acts, caught up with Kelly and some of his friends from MHK and over some beers, argued over whether the new In Flames album was really any good or not. All arguments were silenced, however, when Killswitch Engage hit the stage. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding KsE over the last year or so and while their brand of metalcore takes some getting used to for me, I will say they are solidly winning me over. They have that mix of heaviness and melody that I'm a sucker for and they know how to pack true feeling into a line of music, painting it in multiple shades of thought and emotion rather than just relying on mindless screaming to pull them through.

Although 80% of their set came from their last album, they also played about four or five songs worth of new material from their forthcoming cd "End of the Heartache." I must confess, the new material I've heard via mp3's doesn't sound as good as what came previously, but live, you can't tell the difference. This is a band that gives 110% on every song and if you're into this kind of music, I suggest you give them a chance. The only thing that spoiled it was the two guitarists' constant wisecracking between songs. I'm sorry, but after an intense, heartwrenching emotional high from one hell of a musical orgasm of a song, I'm just not in the mood to hear lame locker room jokes. It's like, I don't know, farting during a blowjob or something. Just totally kills the mood.

It seemed the instant Killswitch left the stage there were suddenly about five hundred more people in the club then there were before. In Flames definately has a following in the KC area, and they deserve it so. Although I had been watching with my friends from a balcony area in the back of the club, I gave into the temptation to wend my way forward into the pit. (Besides, I had to be sure that guy on the street really was Anders.)

After an insufferably long set-up and sound check period, In Flames finally took the stage with Anders warmly greeting the audience, something he would continue to do throughout the night. I must say, he is quite a front man and knows how to work a crowd. When he expresses his appreciation, you can tell it's genuine and it really brings the positivity up several notches for the whole show. In Flames opened up the set with one of my personal fave tunes, "Pinball Map" and it must have been a favorite of many others' too since the crowd was absolutely going berserk singing along to it. I couldn't resist going to berserk as well as they followed it up with one of my other favorite tunes, "System."

From here on, my memories get fuzzy as I was constantly being distracted by a pair of tall, gorgeous brunettes who wearing tearing it up in the pit alongside me. But I can say it was a crowd-pleasing show. Approximately half the set showcased songs from the "Clayman" and "Reroute to Remain" albums with the other half consisting of new material. One song from "Colony" made its way in, as did one from, I believe, the "Whoracle" album. As I've said often, the new cd doesn't compare to their older ones, but much as with Killswitch, In Flames gives 110% to the material live and you can't tell the difference. I was just as thrilled with their renditions of those songs as I was with anything else.

If there was a downside to the concert, it was that none of the bands were selling cd's (I'd REALLY hoped to add some KsE to my collection that night,) and none of In Flames' t-shirts were cool enough for me to justify parting with $25 over. And the fact that the two brunettes were parted from me before I got a chance to formally introduce myself. All in all, it was a blast. The sound quallity was crystal clear - a rarity at an arena show, let alone a club one - and it may have been the friendliest mosh pot I've ever seen. Nobody fell down without five sets of arms reaching to help them back up and the action temporarily abating to make sure everyone was okay. Nothing but smiling faces and sweaty bodies. The way good music should be.

Band Links Venue
In Flames
Killswitch Engage
The Esoteric
The Beaumont Club

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