While this was an exceptional(y) weird show, it was amazing nonetheless. I had never seen Avatar, and to be honest, Dance with the Dead was the main reason I was going, because I absolutely am hooked on those dudes.
First up, was the interesting, comical, and avant-garde duo that called themselves 68. It was a drummer and guitarist, but they managed to sound like a whole band. It would be difficult to describe their music correctly, aside from rock riff/ chaotic experimentation, that was extremely well executed. Definitely check them out.
I am still pretty disappointed at the lighting situation at Starland. For some reason, even though they have a great lighting setup, they choose to only use dark red lights on all the opening bands. I have heard a few bands even ask for slightly more lighting because of how dimly lit the stage it is. This is horrendous for photos, and many great acts kind of get the shaft for it. But so it goes.
Dance With the Dead is one of my absolute favorite sythnwave bands. They blend an amazing retro synth sound with darkwave, and flawless metal riffs, executing exceptional of pairing of multiple music genres. There were some old and new fan favorites in the mix, and I couldn't tell if the crowd was prepared for the wall of awesome they had constructed. I feel safe saying there is something for everyone in their catalog of music.
"Whats more awkward than a dude playing weird acoustic music right before a theatrical metal band?" Devin Townsend. (His words, not mine.) But in all honesty, he is a master at his craft, people love what he does, and it's always a pleasure to see what he comes up with. That being said, it was quiet, slow, and odd compared to the opening and closing acts.
Over the past couple years, there have been only a few shows where previously unseen bands have surprised me. This was one of those shows. I had not expected to be the only photographer there, which was an added bonus. The theatrics were set to maximum, and rising from the shadows was the King of Avatar Country. Glory to our King!