Jul 142012

Agalloch’s current North American tour kicked off on July 11 in Portland and I saw the show when they moved up to Seattle the next night. That pic up above is the awesome poster created by Stevie Floyd for the tour. I intended to buy it at the show, but lost my mind at some point during Agalloch’s set and forgot.

They played at The Crocodile, a venue that was a fixture of the Seattle music scene (Nirvana played their first live show there, for example) for 16 years before it closed in 2007. It reopened under new ownership in 2009 after extensive remodeling, but this was the first time I’d been there (they don’t book many metal shows). Nice place — a big open floor with a full bar in the back and a small balcony area to the right. By the time Agalloch started (well after 11 p.m., unfortunately), the floor was jammed with people all the way from the front of the stage back to the bar.

Preceding Agalloch was another Portland band named Eight Bells (who aren’t part of the full NorthAm tour) and then Taurus (a two-woman band, also from Portland, that includes the afore-mentioned Stevie Floyd from Dark Castle). I enjoyed Eight Bells’ post-rock instrumentals, but the tag-team vocals of Melynda Jackson and Haley Weiner were too often off-key, and I confess that I gave up after the first three songs and went outside and spent the rest of their set catching up with Ryan Yancey and James Furrow from Blood and Thunder, a hard-working, hard-playing band we’re big fans of, who are forging ahead despite a couple of recent line-up changes. They’ll be opening for Korpiklaani, Moonsorrow, Tyr, and Metsatoll in Seattle on September 8, and I’m tremendously stoked for that show.

I confess that the suffocating, funereal, sludge-doom of Taurus wasn’t my thing either. Constantly shrouded in smoke and with a strange video in continuous motion on a big screen behind them, Floyd and Ashley Spungin churned out an unrelenting fog of ponderous slamming chords, unpredictably timed drum explosions, and disturbing pre-recorded noise. The suicidally depressive atmospherics of the music just didn’t mesh well with my mood, and I gave up after about half an hour and retreated to more outdoor conversation.

Agalloch’s set was pretty much all I could have wanted. It included some of my favorite older songs from the band’s discography (including “In the Shadow of Our Pale Companion” and “Not Unlike the Waves”), some songs I hadn’t heard them play in previous shows I’ve attended (including “As Embers Dress the Sky” from Pale Folklore), and their most recent release, “Faustian Echoes” (reviewed here).

I’ve run out of new things to say about Agalloch’s live performances. They’re four consummate musicians who are serious as a heart attack in preparing for and delivering spot-on performances in a live setting, and on this night, as before, I was completely transported by the power, beauty, and intensity of their music.

I took some photos, though I took them from a distance, not wanting to burrow through the crush to get closer to the stage. Here are the best of the bunch.



  13 Responses to “AGALLOCH LIVE IN SEATTLE (July 12, 2012)”

  1. I saw them last night, and I was blown away by their performance. It was absolute magic, made all the better by one of the most enthusiastic crowds I’ve seen in a while! A performance for the ages, certainly the best show of the year so far!

  2. That Stevie sure does like depicting hands in art. I need to check and see when Agalloch is coming near me again… I forgot the date… to the search bar!

    • Philly on the 27th… yeah I probably won’t be able to go. I wanna see Pathology on the 5th of August (day after my birthday… I’m not sure why I mention that since I don’t celebrate my birthday anymore) and that’s IN Delaware. Plus I wanna hear some Enfold Darkness on the same date. The only thing that may allow me to go is if the Slaughter Survivors Tour is 21+ and my transportation is able to transportate, and then there’s the whole fuel thing.

  3. Hmmm… Omaha is the closest venue. 200 miles away on Wednesday night. I may need to block out my work calendar for Thursday morning so I can sleep late.

    • That’s a heavy lift. Every time I’ve seen them, they’ve started late and their sets are long. You’d have to prepare for the idea of getting back on the road somewhere in the vicinity of 1 am with a 3-hour drive ahead of you.

  4. Islander, was Taurus anything like Dark Castle?

  5. Sounds like you had a great time. Looking forward to their stop in Denver on the 17th!

    • I definitely put them in the must-see category. Looks like a Boulder-based band named Velnias is opening that show (as well as the one in Omaha). I found one of their older songs on Bandcamp:


      • I will be attending the Denver show this evening. Thanks for the post, Islander– I had completely spaced that they were here tonight and wouldn’t have remembered had it not been for surfing NCS this morning. What luck!

  6. I’m going to see them on the 25th, and it really looks to be a good show. I’m always cautious of hearing how the acoustic sounds replicated on the electric after seeing Opeth a few years back. Did that hold up?

    • That’s a very good question, because where the acoustic passages appear in their music, they appear for a reason — they’re an important part of the changing moods in the songs. I think some of the success of those moments is inevitably lost when an electric guitar is used in these live performances, but it’s not a big loss. Whatever they’re doing with the tuning and the foot-pedal effects as those moments start, they get a sound from the guitars that’s not too far off from an amplified acoustic quality, at least as I hear it.

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