One of the heavy metal connoisseur’s greatest fears is that their their favorite underground band will get big. There is a fear that the band will no longer be their own special love, and the band will be spread across the world for squares everywhere to enjoy. Wolves In The Throne Room quickly catapulted into mainstream success, and because of this, many fans are still bitter. Even I had my reservations as I stood in the midst of the sold out crowd at Slim’s as I waited for Wolves to come on. When you’re a big band you get the big band crowd. Drunken weirdos and teenage message board lurkers surrounded me as we all waited in collected anticipation.
Ash Borer from Arcata opened the show, and they sounded fantastic. The professional sound system allowed their dynamic sound to reach new heights that few have heard before. Opening for WITTR certainly put the spotlight on them, but for now Ash Borer are still one of the underground’s beloved treasures. Locals and Profound Lore Records artists Worm Ouroboros followed them with a dreamy set of ethereal psychedelic chamber music.
As the lights dimmed and Wolves took the stage all of my reservations and irritations disappeared. When it comes down to it the music they play is incredible. Wolves have never compromised their sound no matter what, and their live show is still as vigorous and passionate as ever. The set list well represented their trilogy of full lengths (Two Hunters, Black Cascade, and Celestial Lineage). The highlight of the night for me was “Cleansing” into “I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks And Roots” from Two Hunters. The band played in near darkness with tones of blue light there as if to provide some sort of assurance that there were in fact humans on the stage. By the end of their set I felt energized rather than drained. There is something life-affirming about the music of Wolves In The Throne Room, and it’s something that is best realized in a live setting.
Thuja Magus Imperium
I Will Lay Down My Bones Among The Rocks And Roots
Prayer Of Transformation
Photos courtesy of SF Sludge: