GIG REVIEW: CRADLE OF FILTH, BUTCHER BABIES & NE OBLIVISCARIS Live at House of Blues, San Diego, CA
This was one of those weird line-ups that just don’t make sense: an immensely talented progressive extreme metal band opening for a run-of-the-mill nu metal band, and a popular pseudo-goth band that once played symphonic black metal. I caught this weird line-up at the House of Blues, one of San Diego’s finest venues for loud music.
The night started off great as Ne Obliviscaris began the proceedings with “Devour Me, Colossus (Part I)” from their latest album ‘Citadel’, sounding absolutely flawless. I talked to a few people at the show – before and after NeO’s set – and found that while some people had no clue who NeO were, some others were attending the gig only for those guys. The good thing about NeO being on this line-up would be the exposure they would get from a different kind of audience than usual.
The next track they played was “Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise” from their debut album ‘Portal of I’. I had waited for this for so long, and I finally witnessed them play a track off that album. The studio-quality cleans and violins amidst intense drumming and tempo changes hit me like a brick, and I loved it. NeO followed it up with another great performance, of the song “Painters of the Tempest (Part II): Triptych Lux”. Their setlist sadly came to an end here, with their final (and probably most popular) track “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope”. Watching this live, especially with the violin intro, was a dream come true. I so wished they had a longer set.
Butcher Babies were next, and although I was content for the night, I was eager to investigate how they have this kind of following, and whether it goes beyond their sex appeal. Unfortunately, I still don’t have an answer right now. One thing I did observe was that their performance gathered the maximum movement and energy in the crowd, and I don’t know what to infer from that observation. It seemed like the people who were eager to see them were happy by the end of the set. As for the rest, it was a good time for them to rest or look around at the merch table, which was in another room altogether. The two women moved and jumped around a lot, much to my dismay and much to other’s pleasure (no, I’m not gay; it’s just that their music is extremely mediocre).
Now that I had survived that experience, I awaited the headlining set of Cradle of Filth. Their setlist was a good mix of old and new, which started off pretty strong with “Heaven Torn Asunder” from their second full-length ‘Dusk and Her Embrace’. The set included other classics from their mid-90s era like “Malice Through the Looking Glass” and “The Principle of Evil Made Flesh”. “Lord Abortion” was received with great cheer and excitement, being one of their more popular tracks. CoF’s encore consisted of more crowd favourites like “Her Ghost in the Fog”, “Cruelty Brought thee Orchids” and “Nymphetamine”. All in all, it was a pretty standard Cradle of Filth setlist that attempted to please fans of all eras.
Bottom line: I found the line-up in this gig to be a mismatch, and almost orthogonal to each other when it comes to the spectator’s interests. In terms of the individual performances though, Ne Obliviscaris is a band you should watch out for in the future, and Cradle of Filth is a good band you should check off your list of bands to watch.