Arsonists Get All The Girls - The Underground - 6/26/2014

Going to a show at The Underground is always an interesting experience. The basement-style venue is popular for local and national acts and crams in its audience for the bigger shows.

One of the most memorable shows I've been to there was about four years ago. My friends opened up a show with For Today. The night ended with For Today's set, which was possibly the hottest set I've ever watched. As the crowd left, a pool of water, presumably from everyone's sweat, had formed in the middle of the floor.

While I didn't expect anything close to that last night, the expectation for myself was that the show would have a pretty big turnout. Arsonists Get All The Girls has a solid following, but the amount of people in the venue throughout the evening was fairly low.

The show started out with local acts opening the night and getting the small crowd prepared for the shredding that would ensue. Sure, there may not have been a lot of people, I'd estimate less than 60, but the bands playing were still fun to watch. It's not like the show was on a day of the week that was too much of an inconvenience for people. Sure, it wasn't a Friday or Saturday, but you'd think the kids would at least show up during summer vacation.

It got interesting once Adamant took the stage. The band had a raw metal sound and a strong hardcore influence, with the small collection of fans moving along to them. The vocalist at one point even got off the stage to mosh with the fans to get the energy going. From this band on, the crowd slowly came alive. The hardcore dancers were the liveliest people, aside from the bands. The swinging arms and spin-kicks caused people to extend their arms in defense, or move out of the way.

While the amount of people at the show never increased much, each band had an increase in energy when they took the stage. Scylla, the final local band of the night, jumped up and down in time with their bouncy guitar leads. Having seen these guys before, their set was a little different this time around with the addition of two new members. Upon seeing that they had a new drummer and guitar player, I wondered if they would be able to perform at the same level as their previous lineup. Although I'm not too familiar with their material, the band seemed to do just fine with the new guys to wrap up the local openers.

As soon as Years Since The Storm went on, it felt as if the temperature went up 10 degrees. It didn't seem possible for a small amount of people to generate that much heat. Years Since The Storm, Gift Giver, and Arkaik were the heaviest bands of the night. Both had such command over their instruments and displayed a hypnotizing level of technical skill. I was at the side of the stage for Arkaik and remember being completely focused on the guitars for a particular song. The way both of them seemed to move their fingers along the guitar like it was nothing was crazy to watch. Being someone who played the drums for several years, I always wished I had stuck to guitar when I see artists play the instrument as well as these guys did. As for Gift Giver, this band had a cool stage presence to their set. Four out of the five members on stage were wearing different Detroit sports jerseys, as the band comes from Michigan. The singer was wearing one of the band's own shirts, though. I've always found bands wearing their own merchandise to be a weird concept, but last night was a little different. The front of the shirt was a mug shot of Ian Watkins of Lostprophets with the word "Scumbag" underneath. For those that don't know, this guy was put in jail for being a sex offender, so I had to agree with the shirt.

Finally, Arsonists Get All The Girls went on. The crowd got much smaller by this point, which is the exact opposite of what I thought would happen. The band commanded people to squeeze up front and pack it in to get a little more intimate. The band played and went wild on stage. The small breaks they had in the middle of the songs were spent talking to the crowd and occasionally asking if anyone had smoked weed that night. At one point they had gotten so rowdy on stage that their guitarist tripped and fell down right in front of my feet. Rather than get up and continue playing, he stayed there on his back and played through the rest of the song before getting back on both feet and asking "What happened?"

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Austin Paetow
Contact: Austin Paetow