The Eternal Nightmare Tour with Chelsea Grin
w/s/g Slaughter To Prevail, Enterprise Earth, Traitors, Bodysnatcher, Somewhere To Call Home
June 3rd, 2019
Jupiter Hall; Albany, NY
Even with the dullest of albums and at the least captivating of shows, I look for something positive. Pretty much from Day One, I’ve had a tough time with negativity. I know that over the years I’ve written some stuff and shot some photos that were … less than great, so I aim for the same leniency. That being said, I’ve got a little groundwork to lay here before I go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off.
So, let’s get going.
This one is going to be a little bit different because, well, this night was a little bit different. During the time that I’ve been involved with music, I’ve been to some good venues, I’ve been to some great venues, I’ve been to some okay venues, and I’ve been to some bad venues. More often than not, the show has been elevated by the good ones and at a bad one, a good show can salvage it. When Jupiter Hall opened up inside of Lucky Strike Social a couple of years ago, it was welcomed with mostly-open arms. On one hand, people joked about a concert venue inside of a mall. On the other, in a B-market with slim pickings of venues, we took whatever chance we could get at more live music. Plus, it wasn’t added into some small operation; Crossgates is one of the biggest malls in the state and top 25 in the country in terms of square footage. Now that I have all of this out of the way, I’ll say this: while my first experience with this venue wasn’t the best, it was rescued to some degree by its surroundings.
Coming into this one, I only partially knew what to expect. It was six-band lineup on a Monday night, I knew this much. And I knew the headliner. Oh, and I knew how to get there. That’s the end of the list. Flying blind like that can sometimes be a pleasant surprise, or on the opposite side of the coin, it can be surprisingly unpleasant. I wouldn’t go as far as to chalk the entire evening as a disaster, but it did have its rough patches and stumbled out of the gate.
If I blow through the first third of the night, it’s because most of it blended together. Without a photo pit, I try to still do what I can from the outskirts or the back of the room. However, for most of the first half of the night, the lighting was very questionable, with the stage lit with dark greens and blues for the majority of the time, when there were lights used at all. The photographer side of me was disappointed, but had I just been attending as a concertgoer, and for those fans who were, the setting let them thrive – a dark, crowded room, with no barricade between the crowd and the stage.
The two acts listed at the bottom of the bill, Somewhere to Call Home and Bodysnatcher, opened the night, and I apologize for not being able to differentiate who was first and who was second, though I would assume it was in that same order. Neither seemed to have any definitive defining factor to separate one from the other, and if there hadn’t been a twenty-five minute changeover between the two indicating a switch, with the length due to some technical difficulties, I probably would have confused the two for one extended set.
By the time we reached the middle of the night, I had admittedly taken myself out of things. I was feeling a mixture of anxiety and aggravation and was doing my best to not let that get out of hand. Traitors took the stage third and, though still backlit, were the strongest set up to this point – crisper sound, no soundcheck hiccups, and carrying over the crowd’s momentum from the two openers. About halfway through the set it seemed to plateau, so the second half felt like it was dragging. Luckily, at a venue within an entertainment complex, I was able to step away from the show to reset when, had this been at any other concert hall, I likely would have left for good. For the remaining half of the night, I kept to this strategy and it helped me keep my head and stick around.
Heading into the night, there were also things I didn’t know when I added it to my calendar. Obviously, there were the aforementioned concerns I had when it came to the setup. I also didn’t know it would be Game Four for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final. This was where the unique setting really came into play and what rescued it from being a total loss. Between sets, parts of the crowd would shuffle out into the lobby and throughout the rest of the area. Take a bathroom break, respond to a text, watch part of the Super Smash Bros. tournament they were having on the big-screens – standard concert stuff. For me, I was able to not only watch a decent chunk of each remaining set, but I also got to duck out to the main area to catch parts of the game and eat chicken wings. Like I mentioned earlier, the night is about more than just the show. Had I not had these options available, I know I would have gone home halfway through. Also, since I knew it would take me longer to get home than the 17-minute intermission between periods, I stuck around.
Wanting to always find a glimmer of positivity includes making sure everything is given its due opportunity. With that, having seen Chelsea Grin before, I checked back in to watch them perform. The night up to that point being less than ideal wasn’t their doing, so why hold that against them? After a long wait, some would lose their spark, but the room held on for one final round and tore the room apart. I said something about this being a perfect setup for what was an imperfect show and this solidified it. Heck, they could have performed in the parking lot and it still would have been a success. Loud, heavy, and relentless, it was a gold star sticker on a test that said “see me after class.”
When I leave a show, I do my best to try and get to work on post-show tasks as soon as I can. For this one, I intentionally took the evening and let myself sleep on this to digest everything as to not write anything rash. And in hindsight, even though I personally didn’t have my best night, it could have been worse and it was definitely enjoyable for plenty there. I feel bad that there isn’t much here for the show itself, but for me, I wasn’t able to take much away from it. This could seem harsh or blunt, but that’s where I landed.
I gave myself Monday night and most of Tuesday, and then I woke up Wednesday to the news that Lucky Strike Social is closing down within the month. There hasn’t been any word as to what that means for the future of Jupiter Hall or the rest of the upcoming calendar, but I would hope that they find a way to keep the doors open. The whole complex is brimming with potential to be a standout location, it’s just a matter of getting all of the pieces moving together.
One last note: on my way to my car, I walked past a kid that I had seen inside of the show sitting on a bench in the mall. He was around my age, probably a few years younger. He had a torn collar and his nose was bandaged, with the early stages on two black eyes and blood stains on his shirt. He had a smirk on his face and nodded at me quick, then went back to just going to town on an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. He got high fives and fist bumps from at least six or seven strangers walking past on their way out.
I’m going to remember that kid forever.