Last night I whimsied my way to Vultures to see Thantifaxath, an avant-garde black metal band from Ontario, Canada. They just released their sophomore full-length album, Hive Mind Narcosis. Unable to find anyone to go with, I went solo. I’ve never gone to a show alone, nor have I ever been to a metal show. What was I to expect, going out to a metal band by myself as a young woman? I didn’t know, and that excited me(and made me anxious).
As I reflect on my night, I realize I’m still wearing the wrist band given to me at the door, marking that I’m over 21- it’s white, and littered with drawings of zombies. I was among the 90% of people over 21, an unsurprising detail. While the crowd was seemingly mostly men, a few young women were sprinkled about, and I felt less out of place. Well, did I feel out of place at all? I hardly felt an aura of unfamiliarity. The thing is, wherever the music is, I call home. But before I actually talk about the music, let me rewind to the beginning of the night.
Thinking the show began at 7pm, I parked nearby Vultures just shy of 7:05pm. I slowly got out of my car and made my way to a small line of people at what I thought was Vultures(spoiler alert: it wasn’t). So tired by my long week of work, I didn’t bother to look around for signs. I got in line behind 10 or so people, all dressed in black(except for one person in an orange button up and lovely black suspenders). Beside the venue’s entrance I saw a promotional banner that said something along the lines of “..after the show head to Vultures…”, which only momentarily made me furrow my brows. I stood in line for over 30 minutes, bearing the cold with crossed arms, leaning up against the wall. I noticed all the staff members were wearing shirts with “Black Sheep” on it(the venue I was actually in line for), and only put two and two together maybe 10 minutes later. I asked the people in front of me what venue we were at, and they gave me a puzzled look, replying that this is their first time here, that they didn’t know. It was an odd answer, but maybe I was just confusing them. Then I looked at the ticket booth’s window, which read: “EMO NIGHT SOLD OUT.” I recalled the group at the head of the line kept discussing My Chemical Romance, and, suddenly, I realized I had made a grave mistake. I stepped out of line, checked google maps, and jogged down the street. Finally, at around 7:40pm, I made it to Vultures. Turns out the band doesn’t even go on until 8pm anyways.
I flashed my ID to the kind man at the door, got a wristband, and headed to the bar. I sat and drank a hard cider. I asked for “the hard cider that isn’t an angry orchard”, and the bartender remarked that angry orchard is too sweet. I agreed. Feeling fatigued from the week, I mostly kept to myself. The bartenders were quite friendly and warm, checking in on me a few times. Once I finished my cider, I stood up and found a spot in the small(but growing) crowd. Dawned in a jean jacket and pants, with a dark corduroy purple button up, I was one of the few people not wearing black.
The clock slowly crept towards 8. A few minutes past it, the three anonymous members of Thantifaxath arrived on stage. The drummer wore a black sweatband, and I couldn’t help but watch as he throatily snarled “check” into the mic repeatedly. After a few sound checks, the pleasant auditory assault began. The strength of the vocals didn’t weaken that of the drums, or guitars. Though the vocals, however difficult to decipher, had a rope around the crowd. The loud low growls of the vocalists were a perfect contrast to the clean yet wicked black metal guitar, acting out a difficult to place but incredible marriage of sound. A small smile crept on my lips as the assault on my senses grew- the speakers emitting sound like soft blows against my chest. Thantifaxath demands your attention, and when it has it, it is difficult to remain still. Time flew by, and by the end of the set my neck ached from the constant head bumping. The silence felt heavy, and I stood around wanting more. Because it is physically difficult for me to stand around for long periods of time, I chose to call it a night. Two other bands were to come after them: Sunless and Ob Nixilis. I’m sure it was a good time; I regret missing it.
All in all, the metal show exceeded my expectations, especially as a solo endeavor. Thantifaxath put on a great show. And, now I’ll be keeping my eyes out for future metal shows…
A big thank you to Vultures for hosting a great show! I look forward to returning.