w/ Gunpowder Gray
November 20, 2016
The Masquerade (Hell)
2016 has been a hot fucking year for great bands being out on the road. We had Holy Grail, we had Sabaton, we had Graveyard, and many other shows that absolutely blew my mind. The double bill of Horisont and Electric Citizen was a tour that I was really looking forward to and with every passing date, I kept hearing more and more buzz about this tour. While I was so really fucking excited to see this show, I honestly wasn’t prepared for what was about to take place in front of me.
On this night, after many delays, this was to be the FINAL night of the legendary Masquerade at 695 North Ave. That right there was something pretty fucking special. The air was full of nostalgic stories of shows gone by but there was also a serious buzz in the room. Horisont seemed to be the band that was being talked about most as this was their first ever American tour but there were also some pretty diehard Electric Citizen fans (one fan even drove 8 hours to see the show). Not bad for a band that played to about 15 people the last time they were here.
Things kicked off with local rockers Gunpowder Gray. The more I see this band, the better they get and the more I love them. Over the years, the band seemed to really be searching for the sound and it seems now that not only have they found it but that they have put their own brand on it allowing them to stick out from the rest of the pack. This was also my first time seeing them with new guitarist Alex Parra and I have to say that this guy is without a doubt the missing ingredient that was needed to complete the formula. The band’s 40 minute or so set was tight, fun, and such a perfect way to warm the crowd up for what was coming up. Gunpowder Gray is a band that I have totally enjoyed watching grow and I can’t wait to see what else they have tucked in their sleeves.
Big of moustache and tight of trouser, Swedish face rockers Horisont hit the stage to a roaring crowd and immediately went right into “Odyssey.” Musically the band was absolutely off the charts but one of the things that struck me right away was that the lead vocalist (Axel) seemed to not really be hitting the note. Maybe it was nerves or whatever but by the time the band was kicking into “Writing on the Wall”, they were firing on all cylinders. Horisont played with so much energy, passion, and fun that you couldn’t help to be infected and be moved by it.
Once they got cooking, Horisont’s set was such a blast. While their set definitely made me a bigger fan than I was before the show, I wasn’t fully blown away like I had heard so many others talking about at previous shows. Maybe this wasn’t a perfect night for them or maybe I just didn’t feel as strongly connected but regardless, it was a great performance and left me wanting to see them again. It makes me want to see them take it to that other level and truly blow my mind which they seem very capable of doing.
The last time I saw Electric Citizen, they were touring for their debut album and while there were only about 15 or 20 people in the room, they played to that 15 or 20 people like it was a crowd of 1,000. When I left the show that night, I remember thinking that I had seen something really special. When Electric Citizen released their 2nd album Higher Time this year and hit the road, I waited patiently to see just how much they had grown. Throughout this tour, I kept hearing about Horisont being the “buzz” band of the shows but something magical must have been in the air because when Electric Citizen hit the stage with “Light Years Beyond” I literally watched the crowd magnetically drawn to the stage as if they were all put under a spell. Going right into “Beggars Need” the crowd responded with banging heads, thrusting fists, and three mile smiles.
Lead vocalist Laura Dolan is hands down one of the most charismatic, electrifying, and dynamic frontwomen I have ever seen. It’s hard to believe that this is the first band she’s ever been in because she performs with all of the expertise of someone who has been doing this for 20+ years. Song after song, Electric Citizen kept raising the bar and taking their energy to new heights. As Laura and Co pushed, the crowd pushed back and it was this constant give and take that created this vibe that was almost at times transcendental. Being right up front and raging out and feeling it, I was even at one point joined by Magnus of Horisont who looked over at me and yelled, “I love this fucking band!”
Electric Citizen’s setlist was a perfect mix of songs from their debut album, Sateen and their new album Higher Time. “The Trap”, dedicated to yours truly, was a highlight for me. The band closed things out with “Evil” which absolutely brought the house down but it was the encore of “Savage” that had everyone completely raging. The band left the stage and I didn’t see a single face that didn’t have a smile plastered on it.
Electric Citizen put on such a mesmerizing, magical performance that completely exceeded my expectations. There’s nothing better than when a band raises the bar so high only to grab it, pull it town, beat you with it, and raise it even higher. Watching Electric Citizen perform like that left me feeling proud as a peacock. Two nights later, my neck still hurts, my shoulders still hurt, and I’m still smiling ear to ear as I write this. Electric Citizen… yeah… Electric Citizen.