I'll start things off for the reviews of non-Amo shows... Quick write-up of the Deceiver of the Gods Tour featuring Amon Amarth, Enslaved, and Skeletonwitch at The Wiltern in Los Angeles (videos not mine). We always love going to the Wiltern for a show. It's a restored Art Deco movie theater that is clean and professional; a good mid-size venue in Los Angeles with excellent sound. Usually parking is expensive, but we found a space with a parking meter about a block away that only had a couple street people near it and decided to risk that over spending half of what we spent on the ticket to park at the garage next to the theater. We got there an hour before the doors opened and the line was already wrapped around the corner of the block, so we decided to grab something to eat. The area around the Wiltern is a mix of asian and higher end American food. It's Koreatown, and I'm sure the asian food is fantastic, but we weren't going to risk the MSG headache and did not want to sit down for too long, so we grabbed juice and flatbread at a fast food place and then wandered over to stand in line now half way down a second side of the block. You can get an idea of what the show will be like from the crowd outside, and in this case we were stuck in line between two bros who were pounding cheap beers out of plastic bags and hiding plastic packets of cheap schnapps in their wallets and a couple of guys from a local band who had apparently seen every US metal band ever, but had never seen Amon Amarth and did not know who Enslaved were. 80% of the shirts in the crowd were AA shirts, and most of them were from the last two albums. There were some youngsters in kuttes one even had an Amorphis patch and a bunch of people playing it safe with Maiden or Priest shirts. There were precious few bearded metal hipsters with high-concept sludge metal bands on their shirts. Mostly you got the idea that it was an old school, blue collar metal crowd that was there to go nuts for Amon Amarth. Security was light. We got a quick frisk down, but no wanding for metal. They had already checked the line for wallet chains and spiked wristbands and they were not interested in trying to figure out where everyone was smuggling in their pot. Once inside, the merch did not look all that tempting, so we headed in and grabbed a corner spot against a railing just far enough back to see the whole stage and ensure an unobstructed view of everything. The theater was about half full even before the first act pretty good for an LA show and the pit up front was already packed. You could feel the buzz. This was not going to be a blasé LA crowd full of jaded rich kids. It was just crusty enough that you knew people were there to get buzzed and work up a sweat. Skeletonwitch came on right on time and cranked right into an up-tempo set of blackened thrash with a fantasy-tinged horror movie vibe: They put on a 9 song, 30 minute set with short banter in between songs that reminded me a bit of Rotten Sound in feel even if they sounded nothing alike. It was just that same sort of hard working attitude that wanted to cram as much into a starting set as they could while warming things up for the bands coming after them. The moment their set was over they were helping the crew to bust down their gear and get Enslaved on as quickly as they could. Gotta respect that. Bonus moment it was Enslaved's last show on the tour so part way through one of Skeletonwitch's songs, Grutle, Ice Dale, and Herbrand showed up on stage wearing red pigtails made of yarn tour prank. Enslaved started out with a strong contrast in styles to Skeletonwitch, opening their set with the stately Death in the Eyes of Dawn Grutle offering the crowd a runic benediction as he walked onstage. Enslaved took the opposite tack from Skeletonwitch, playing only 6 songs over their 45 minute set, but concentrating on epic tunes with a lot of movement and contrast, leaning heavily on the mythic and esoteric themes to blend with the feel of the tour. The big break from this strategy coming second to last when they shifted into straight up old school black metal and played Allfa∂r O∂inn off of their demo: Death in the Eyes of Dawn, Ruun, Ethica Odini, Riitiir, Allfa∂r O∂inn, Isa No footage from this show yet on YouTube, but it looked and sounded a lot like this set from earlier in the tour. Grutle was his raging, growling self, Herbrand sounded great on the cleans, and Ice Dale looked like a sirtless guitar action figure. The big difference is that Johan Hegg showed up in-between Ethica Odini and Riitiir wearing a bandoleer full of test tube shots and shared a drink with the band on stage while toasting the audience. I liked their decision to play longer songs. It made the set feel more relaxed, almost like they were headlining, rather than like they were rushing to make room for someone else. I'd have loved another 20 minutes, but felt like they made a good impression on a crowd that, as a whole, did not know them or their material. The crowd never lost patience despite the fact that they were clearly saving energy for the cartoon viking mayhem still to come. I have no idea what the changeover of sets looked like between Enslaved and Amon Amarth because as soon as the set was done the curtain dropped. We knew what this meant because we had seen the Wiltern's Facebook page, but most of the crowd did not know what was coming The dragonboat had landed. If you have ever been to an Amon Amarth show, you know what the rest of the concert looked like. Lots of running about the stage and furious headbanging while Johan Hegg looks like the largest, most friendly pillager ever. The set was loud and you could feel the double bass pounding you in the chest as they ripped through one number after the other for an hour-and-a-half set. The dragon ship and the stage breathed out fog that glowed blue or red, depending on the song. The crowd was clearly into it the whole way through, singing along, chanting, clapping and yelling even on the new material. The venue did not allow moshing, but a few defied the ire of security to crowd surf and everyone else made due with jumping up and down like maniacs and pumping their horns furiously. We called it quits before the encore, trying to beat the stumbling drunks to our car for a safe drive home, but we'd seen them play both numbers from the encore the last time they were in town, so it was no great loss for us. Today we are both sore from headbanging and throwing horns, dehydrated and scratchy throated from all the smoke, legal and otherwise :Smokin:, but we are both entirely satisfied with how the show turned out. Well worth the ticket price.