It happened. Last night, it happened. I got to see Brutus live!
A little backstory first:
When I was still on Facebook - which I've been off of for 16 months now, thank Universe - I had a friend who thought one of her friends and I would get along well based on our wide, varied, and deep interest in music. So he and I became Facebook friends and started chatting and exchaning links and tunes and such. Sure enough, we got on quite well. Shortly after we connected, he turned me onto Brutus, right on the heels of their 2017 album "Burst". I fell in love and did so almost instantly. I have a thing for a strong female vocal in a metal/etc band and Brutus has that and at a level not many other in similar realms do. I put Brutus in the same category as everything Julie Christmas (see Made Out Of Babies, Battle Of Mice, Spylacopa, and her work with Cult Of Luna) has done, as far as I am concerned. And I am quite likely the worlds biggest Julie Christmas fan (I ran a Tumblr in her name, which she gave her seal of approval on and did interviews for and helped with give-a-ways etc for). All this to say, I was an instant fan of Brutus in 2017 and the last 6 years have only made my fandom grow stronger and more intense.
And last night, Brutus came through my town - which I have often mentioned as being considered, more or less, a fly over town for big tour packages - especially when they have international bands on the bill. But, not this time. This time. I got to see Brutus a mere few miles from my front door.
And what a time it was.
I didn't take a ton of pics, and of those I took most are overall just kinda meh. Typically I'd be kind of upset about that, but not this time. I was too busy just experiencing the set.
Frail Body opened. I didn't catch much of their set because I brought my expired ID rather than my current one, like a dumbass, so I had to run back home and get the current one. Thank fuck I don't live far from the venue and that I didn't have to take public transport, otherwise I would've only made it back for the headliner. Big shoutout to the homie I got a lift with to the show for being willing to eat the parking fee we just paid and for running me back home and back to the venue with the current ID. We caught the last two songs from Frail Body. A ton of people have been talking about what an amazing show they put on, but I simply was not impressed. I don't think they were a good fit for the bill, TBH. Actually, I take that back, Brutus was the sore thumb, so to speak, on this tour package, so maybe - being that the only reason I was there was to catch Brutus, I just wasn't in a place to appreciate Frail Body. I don't know, either way, I was bored with the last two songs I caught.
Following Frail Body was the reason I was there. Brutus. I got to see them and their tech team set up and they had quite the set of amps and pedals and axes and such. I was chomping at the bit watching them setup. My oldest kid, my 21 year old daughter, and my good homie of nearly 30 years - both of whom I turned onto Brutus - were there and the energy and excitement were palpable among us and the whole venue as we waited for them to take stage.
After setting up and brief soundcheck, they exited the stage and we waited for another 15 minutes or so. I went and smoked and grabbed another beer.
Just as I found my spot, standing room only but more or less about third row, between my homie and my daughter, the intro started seeping through the soundsystem. Breathy and atmospheric and ambient notes and tones, ebbing and flowing and building.
Then!Onto the stage walks the three members of Brutus. Hands and fists and hearts in the air and smiles on their faces. It was obvious they love what they do, they were happy to be here doing it, and excited to give us a show. And what a show they gave us...
Bringing it mellow and letting it swell until overflow and then just letting alllllll the energy unleash, it was one of the greatest openings to a show I've ever experienced.
They played for a full hour+, which is pretty unheard of for a supporting act, but also kind of makes sense as they are touring North America from Belgium for the entire run with the headliner. Needless to say, I had absolutely zero complaints they played as long as they did. My daughter didn't know where they were from and didn't understand the co-tour component of the tour package, but was equally delighted they got to play a full set instead of a typical opener set.
They managed to pull all of the perfect songs from their catalog and play them in an order that I'm not sure I could've figured out, being as much of a fanatic of their material as I am. It was perfect.
The venue the show was at doesn't always have the best sound dialed in, but when it's dialed in it is dialed the fuck in. Thank fuck it was dialed the fuck in for Brutus. I am 35 years deep since my first show and I've seen and heard a lot of shitty soundsystems and sound engineers and so forth, it really sucks when there's an amazing act in an amazing venue or one or the other and you get neither. Such was not the case last night for Brutus. I'm inclined to think they brought their own sound engineer. They definitely had their own guitar, bass, and drum tech on hand - witnessed multiple times during their set, thank fuck. I also think they brought their own photographer and I'm pretty sure he was just a few breaths away from me - waiting for their next social media (ugh) update to confirm.
I got to see my favorite Brutus tunes live with a perfectly dialed in sound system and light show with a nearly lifelong homie and my oldest child - both of whom I turned onto the band - and ran into about a dozen other people who remember me ranting and raving about how great they are on social media some years back, which was really pretty dope.
I got to shake hands with and talk to both the guitarist and bassist after their set, which was amazing. The band is from Belgium and their English isn't the best and I don't speak either Dutch, French, or German, but we managed to converse and shake hands and they were the kindest and sweetest dudes I've run into in an internationally touring band, quite literally, ever. It was as if they simply could not understand why we were there or appreciated their musical prowess the way that we did - which was pretty incredible. The crowd response to their set, during and at the end, was fucking incredible.
Seeing the song "War" performed live and at the level it was was absolutely incredible, etched in my mind forever, and life altering.
It was the most sober I've been at a show in probably 30 years. I had 2 beers. And it was the most life altering, life affirming, life changing set I've seen since catching Julise Christmas with Cult Of Luna the same year I first learned about Brutus. I cried three times and had my hands in the air most of the set.
Converge were the headliners. I have tried multiple times to get into their records and it just hasn't been my thing. Everyone I know who likes them says you have to see them live to appreciate them and then cites some show that's like 20 or 30 years ago. After seeing their first few tunes, definitely more enjoyable live but quite simply just not my thing.
Brutus is the reason this tour is happening and I am certain that 30 years from now they will be the only band and set that people talk about.
I went in with expectations at a certain and typically unrealistic expectation and left with them being met tenfold. The only way last night could've been better is if I had gotten to meet Stefanie, the bands vocalist and drummer. I would have asked her to marry me, so it might be good we didn't get to meet lol.