Now, we chose Sounds of the Underground because Amon Amarth was playing. We chose Portland because it was closest. Yes, we are truly that dedicated to the Viking Horde (we even have the t-shirts to prove it!)
The high point of Portland, without a doubt, was the restaurants. Bridgeport Brewpub and Bakery, in downtown Portland, was easily the highlight of the city. It was a happy place, with a variety of food, friendly staff, and the best in-house microbrews I've ever tasted (including a barely wine). And CHEAP! We did not get a chance to sample the bakery, which we will definitely have to give a try sometime. Another fun place was the Three Lions Bakery, a cute little bakery with tasty baked goods and coffee.
And of course, one cannot forget, the worship of Odin; Amon Amarth! Despite it being a very short set, it was worth every second of wait. Death in Fire just touches you when played live. And, seeing how crazy we were going on the balcony, Johan Hegg looks right at us, smiles, and gives us metal.
The low points. Well first off, they moved the show from the convention center to the "Roseland Theatre". The negative reviews are well-deserved. The layout isn't horrible, but their staff is downright cruel. I swear, they were worried more about preventing people taking pictures with their cellphones than the safety of the crowd. As much as I love flashlights being shined in my eyes (after all, flashlights aren't exactly pinpoint instruments at 60ft), I really could have done without it during my favourite bands.
And, in the end, most of the Sound of the Underground tour... well the bands kinda sucked! From Christian Screamo to the most tuneless of thrash, we heard many varieties of suck at high decibels. There were maybe two bands I'd even consider noteworthy in quality. Even GWAR, a staple of my childhood, while their sets and costumes were of course as wonderfully overdone as always, played music to match the tour's other bands.
But, in the end, it was worth the time off, the six+ hours of driving, the expense, and the damage to my eardrums. Easily!
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