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Have you ever watched a support act win over a room of kids who mostly are not there to see them, and may have never even of heard of them before? It’s something you see pretty much every opening band in every conceivable genre of music attempt, but to see a band actually pull it off – well, that’s pretty rare.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you IWRESTLEDABEARONCE.

As Vince and I headed over to the Blender Theatre too see our favorite unsigned band do a one night stint opening for Horse the Band, I was excited, and, truth be told, a little anxious. What if the band was terrible live?

I had little reason to worry: IWABO pretty much owned the crowd’s ass from the moment they opened with the introduction to Van Halen’s “Jump” before segueing into their own beastly “Tastes Like Kevin Bacon.” Led by lead guitarist Steven Bradley, the band sounded HUGE, and have an onstage persona not dissimilar from bands like Every Time I Die: brimming with the spastic energy of a flopping fish out of water, and unwilling to take themselves too seriously (which is not to say that they’re deadly fucking serious about their music – any band this tight would have to be). The monstrous, elephants-marching-to-war Inspector Gadget theme breakdown of set closer “Ulrich Firelord: Breaker of Mountains” was the set’s undeniable highlight, showcasing the group at their most powerful.

Meanwhile, vocalist/resident pixie Krysta Cameron, wearing an apparently fan-made outfit that can only be described as a crack baby’s variation on the infamous Bjork swan Oscar dress, stalked the stage, alternately screaming her bloody putrid guts out and cooing clean vocals chanteuse-style. The band has a fairly limited catalogue to draw upon at this point (at least in number of songs, if not diversity of material), but, really, you don’t see many unsigned bands that sound this professional, this ready for a spot on the second stage of whatever mammoth metal fest is smart enough to snatch ’em up. And as if that wasn’t enough, there was crowd interaction aplenty, which went so far as to result in a near injury for keyboardist/sampler/programmer Daniel Andrews.

But gettin’ the kids all riled up paid off: like I said, the crowd’s reaction was beyond receptive. It took almost no time for pit to consume 2/3rds of the floor, and it was pretty thrilling to see fans who didn’t really know the band reacting so positively to their music (even if I did take a karate chop to the stomach from one overzealous member of the Hot Topic Frequent Buyer’s Club). And afterwards, there was a line – a fucking LINE – at their merch booth, where I witnessed new fans purchasing multiple items (two t-shirts, a t-shirt and an album, a t-shirt and a hoodie, etc.). I really don’t think there was a single person in attendance who wasn’t salivating for a IWABO full-length by the end of the night.

Now, in the name of journalistic integrity, I will say that this band still has some room for improvement. For one thing, they clearly weren’t accustomed to playing a stage of this size, as they spent the better portion of the set huddled around drummer Mike Montgomery in a semi-circle like they were playing a VFW hall, and Andrews’ synths were set-up in such a way that he spent a portion of the set with his back to the audience. But really, these are very minor complaints, this is a young band, they’re already light years ahead of their peers, and once they have released a full length and spent some ungodly amount of time on the road, I have no doubt that these very minor flaws will become a thing of distant memory.

Speaking of that full length: I’m hearing rumors from everyone and their mother that the band is mere moments away from signing a record deal. Hopefully we’ll get some kind of official announcement soon. But for now, you should all be really, really stoked for this band and their very bright future. There aren’t a lot of bands pushing the boundaries of what metal can be, and this is one of ’em. Check out now while they’re still on the ground floor.


IWRESTLEDABEARONCE are on tour now. Check out their MySpace page for tour dates, samples of their music, merch, and all that good shit.

Read our interview with the band, too, while you’re at it.

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