Monday, January 26, 2009

A Memorial Event for Adrian Bromley (Part 2)
It’s going to be difficult for me to adequately describe this amazing event. It wasn’t a gig, it wasn't a wake; it was simply a perfect gathering of friends, many of whom would have been strangers on any other occasion, but who all shared a bond with Adrian. I’m not a spiritual person at all, but the energy in the venue did make me feel that our Mister Pink Bunny was there, somewhere, working the room, keeping us all entertained and laughing. He was always at the centre of whatever was happening.

The Opera House is a decent-size concert hall. The closest Vancouver venue might be The Vogue. I don't know the history of the place, but it was definitely a seated theatre at some point. Now with the seats removed and a bar on each side of the floor and a appealingly tarnished ornateness, it's a great place for a mid-size rock show.

The first person I spotted was Martin Popoff, to whom I gave my spare pair of earplugs (I also scored a couple of his books from the silent auction), and from there it was a constant stream of familiar faces—Chris Bruni, U! staffers Laura, Brian, Adam, and Kevin, David Gold from Woods of Ypres, Gino from Chronicles of Chaos, and so on. It was like being in a Robert Altman movie—everywhere you looked, there was someone I recognized.

Then there was the music. Into the Void kicked off the evening with a three-song tribute to Sabbath. Starring Braveboarder Fatal if Swallowed as "Ozzy", they performed "War Pigs," "Into the Void," and "NIB". Great fun, and to misquote Neil from Freaks and Geeks, Saturday night—always a good night for some Sabbath.

Endorphins, who released an album on Adrian’s Urgent Music imprint, were on next, declaring this was their “real” farewell show, as they had broken up prior to this without any fanfare. Detsorgsekalf, another band of Braveboarders, scorched us with their blackened humour and drum machine-backed metal frenzy (complete with an outro cheekily nicked from Entombed).

Piledriver entertained with their unruly thrash, including “Metal Inquisition,” the namesake of an already legendary blog. They have indeed stayed ugly. Because they had been working with Adrian on their "comeback" as The Exalted Piledriver, they dedicated the song "The Things I Give" to him, renaming it "The Things He Gave" for the occasion.

Between sets, several people took the mic to pay tribute to Adrian: his twin brother Winston asked us for a moment of silence while we all threw the horns; Drew Masters from M.E.A.T. magazine talked about Adrian's beginnings as a metal writer; Adrian's fiancée Renee got up on stage to say a few words as well, so brave in the face of her tremendous loss.

And the music played on. Eclipse Eternal tore it up with some keys-and-corpsepaint black metal...

Musk Ox travelled five hours from Ottawa to play a set that was probably the most emotional of the night. As they said, their music had helped Adrian mourn the death of his father earlier last year, and now they were helping us mourn as well. With guitarist Nathaneal flanked by a cellist and oboeist, they sounded beautifully sombre.

The penultimate tribute of the night was a slide show of Adrian’s life, with hundreds of pictures set to the tune of Green Carnation’s "Light of Day, Day of Darkness." (Green Carnation headlined the Day of the Equinox fest I mentioned in my last post.) I’ve always found this to be a moving piece, but now after having seen Adrian's life unfurl while it played, it’s even more so.

Lastly, Woods of Ypres played a three-song set, including a favourite of Adrian's that they'd relearned for the event, "The Looming of Dust in the Dark," and closing number "The Thrill of the Struggle."

So this memorial event was many things. It was a place to laugh and cry. It was a reunion of old acquaintances, and a meeting place for new friends. It was a chance to celebrate, and rock out as The Energizer would have. It was a testament to healing power of music. It goes without saying that Adrian would have loved it.

1 comment:

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

as one of Adrian's writers for Unrestrained and having worked with him on many of his bands, I wish I'd been there