North American Siege 2022 Tour Featuring Arch Enemy And Behemoth
Band Photo: Behemoth (?)
The North American Siege 2022 Tour, featuring Arch Enemy, Behemoth, Napalm Death, and Unto Others in 19 cities, wrapped up on Sunday night in Los Angeles. Arch Enemy and Behemoth traded places as the headliner. For the (Friday the 13th) night of May 13, 2022 in Berkeley, California at The UC Theatre, Arch Enemy finished off the evening.
The UC Theatre has a capacity of 1,400, and the show was sold out. During the Behemoth set, it felt like there were 2,000 in attendance as movement was near impossible. The UC Theatre is arranged in three tiers. Visibility is good from the bottom tier but only from the front third of each of the upper two tiers. Unfortunately, if you find yourself in the back of either of the upper two levels you will be watching the light show on the ceiling and not the bands (and this is true even if you are over 6 feet in height). Personally, I think they should reduce capacity/ticket sales by 10-20%. Other than those factors (and the $14 beers), it’s a great venue and metalheads appreciate the frequent metal acts the UC Theatre books.
The bands on this tour were quite diverse. The differences in music made it almost feel like a festival rather than a billing of similar bands. I can’t imagine anyone into metal who would be into all four bands or who would dislike all four either. There was something for everyone. From the way the audience came and went, it was apparent that some showed up for only one or two bands.
Unto Others @ Berkeley’s UC Theatre @ about 50% capacity
First up was Unto Others from Portland, Oregon. This was the only band I had not seen live before, at least not as Unto Others. I had seen Spellcaster three or four times in Southern Oregon 6-11 years ago. Two of the members are the same as when I saw Spellcaster. Sebastian Silva joined the band just after the last time I saw Spellcaster. Spellcaster’s sound is somewhat different than Idle Hands/Unto Others though—especially on the vocal side of things as Gabe Franco wasn’t one of the Spellcaster vocalists.
Unto Others was busy during the pandemic, releasing not one, but two albums in 2021. Those albums made a lot of Top-10 metal albums of the year lists. Their previous tour had them opening for King Diamond so they’ve been getting a bunch of exposure of late.
Unto Others setlist (May 13, 2022)
They kicked off the evening with “Heroin” which was somewhat connecting for me because the last band I saw at the UC Theatre (more than three years prior) was Baroness, and Baroness performed their song “March to the Sea” about the same subject on that evening.
I really enjoyed the Unto Others set and am looking forward to watching their future releases and evolution.
Napalm Death were next. While I appreciate their attitude, I have never been able to get into grindcore. There are a number of metal genres that just don’t connect with me. Occasionally I can eventually appreciate a subgenre that doesn’t work for me initially, but grindcore isn’t one of those.
Shane Embury of Napalm Death
Behemoth was the first “headliner” on this evening as previously mentioned. Both headliners did hour-long sets—far too short in my opinion, but what are you going to do with four bands on the bill? The last time I saw Behemoth was in Denmark when the infamous Roskilde Festival incident took place. That experience was magical and this one was as well.
Nergal of Behemoth
I echo the sentiments of @fuelandseed who said this to Nergal on Instagram:
“Your show last night in Berkeley was masterful and thrilling… The ending — O Father… was so beautifully conceived, especially. It’s been a long time since I was so moved in a concert. Thank you! Please come back.”
Last, but not least, was Arch Enemy. I realized a couple of days before the show that Arch Enemy was joining my exclusive club of “bands I’ve seen in four different countries” (along with Opeth and Anthrax). I saw them in Japan back in 2009 with Angela Gossow on vocals and have since seen them in Denmark and Sweden before finally seeing them in the USA.
Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy’s new album, Deceivers, will be out in July.
Michael Amott of Arch Enemy
Ironically, Hypocrisy was also playing in Berkeley (at Cornerstone) on this same evening just five blocks away. We walked by the venue on our way to the car and put our ear to the wall to hear them for a bit. One could argue that Hypocrisy and Arch Enemy (both from Sweden too) sound more similar than any of the other bands on the Arch Enemy bill.
This was a super fun and enjoyable evening—well worth the 6-hour car ride (each way) to experience.