Opeth, Mastodon, Khemmis

The Rave (Eagles Ballroom)
Milwaukee, WI


I discovered Khemmis during a covid music listening binge, so this was my first opportunity to see them play live, and they did not disappoint. Phil was very dynamic, moving around the stage and riffing with the other members. They threw in a lot of dramatic poses and generally seemed to be enjoying the return to live shows. Khemmis is a relatively new band, especially compared to Mastodon and Opeth, but with their short opening set they managed to bridge their discography from Three Gates off of their second album up to two songs from their latest release, Deceiver. (Avernal Gate and Living Pyre)


Being from Atlanta, I love seeing a hometown band become so successful. I also got to see them back home on the fall portion of the tour, where they naturally played the headlining spot. Their show offers a stunning light show and psychedelic LED animations to complement the musical journey. If you could bring yourself to tear your eyes away from the mesmerizing visuals, you would catch Troy Sander and Brent Hinds making full use of the large stage in the Eagles Ballroom to travel/pose/move around.

Their set list moved between old favorites, like Blood and Thunder, and stuff off of their new album (Hushed and Grim), like their entry song Pain with an Anchor. They kept the energy balanced with upbeat bangers alternating with slower songs and the live keyboardist instead of backing tracks added a bit of extra pop to the set. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t play my personal favorite song (Oblivion), but enjoyed experiencing the new set list, which they had changed around since the fall tour.


Opeth has been one of my favorite bands ever since I discovered Blackwater Park in high school, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to shoot their show. They don’t have the most active stage show, with Mikael even joking about this at one point, apologizing to the crowd and saying “we are musicians, we stand here and play music…” What they forego in theatrics on stage, the band more than make up for with technical skill and emotional pulls. The crowd certainly did not seem concerned about the lack of activity, with many fans dancing, moshing, and crowdsurfing throughout the set.

Opeth also changed up their set list from fall, replacing “Windowpane” with “In My Time of Need” and “Demon of the Fall” with “Ghost of Perdition,” and fans were happy to hear “The Drapery Falls” off of Blackwater Park, which has just passed it’s 20th anniversary.

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