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Natrlhi 12-15-2009 11:56 AM

Natrlhi's Best of 2009 List Orgy
For my first post under this thread, I thought I would start by making a list of the performances this year which made it one of the best years in metal for me. I decided to keep it all-metal, so that I could give exposure to as many metal bands as possible (U2 and Depeche Mode don't need the fucking press...;)). Here goes nothing:

[SIZE="5"][U]Top 20 Live [B]Metal[/B] Performances of 2009[/U][/SIZE]

[B]20. Decrepit Birth - Peabody's - Cleveland, OH - 11/12/09[/B]
Awesome band on album. Even more awesome live. Their vocalist Bill Robinson is a really chill, down-to-earth guy.

[B]19. Vader - Peabody's - Cleveland, OH - 11/12/09[/B]
My first time seeing these legendary Polish death metalers. Behemoth is perhaps a little higher on the theatrics scale, but Vader is way heavy and way fun to watch live as well.

[B]18. Origin - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09[/B]
My second time seeing these guys. They are staggeringly accurate on album, and to tell you the truth, they sound almost the same live. The only other band that tops Origin in this regard is, well...read on. ;)

[B]17. Pig Destroyer - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09[/B]
No, it's not Pig Destroyer (see above). What Pig Destroyer is, though, is incredibly brutal (notice...not spelled br00tal - I'm using the word as it was actually meant to be used...in English). They are loud, they are fast, and they are animated as hell on stage. Great show.

[B]16. Necrophagist - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09[/B]
Not only is Muhammed SuiÁmez one of the best extreme metal guitar players on this planet today, but the rest of this band is mind-blowingly good as well. They are the single most technically accurate band I have ever seen live. Unreal.

[B]15. IntrOnaut - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09[/B]
This highly under-rated band brought the heat to one of the best shows of 2009 (they opened for Kylesa and Mastodon). Their bass player is the focal point of the band, and he is disgustingly good at his "job". Their sound is eclectic, but it's HEAVY - and the crowd seemed to love it that night.

[B]14. High on Fire - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 10/19/09[/B]
Matt Pike and crew never fail to please. As Mankvill said, these guys are perhaps one of the best pure metal bands out there. Sabbath meets Motorhead, and is reborn as High on Fire. Hell, Pike is almost as ugly as Lemmy, too. ;)

[B]13. Grayceon - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09[/B]
Jackie Perez Gratz takes a fucking electric cello and turns it into a heavy metal instrument right before your eyes. Plus, the guitar and drums in this band are awesome as well. There is nothing quite like Grayceon out there - they are unique (and uniquely good).

[B]12. Meshuggah - House of Blues - Chicago, IL - 2/15/09[/B]
Meshuggah came to Chicago, took over the stage at the House of Blues, and was Meshuggah for just over an hour. What else do you need to know? Fucking crushing show - great set. These guys absolutely slay live.

[B]11. Kylesa - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09[/B]
This band haven't yet gotten the praise that they deserve, but this is starting to change. Their live show is fucking sweet. The dual drummers are used to better effect than any other band I've seen do this - their combined sound is thick and crunchy and just plain awesome. Plus, they have dual lead guitarists / vocalists in Laura Pleasants and Phillip Cope, and they also combine very well. Fantastic performance.

[B]10. Pelican - Dark Lord Day - Three Floyds Brewery - Munster, IN - 4/25/09[/B]
The audience at this show was a bunch of drunken beer-lovers who had gathered at this brewery to buy a beer that is only available one day a year - and hence, nobody had to pay a thing to get into this show. I'm sure Pelican may have been paid something (or maybe not), but I'm sure it wasn't much if they did get paid. You never would have known it, though. They played for well over an hour, including a fifteen-minute plus version of perennial crusher "The Woods", which absolutely brought the fucking house down.

[B]9. Russian Circles - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 12/10/09[/B]
I fucking love the Grog Shop. I stood / sat at the edge of the stage, ten feet from this phenomenal band, and taped their entire set so I could take it home and relive the experience again. This Chicago post-metal trio is known for reproducing their album sound almost perfectly live, and all I can say is (1) it's true, and (2) if you've ever heard one of their albums (which you should - NOW!), you'll know why this show was so damned good.

[B]8. Bolt Thrower - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09[/B]
The mighty Bolt Thrower made the trip across the big pond last summer for one show - Maryland Death Fest - and a throng of metalheads who clogged the street / parking lot outside the Sonar that Saturday night were blessed to see one of the greatest grindcore bands of all time play a totally crushing set. What a fucking experience!

[B]7. Mastodon - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09[/B]
After the unexpected (by folks other than myself, who was already a fan) awesomeness that was IntrOnaut, and the crushing heaviness that was Kylesa, only a band as good as Mastodon could follow and improve the quality of this show even further. They played their new album front to back, and then launched into a bunch of old favorites. With all band members sober and present and in the moment (which they were), this band is one of the best there is live.

[B]6. Burst - Blondies - Detroit, MI - 10/8/09[/B]
For those that don't know, Burst is basically Sweden's answer to Mastodon - or at least they were. This was the second-to-last night of this tour, which was their first in the U.S., as well as their last tour ever. This band is playing a farewell show in their home town this month, and then will be no more. What a pity that is, because they are one of the best bands I have heard in a while. This show was definitely bittersweet, but it was one for the record books for me.

[B]5. Metallica - Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, OH - 10/15/09[/B]
This was my fifth time or so seeing these legends - first time with Rob Trujillo on bass (who is an excellent addition to the band, BTW). This was my favorite performance of theirs, hands down. These guys may have some wrinkles and gray hairs (especially James!), but got DAMMIT they sure didn't show their age that night. The sheer spectacle of it all was enough to blow anyone away, but the set list, personality, and overall awesome vibe that was felt all around this sold-out NBA arena made this one of the best performances of the year.

[B]4. Baroness - The Magic Stick - Detroit, MI - 11/24/09[/B]
From a huge show (Metallica), to a much smaller one (Baroness), the level of awesome actually did increase here. Baroness did not play their usual encore "Tower Falls" at this show, but somehow I still felt so jacked up at the end of this show just because of the pure awesomeness of what I had just witnessed, that it really didn't matter. They basically played the entire set non-stop, jamming on all eight cylinders for just over an hour. Most of the phenomenal Blue Record was played, aong with some old favorites. I got a chance to meet John Baizley after the show, and he might be one of the coolest dudes in metal. What a great time this show was - worth the road trip and then some!

[B]3. Giant Squid - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09[/B]
Speaking of road trips, this show was the real reason I went to Chicago on this particular weekend back in August. My wife still thinks it was for Depeche Mode at Lollapalooza (and maybe it was, a little ;)), but this tiny show in this tiny bar on the north side of Chicago was the third hugest show I've seen this year. Maybe it was because I got to meet the whole band and talk to them, or maybe it was because I was so jazzed to actually see these guys this close to the Atlantic Ocean, but whatever the reason, I still remember this performance as being one of the most crushing things I've ever seen.

[B]2. Isis - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 6/9/09[/B]
Isis is perhaps my favorite post-metal band of all time. I had had a chance to see them on tour with Tool back in 2007, and that got f-ed up by...circumstances beyond my knowledge and control. :mad: This time, I got to see them play as a headliner, and they thundered out basically the entire "Wavering Radiant" album, plus a couple of older favorites, in just over an hour. This was one of the tightest shows I have ever seen - the sound was perfect, and the playing was flawless. The signature Isis wall of sound was in full effect that night, and it blew us all away.

[B]1. Carcass - Peabody's - Cleveland, OH - 3/14/09[/B]
It was Carcass. They got back together, and played in front of me, live. The crowd thrashed like it was the fucking late 80's / early 90's again. I heard "Exhume to Consume" live, for fuck's sake! What part of FUCKING AWESOME do you not understand?!? Seriously, though - these founding fathers of grindcore put on a truly legendary show last March, and it was truly a blessing to get to see them at all, not to mention in a nice, intimate little venue like Peabody's. We were crammed in there like sardines, and we paid for the privilege. Many other crowd favorites made us yell / growl ourselves hoarse. Best show of 2009.

What a phenomenal year this was for metal! I was truly blessed to get to see all these shows - and more - live this year. My cup truly runneth over. Nice. :D

mankvill 12-15-2009 01:16 PM

Yes! Although not year-end material for me, Kylesa does put on a helluva show! Heavy as bbbaaalllsss!

DethMaiden 12-15-2009 03:37 PM

Three of these bands are in my top ten performances of the year. :D Won't spoil which, but nice write-ups. :horns:

idrinkwine732 12-15-2009 05:16 PM

Giant Squid are awesome, haven't seen em live yet...

Natrlhi 12-15-2009 09:38 PM

[QUOTE=idrinkwine732;241634]Giant Squid are awesome[/QUOTE]
They are!

[QUOTE=idrinkwine732;241634]haven't seen em live yet...[/QUOTE]
You should!


idrinkwine732 12-15-2009 10:30 PM

I happen to live in SF, so I think I could get to see them soon.

Natrlhi 12-16-2009 07:20 AM

[QUOTE=idrinkwine732;241674]I happen to live in SF, so I think I could get to see them soon.[/QUOTE]

I know, and I hate you for that. ;)

EDIT: You gotta check out Grayceon, too. Their cello player (and co-founder) is in Giant Squid, and they are fucknawesome.

jhdeity 12-16-2009 08:24 AM

Very cool list. I'm surprised you didn't count opening acts also. Cynic opening for meshuggah and Burst opening for Gojira in my case took those shows to a much higher level.

This way makes a better list but I'm all about the whole concert experience. Or what I remember of it... hahaha

Natrlhi 12-16-2009 12:23 PM

[QUOTE=jhdeity;241701]Very cool list. I'm surprised you didn't count opening acts also. Cynic opening for meshuggah and Burst opening for Gojira in my case took those shows to a much higher level.

This way makes a better list but I'm all about the whole concert experience. Or what I remember of it... hahaha[/QUOTE]

I specifically kept it focused on performances of the individual bands. I agree with what you are saying though. For that reason, I was thinking about doing another, shorter list of the top five SHOWS of the year. In fact, since you mentioned it, why the hell not? Here goes:

[SIZE="5"][U]Top 5 [B]Metal Shows[/B] of 2009[/U][/SIZE]

[B]5. Isis / Pelican / Keelhaul - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 6/9/09[/B]
As I mentioned in my review of the Isis performance at this show, the band was incredibly tight and the sound was fantastic. The quintessential Isis "wall of sound" was incredible. Plus, motherfucking PELICAN opened for this show. Their set could have been a headlining act all by itself. It was essentially the same set that I had seen them play a few months before in Chicago, but slightly shorter and [I]slightly[/I] less intense (still very, very good though). Keelhaul is local to Cleveland, but they are technically a national act as well, and it's always great seeing them, too. They played a bunch of stuff from their new album, which is very good. Overall, this was a very heavy, sludgy night - and one hell of a memorable show.

[B]4. Meshuggah / Cynic / The Faceless - House of Blues - Chicago, IL - 2/15/09[/B]
My long-standing wish to see the mighty Meshuggah in a headlining show was first realized at the House of Blues in Chicago. I had seen them before opening for Ministry (on their farewell tour), and this taste is all I needed to get the addiction started. Meshuggah live is one of the heaviest things you will ever hear. Period. Plus, these Swedes are just so damned talented that it just defies my puny brain. Tomas Haake is one of the best drummers alive, and witnessing him play songs like "Bleed" is just sublime. Cynic opened this show, and although they are not much for stage antics - in fact, this seems to be the exact [I]opposite[/I] of what they are all about - they are still very good live because of the peaceful-yet-heavy vibe they exude. The Faceless were OK, but frankly this show was in my top five from the get-go simply because of Meshuggah and Cynic.
[B]MESHUGGAH = [/B]:bricks:. Any questions?

[B]3. Giant Squid / Grayceon / Bloody Panda - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09[/B]
When "The Ichthyologist" came out, I made comments to many of my metal friends that, since their cello player Jackie Perez Gratz is also in Grayceon, and since they had also released a new album at the tail end of 2008, it would be phenomenal to see them tour together. Well, my wish was finally granted in a little dive bar on the north side of Chicago on a Friday night last August. These two relatively unknown powerhouse bands took over that place and performed what I'll bet is one of the most badass shows that ever took place there. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I also got to meet the entire band and even got pictures and autographs from all of them as well (something I almost never do). They were all some of the nicest people I've ever met in a metal band, and I almost feel like I made a few new "friends" that night. I won't forget that show for a long, long time.

[B]2. Mastodon / Kylesa / IntrOnaut - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09[/B]
To be honest, I wanted to see Kylesa most of all at this show. The fact that Mastodon was headlining was an awesome bonus, to be sure, because I had never seen them live before. Also, I am a VERY big fan of IntrOnaut - and their presence on this bill sealed the deal for me. I went into this with very high expectations - which is not always a good thing - but my already high expectations were literally crushed to bits that night. IntrOnaut brought the house down as the fucking OPENER. People all around me were saying "holy shit - who the hell is THAT?" (I love it when that happens with a band I already know is awesome). Then, Kylesa took the stage and just owned for about forty-five minutes. As I've said previously, their stage show is not to be missed, even if you are just a casual or curious fan - GO SEE THEM! The dual drummers are incredible, and the dual guitar / vocal talent of Laura and Phillip are also fantastic. Then Mastodon came along and crushed all of our skulls into Oblivion (pun intended :)). Each band played an awesome set, each band was phenomenal in their own right, and each was more awesome than the one before. Can you say TRIFECTA?!?

[B]1. Bolt Thrower / Napalm Death / Pig Destroyer / General Surgery / Birdflesh / Brutal Truth / Hail of Bullets - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09[/B]
It was Maryland Fucking Death Fest - are you kidding me? Hell, I found out my van had been towed, and that it was going to cost me $325 CASH ONLY to get it out - and this is before Bolt Thrower played - and it was still the best overall concert experience I had last year. I mean, I would have driven the 500+ miles for Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death and Pig Destroyer alone, not to mention all the other awesome bands I got to see. Hail of Bullets is awesome - they are as close to the old (read: good) Pestilence as you will ever get (besides maybe Asphyx, who played the night before this), and that is a very, very good thing. Birdflesh was a pleasant little surprise - they are a crazy good little grindcore trio from Sweden with a flair for the ridiculous - and it works. General Surgery were fun, with all the blood and theatrics. They're no Carcass, but they know that, and it seems to be OK with them (and me, too). Brutal Truth was...well...brutal (what else could they be?). The weather was god-awful hot as fuck, and like I said, I got some really bad news right in the middle of the fray, but I got to see a ton of metalheads from all parts of the country crammed into the street / parking lot outside the venue, moshing their balls and tits off to bands like the mighty Bolt Thrower. I would make that trek again in a heartbeat (but I'd sure as fuck park my van in a more obviously legal spot next time! :tongue:)

[B][U]Honorable Mention:[/U][/B]
[B]Necrophagist / Ensiferum / Darkest Hour / Dying Fetus / Origin (plus some other bands that sucked) - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09[/B]
Two of the most technically-staggering bands in the world together at the same show (Necrophagist and Origin), plus one of the most fun (Ensiferum), plus one of the nicest "surprise" bands of the year for me (Darkest Hour), plus one of the heaviest riffing bands on the planet (Dying Fetus) equals HONORABLE MENTION TIME, BABY!!!

jhdeity 12-16-2009 02:33 PM

Yeah my buddy got towed the last time there for Suicidal Tendencies. They feast on people who park on the left side of the building in that little corner. Better to park a street over and trudge it or get there early and park in the main lot.

Yeah I wasn't that big on Faceless live either and am surprised they're headling pretty big shows now. I probably didn't give them much of a chance because I was chomping at the bit to see Cynic and the mighty Mesuggah.

Combustion and Suffer in Truth back to back was top 3 highlight of my decade... maybe life.

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