Originally Posted by jhdeity
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
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:
Top 5 Metal Shows of 2009
5. Isis / Pelican / Keelhaul - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH - 6/9/09
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 slightly
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.
4. Meshuggah / Cynic / The Faceless - House of Blues - Chicago, IL - 2/15/09
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 opposite
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.
. Any questions?
3. Giant Squid / Grayceon / Bloody Panda - White Star - Chicago, IL - 8/8/09
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.
2. Mastodon / Kylesa / IntrOnaut - Beachland Ballrom - Cleveland, OH - 5/2/09
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?!?
1. Bolt Thrower / Napalm Death / Pig Destroyer / General Surgery / Birdflesh / Brutal Truth / Hail of Bullets - Maryland Death Fest - Sonar - Baltimore, MD - 5/23/09
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!
Necrophagist / Ensiferum / Darkest Hour / Dying Fetus / Origin (plus some other bands that sucked) - Summer Slaughter Tour - The Phantasy Theatre - Lakewood, OH - 7/12/09
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!!!