So here is, as Paul Harvey used to say, "The Rest of the Story"…
I arrived at the show during Car Bomb
’s set. They were…forgettable. Their sound is very start / stop, so one could say they bear some resemblance to Gojira
in that way, but really they are nothing like Gojira when it comes right down to it. Gojira knows them from a past tour they did together, and they called Car Bomb up when the shit hit the fan with Randy Blythe, and…yeah. I get it. But really, Car Bomb is just too spastic and frenetic and all over the place for me. Enough said.
The opener for Car Bomb had been Cleveland’s own The Dagger Rebellion
. They are a local metalcore band with a singer who does a lot of harsh vocals – and is fairly competent at it – and some clean vocals which are just a bit too out of character for the rest of their sound, if you ask me (which is, incidentally, how I would describe the vast majority of metalcore bands). They’re nice guys – I got to meet a few of them – but they’re no Chimaira
. Enough said.
The entire reason I was there that night was so that I could finally make good on my two previous botched opportunities to see these guys live, now that I know how awesome they really are. The first time was when they toured with Behemoth
in 2007 – I missed them on purpose because I didn’t know about them, and I was trying to miss Beneath the Massacre
. Then I missed them again in 2009 on tour with Metallica
due to bad timing and traffic issues, but I caught the last song of their set, which was enough to know that their sound was all wrong for the ~25,000 seat basketball arena in which they were playing anyway.
So this was finally the night to set things straight with regards to Gojira – and set me the fuck straight they did. You already know the set list (which was the same as their previous night’s set in Milwaukee, for anyone who cares), so I won’t re-post that. One thing I did find interesting, though, is that while we were waiting for Gojira to take the stage, they played “The Pot” by TOOL
over the PA, and I thought to myself that, in a funny kind of way, the two bands actually had quite a few things in common – what with the progressive elements they both like to use, the wicked good bass lines, the tribal drumming style, the thoughtful lyrics, etc. Anyways, I took it as a sign that something awesome was about to happen, and it got me even more jazzed. I guess you just had to be there.
Anyway, like I said their set was great. Starting off with “Space Time” was awesome. “Heaviest Matter
” and “Backbone
” were crushing, of course. I took videos of both (click links to view). “Remembrance” was also ridiculously good, but my arm was tired of trying to hold my crappy little point-and-shoot camera (which was the only thing they would let me take into the venue) still, so I sat that one out. One thing they did that was kinda cool that no one else has mentioned yet is that they played the first few minutes of “Love” entirely in the dark. That was pretty sweet – it really added to the creepy / cool nature of the build-up to the thrashy part when the song really gets going. The title track from the new album was fantastic. As others have posted, he chatted up the crowd about who had bought it and who had stolen it…but the majority of folks had bought it, so he just thanked everyone for their support and they launched into the song.
One real surprise for me – and maybe it’s just because I hadn’t seen them before, so I wasn’t aware, but when they played “Flying Whales
”, not only did they skip the slow intro portion, but when they played the fast part, they increased the tempo noticeably from the album version. That was cool as balls. I was blown away by how well that song translated live – it was actually one of the heaviest tracks in the set. Who’da thunk it? So moving on, “Clone” was crushing and awesome, the drum solo leading into “Wisdom Comes” (which they have listed on the set list as “Tron”), was really cool, and “Oroborus
” absolutely brought down the fucking house. They closed their set with that one, exited for a few minutes, and then came back out and played “Explosia
”. Holy fucking shitballs, that song kicks all kinds of ass. It’s fucking fantastic on album, and it destroys even more live. Perfect encore, if you ask me. My money says they stick with that one for quite a while.
They also had “The Axe” listed on the written set list as the encore – again, same as a few previous shows – but they didn’t play it. Would it have been cool? Hell yes. Did it ruin the show? Fuck no. I asked Joe about it when I met him after the show, and he told me that they were simply switching up the set from show to show, and you know, they just didn’t play it that night. Whatever – I was still happy. I told him that the reason I asked was that I really like the new album, and anything from it would have been welcome. He seemed to like hearing that. I also asked what had happened to “Liquid Fire”, and he said that they had only played it during their show in NYC, and it didn’t sound right. He said that they needed to practice it more, and then who knows? I said that maybe they could bring it back it out when they toured again (of course I was on a fishing trip here…
), and he said, “yeah, definitely. We’ll be back in January / February.” That was enough to put a smile on my face, sure enough. So I asked him for a photo, which he was obviously glad to do, and thanked him one more time for a great show, and then let the next fan get their moment with him.
One last thing – you’ll notice if you click on the links to the videos that the sound is fucked up here and there on several of them. At first I was disappointed about this, but of course I knew it would be the case based on the equipment I was using. The more I think about it, though, I think it’s kinda cool that the sound just completely overwhelmed the crappy little mic on my camera a few times – it’s almost as if my camera just couldn’t handle how heavy Gojira is. All of a sudden I’m getting a mental picture of Nicholson bellowing out his famous line, “You can’t HANDLE the truth!!!” Anyway, I just thought I’d throw that out there. I’m still glad I got the videos. It’s something to remember the show by – although I’m sure it will stick in my memory for a good long time regardless.
Killer time. You should have fucking been there.