Getting Bored and Angry at Lamb of God: Review and Photos
Let me fill everyone in on a little secret for those who don't know... Smaller independent bands pay around five or six dollars per t-shirt from the manufacturer for shorter runs of designs. As the quantity of the shirts increases, the price per unit does the opposite. That means bands like tonight's monsters of metal probably pay two or three dollars per shirt since they are ordering thousands at a time. The indie band pays $6, sells for $10... the metal monsters pay $3, sell for $30. Sounds like someone is getting a big hundred percent cotton dick right up the ass.
By 7:15 p.m., the British band Sylosis was already opening the show. It was metalcore and looked and sounded like every metalcore band. Does any more really need to be said?
Up next was the favorite band of any teenage boy who is really, really mad at his parents, Hatebreed. Now, I know Hatebreed is super tough and bad-ass (after all, what is more hardcore than hosting a TV show?), but its shtick has been tired for nearly ten years now and its forced "anger" just isn't believable. It's hard to imagine how pissed they must be as they nibble on craft services backstage before hitting the road in their mega-rock-bus and prep for their 9th or 10th world tour with Slayer.
This band was last in town with Cannibal Corpse opening the show. Vocalist Jamey Jasta gets to front a band with the legendary Kirk Windstein of Crowbar fame, and these dudes have even been nominated for Grammy's. Hatebreed should change its name to the fucking Happy Goofballs.
The Goofballs played well, and with about as much enthusiasm as they could seem to conjure, but given the simplicity of its chug-a-lug guitar riffs and watered down hip-hop drumming, playing it well shouldn't be too difficult. When I first heard the song "Destroy Everything" on 2006's Supremacy, I realized the band's creativity must be completely tapped, because it was one of the silliest songs I'd ever heard. Naturally it was the set closer.
Jasta then plugged the band's upcoming record and thanked the crowd for "spending an hour of your job's pay to support heavy music" like it was a charity for starving children. Did I mention this was a $38 show? T-shirts were 30 bucks and sweatshirts were $50. Even if he was only talking about his band's new album; CD's are what nowdays, $17.99? Vinyl is even more. I don't think too many members of this audience work for Goldman Sachs, and more likely an hour of their paycheck will barely cover one of the beers they are drinking.
Todd Owyoung In Flames
The next band, In Flames, has been credited as an influence by countless metal bands and has been on the forefront of the Swedish metal scene since the early '90s. The band's early work was fast and brutal yet melodic and epic in scale. It was quite impressive and ahead of its time. Unfortunately, none of that material was played. Instead that band focused on its newer songs, which sound shockingly like Disturbed or Linkin Park. Think I'm just being a jerk? Go listen for yourself. It's not just bad; it's Pointfest bad.
Despite all the blinding strobe lights and real, honest begging from vocalist Anders Fridén for people to get out of their seats and get into the music, no one really seemed to care too much about them. In Flames' 45 minute set was followed by dimming of the lights as set up for the encore, but the silent audience did not summon the band back to the stage and no encore was given.
Crew members frantically ran around piecing together a new super-stage featuring a huge drum riser made of metal (oh, I get it!) with ramps and steps leading up and down, which looked a little like overkill on the Pageant's non-arena sized stage. Extra lights were set up, video monitors were put into place, and... are those Lamb of God floor mats being taped to the stage? Boom, ticket price totally justified!
The band finally got up there around 10 p.m. and the place fully erupted. Devil horns reached upward like flange antennae, people were shove-moshing in the seating areas off to the sides, and nearly every head in the room was banging as if someone had just said to this particular group of people, "Shake your head yes if you like titties and beer."
Singer Randy Blythe's onstage charisma was top notch. As far as front men go, he's one of the best around. It was hard to take your eyes off him as he ran around the stage like a possessed Iggy Pop, screaming his dreadlock-covered head off. Maybe it was the Prague incident, which is still fresh in everyone's minds, but he truly seemed very happy to be on that stage and gave a great, full-assed performance.