Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, Children of Bodom, God Forbid, Municipal Waste
April 28, 2009
Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, Co
Our untimely arrival at the Fillmore allowed for a quick pitstop and a few minutes to attend the merch booth. Am I getting old? When did merch become more expensive at the shows? Thirty bucks for a t-shirt?? Are you fucking kidding? I will continue to do my shopping at Hot Topic until bands pull their heads out of their asses (shout out to Fat Mike, who recently decided to sell all Fat Wreck Chords albums at all stores for under $10). On to the next overpriced rip-off. Twelve ounces of Miller Light for seven bucks. I'm now $49 in the hole, and Children of Bodom is still tuning their instruments. Thank you Live Nation.
Moving on. Due to our tardiness (get used to it), we missed God Forbid and Municipal Waste. Children of Bodom took the stage to their signature sound of keyboard. I have to admit, I was curious to see these Finnish metal gods opening for Lamb of God. I'm not complaining, just unsure of how they would fit the bill. Unsurprisingly, very little of the crowd was interested in what they were doing. Those of us that were were pleasantly surprised by the set list, old shit! The title track from Blooddrunk was the only new song played, amongst "Needled 24/7", "Are You Dead Yet", "In Your Face", and "Bodom After Midnight". After a few slightly messy songs, lead singer Alexei Laiho informed the crowd of an unfortunate accident he suffered a few days prior; a tumble out of bed on the tour bus cracked his collarbone. All too familiar with injuries, Alexei and the rest of the band are a determined bunch, and, after all, the show must go on.
Intrepid as the sweeping guitar of Laiho and Roope Latvala may be, keyboardist Janne Warman is what gives Children of Bodom their unique sound. It is difficult to distinguish everything he is doing in the studio recordings, but live is a whole different monster. Warman's keyboard is angled almost perpendicular to the stage in order so crowd can see what he's doing. It's mesmerizing. He is present from beginning to end, intros to solos to rhythm. Children of Bodom successfully energized the crowd for As I Lay Dying.
While As I Lay Dying was preparing to take stage, I began to understand why the stage was so heavily backlined. Each member of the band had their own riser to perform on. Since we had chosen the back of the crowd (more room for rawking), I was quite appreciative. AILD has an incredible stage presence involving plenty of movement and has an even tighter sound live than in their recordings. Afterall, isn't that the point?
Drummer Jordan Mancino utilizes two bass drums, making for an incredibly full and heavy foundation. With Tim Lambesis' mighty set of lungs and metronome Nick Hipa's crunchy guitar, they killed it. Adding to an intense set - which included "Darkest Nights", "Nothing Left" and "94 hours" - was an amazing light show. I have come to the unfortunate realization that spectacular lighting engineers are a dying breed. But with a series of synchronized LED lights, AILD was able to dominate not just the stage, but the entire Fillmore.
Photo by Shane Glenn
Once As I Lay Dying left the stage, it was apparent who the crowd had come to see. Their chant for the headliners successfully drowned out the crappy house music. The first thing I noticed as Lamb of God took stage was the long stringy hair of vocalist Randy Blythe. It's about damn time he grew metal hair. Second thing I noticed was the backdrop: black with four thick white stripes. It had the same effect as Jasper Johns' flags, causing ghost images as you looked away. So even with you eyes closed, you could see the stage. That was magnified by the use of fog and lighting, creating silhouettes of each musician within the stripes. During the last few songs, images of stars, stripes and a skeletal raptor carrying a scroll (from Ashes of the Wake) were projected onto the backdrop.
Musically speaking, LOG's brutal, white collar metal destroyed the crowd. It has been two days now since the show, and their songs are still running rampid through my head. To be perfectly honest, I don't remember much aside from headbanging and air guitar... my own that is. Blythe successfully channelled the devil through his guttural chanting on "Now You've Got Something to Die For", while guitarists Mark Morton and Will Adler brought us to our knees with their ferocious guitar riffs and tasty squeals in "Laid to Rest". Other crowd pleasers included "In Your Words" and "Redneck". Lamb of God went out with a bang, concluding their encore with old-school tune "Black Label".
Photo by Shane Glenn
Before the tour, Lamb of God drummer, Chris Adler, commented, "I cannot wait to begin the first North American run of the Wrath world tour. The package we have lined up is guaranteed to leave sore necks and broken eardrums across the country." Although I destroyed my eardrums long ago, my neck will never be the same.
Like that shit? Here's more!
Sinergy - feat. Alexei Laiho and Roope Latvala of Children of Bodom and Kimberly Goss of Dimmu Borgir
Austrian Death Machine - Ahhnold tribute band feat. Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying and Chad Ackerman of Destroy the Runner
Burn the Priest - feat. Lamb of God before they were Lamb of God