Sunday, December 16, 2007

Concert - Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, DevilDriver, Soilwork

Thanks goes out to all the friends I met at this show, including Alfonso, Dan, Tony and Christian (the pic didn’t turn out guys!) Nick, Pat, and the other guy in the group of who I can’t remember the name of (thanks for the beer!) photographer Samantha, the Canadian guy who usually goes to the Opera House for shows (I forgot your name, but I still remember you!), and especially photographer Sheila, aka “Miss She La”.

The concerts I’ve been going to just keep getting bigger and bigger. This was my first time at the Fillmore in Detroit, a larger venue than Harpo’s, and much nicer as well. Getting inside the venue, it seems the people who run the place know how to keep the temperatures jut right, as it was warm when I came in, and they brought cool air in when it gets hot.

Openers on this tour were Soilwork. They didn’t have too much room on the stage, but they made use of what they had. Singer Björn walked around stage screaming the verse and singing the catchy choruses of the songs while some in the audience sang along. Guitarist Ola Frenning with his bald dome always has that gritty look of determination while playing, while keyboardist Sven Karlsson headbanged while playing those electronics, and drummer Dirk Verbeuren managed to keep a dramatic look while playing. Most of the songs were from the latest album, “Sworn To A Great Divide” with songs from previous albums going back at least to “Natural Born Chaos” sprinkled in.

DevilDriver come out through the coloured smoke, opening their set surprisingly not from their latest album, “The Last Kind Words”, but I believe with “End Of The Line” from “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand”. For a band with a new album out, their set was surprisingly well-rounded with songs from all their albums. Long haired members Mike Spreitzer on guitar and Jon Miller on bass headbanged and windmill spun those locks like you wouldn’t believe, while vocalist Dez Fafara constantly ran from one side of the stage to the next.

I haven’t seen Killswitch Engage for a long time, the last time being at the 2004 New England Metal And Hardcore Fest, and they’ve changed a lot. Back then they were short haircuts all the way, now guitarist Joel Stroetzel has a head of hair that’s about to take control of him, while Mike D'Antonio looks like a full-on road warrior and drummer Justin Foley has a beard long enough to make the Hells Angels proud. They opened up their set with a classic from 5 years ago now (damn, has it been that long?), “Fixation On The Darkness”. Having their newest album out last year, it makes sense that the Killswitch Engage set was well-rounded, having songs from their last 3 albums, but unfortunately lacking any songs from their very first album (unless there was one that got lost in there). Much more than I’ve seen him before, Howard Jones exudes confidence , even walking high atop the risers, and of course Adam Dutkiewicz provided the humour onstage. Being a co-headliner, I believe their set may have lasted an hour.

The final band to take the stage was Lamb Of God. I haven’t seen them since 2003, and this time around, singer Randy Blythe had much more energy as he walked all over the huge stage area. He never quite seems to stick with one haircut, and this time he was going long. In fact, it’s almost a strange occurrence to see every band member sporting long hair on a stage that big. It reminded me of what it must’ve been like for the old-school 80's thrash bands. The set was focussed mostly on songs from “Ashes Of The Wake” and “Sacrament”, and went on for quite awhile, 1 ½ hours possibly? There were a couple of older songs, most notably to me was “Ruin”, “Vigil”, and the final song of the night “Black Label”. Lamb Of God would also sometimes include a Burn The Priest song, but as of late it seems that they’ve let that release go.


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