Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Lamb of God

It's been longer than a month since i've posted a blog (well even longer, as I started the previous post about three weeks before I managed to finish it..), as i've been fairly busy of late, getting back into the swing of the college routine after the Christmas holidays. Also a few weeks ago I began work on converting one of my amps, but I will post about that in a few weeks, once I am finished with it.

This post will be about a gig I went to recently. This piece of writing is also what I am doing for my second bit of coursework for creative writing, so it is nice to be able get this blog post out of the way, whilst also getting college work done.

Lamb of God - Southampton Guildhall, UK - 12.01.2014

At 7 o’clock, the gates outside the guildhall the queues were already backed up massively. Instead of joining this queue, I instead went into the priority queue with my friend, who could get in quicker using the fact that his phone is on the O2 network.
After depositing our bags in the cloakroom, filled with coats, keys and other items, we headed up towards the stage.

By this point in time, the floorspace was beginning to become fairly packed, people getting as close as they could to the barrier.

Huntress kicked off the show at 7:45, quite literally. Their singer had a stage presence similar to female-fronted power metal bands, which in terms of the general lineup, did not especially fit. However considering their music seemed very influenced by speed metal, you would expect this of them.

I did not find them an especially pleasing act to see live, the main problem being that the tone of their music did not match their vocalist well at all and that their stage presence, made mostly by their lead guitarist and singer, seemed rather gimmicky, despite how common it is in their genre. 

However my main dislike about them, aside from the mismatched singer, was more general. I just found them boring. The rest of the crowd didn't seem to have much of a reaction either, just a few nodding heads near the front. 

Decapitated, a technical death metal band from Poland were next. When the audio engineers and roadies were setting up the stage, they took a quick break from soundchecking, and played a short section of Pantera's 'walk', with guitar, drums and bass. The crowd seemed to love this, not just because it is a classic groove metal song but perhaps because it was so unexpected.

Their set began with the title song of their latest studio album, Carnival is Forever. They walked on stage to the acoustic intro, which they did a couple more other times when they changed instruments.
A lot of their set consisted of songs from their latest album, however they threw a fair few old songs in the mix. They mostly did not announce the names of the upcoming songs, so some people who did know them may have been a little lost. But the crowd seemed to liven up a lot during their set; Spheres of Madness was one of the songs that really got people moving, which I would say is my favorite song that they played. This is because of it's speedy tempo and insanely fast kick drum, mixed with a mostly lead style guitar.

After the concert I managed to have a chat with Rafal Piotrowsk, their vocalist. His look was great – he had long dreadlocks that reached down to the bottom of his spine, which looked brilliant when headbanging, flying around as if each lock was a chain with a morningstar on it. He seemed, too, like a chilled character; one of the notable things he said was his joke about how he feels at home here in the UK, with our large Polish population. He also offered to go to the pub with us for a while, if we could find any open, but there were few still open, and it was quite late so we had start heading home.

Lamb of God opened with the song Desolation from their latest album, Resolution. After they finished that song, Randy, their vocalist chatted to the audience for a bit, telling us that Paul Waggoner from Between the Buried and Me was taking Mark Morton’s place during this tour as Mark was with his family for personal reasons. He also mentioned how many years ago, when the band were still relatively new, the first country that they toured outside the America was the UK. 

Randy had a great stage presence, hyping the crowd up and telling them to go wild, while still mentioning looking out for others in the pit. This is because of the manslaughter trial he faced in Czech Slovakia last year, where he was convicted of pushing a fan off the stage, who subsequently fell and died a few days later in hospital. He was found not guilty, and I saw, from his blogging about the trial, and what he said on stage, it really made him think more seriously about fans keeping safe at gigs.
During his speech, he asked the crowd “how many of you have seen us before”, to which it seemed at least half of the crowd seemed to cry out, indicating yes, which is an impressive number to my mind. 

A lot of their set consisted of old material from past albums, mostly Wrath, Sacrament, Ashes of the Wake and As Palaces Burn. I knew all the songs they played, however I was a little fuzzy on songs from Resolution, as I only bought the album a few weeks before the gig, whereas I’ve had the other albums for about three years or more. 

The song they finished with was ‘Black Label’, a well-known song off their first album American Gospel. It is a classic song, mostly associated with the moshing act titled ‘the wall of death’, where the crowd will fall back to the edge of the pit, and the crowd will back up as much as possible, leaving a large gap between the other sides of the crowd.

Often, they form during gaps in a song, where the tempo will drop very low, and then the crowd will rush forward into the circle again when the tempo is increased again, making into a mosh pit again.
Sadly, during this song, Randy did not call out for one, much to my disappointment, but maybe it was a good thing, as by this time I was utterly shattered. It showed in the crowd as well, as from what I saw, as the pit was thinned out a fair bit in comparison to the start of their set.

My favorite song that they played was Omerta, because of the various tempo changes in it. I loved the sustained power chords in the chorus which increased adrenaline a lot and gave a good transition between the Second and third verse. It is also one of the most recognizable songs, without needing to be announced, as it has a spoken intro.

There was a lot of merchandise in stock, mostly for Decapitated and Lamb of God. At most gigs, I have a policy of trying to get an item of merchandise from at least one of the bands that played, be it at the gig, or buying it online at some other point. I considered buying a T-shirt, adding to my growing band T-shirt collection, but instead found a signed Decapitated poster that I thought would make a decent addition to my poster collection. I also already have a Lamb of God Hoodie, so in a sense I had fulfilled that requirement without needing to buy anything.

Huntress setlist:
Senicide/Destroy Your Life/Spell Eater/I Want To Fuck You To Death/Eight of Swords

Decapitated setlist:
404/Day 69/A View From a Hole/Carnival is Forever/Spheres of Madness

Lamb of god setlist:
Desolation/Ghost Walking/Walk with Me in Hell/Hourglass/Set to Fail/Now You’ve Got Something to Die For/The Undertow/Omerta/Ruin/In Your Words/Vigil/Laid to Rest/Redneck

Black Label

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