It seemed like almost every metal fan in Melbourne was spending their Sunday afternoon eagerly awaiting the opening of Festival Hall’s doors at Lamb of God/Meshuggah o’clock (otherwise known as 7pm), or at least that’s what my Facebook newsfeed indicated.
Unfortunately, there seemed to be some confusion about the time that the doors opened and whether there would be a local support, resulting in quite a few late comers, but that didn’t seem to affect the mood of the crowd.
As expected, Swedish extreme metal veterans, Meshuggah, opened the night and, although they are equally as deserving of the headlining spot, it was clearly evident from the crowd’s enthusiasm that Lamb of God’s legendary status overshadows that of Meshuggah.
Meshuggah opened with ‘Swarm’ off their 2012 album, Koloss, and, while they played a decent mix of songs from across their albums during their hour and a quarter set, they definitely favoured Koloss, also playing ‘Do Not Look Down’, ‘The Hurt that Finds You First’, ‘I am Colossus’ and ‘Demiurge’.
Meshuggah smashed out fan favourite, ‘obZen’ with a fervent intensity and, of course, throughout the night singer Jens Kidman made that scary, yet simultaneously kind of cute, face that we (or maybe it was just me) were hoping he would. Interestingly, the last fifteen or twenty minutes of their set was dedicated to songs from the experimental, concept album Catch Thirtythree playing ‘Mind’s Mirrors’, ‘In Death – Is Life’ and ‘In Death – Is Death’.
Meshuggah played a technically proficient set with killer lighting, which the crowd loved, but when Lamb of God hit the stage the intensity and excitement doubled, as did the sound quality. Singer, Randy Blythe, has a natural ability to connect with the crowd and, with this being their first trip to Australia since his recent legal ordeal, the crowd seemed to have a particular affection for him.
The almighty Lamb of God opened with ‘Desolation’, followed by ‘Ghost Walking’, both off their latest album Resolution, but the performance really peaked with older tracks ‘Walk With Me in Hell’ and ‘Now You’ve Got Something to Die For’ during which the band encouraged the crowd to passionately scream the song’s chorus line. They played songs from across five different albums, finishing their set with ‘Black Label’ from their second album, New American Gospel.
Most fans of local metal will know that it’s no secret that Randy Blythe is a fan of local band, Sydonia, and it was a nice touch that he gave a mid-set shout-out to Sydonia and fellow Melbournians, I Am Duckeye.
When the Lamb of God and Meshuggah tour was announced, I was more excited about seeing Lamb of God, despite loving both bands, but by the time the show rolled around, it was Meshuggah that I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately, I think that left me with unrealistic expectations because, although Meshuggah played an absolutely amazing set, the vocals were a little low in the mix and, overall, the performance seemed to lack the intensity that I was expecting.
Lamb of God, on the other hand, really had an exuberant energy about them and that mixed with the superior sound quality; their melodic and catchy sing-along type songs, coupled with the atmosphere created by the audience’s attitude, made Lamb of God’s set the more enjoyable of the night. That said, both bands put on an incredible show and anyone that missed it should cry themselves to sleep tonight.