Children Of Bodom And Crew Get North American Tour Off To Emphatic Start
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal, June 24th 2011, House Of Blues, Hollywood CA: By the time I got to the venue at around 5.30 PM on this hot Friday evening, the line of fans waiting to get in was already massive, even though there were still two hours to go before the doors were supposed to be opened. That was perhaps a fair indication of just how eagerly awaited this show had been for fans of all four bands on the line-up, led by Finnish melodic death metal quintet Children Of Bodom. Providing able support to them on this bill are Devin Townsend Project, Obscura and Septicflesh. Tonight was the first show of the North American tour for this killer line-up, and if this show is anything to go by, ticket holders in the rest of the continent are in for a treat.
Septicflesh opened the night with a 35-minute set. The Greek death metallers focussed mainly on their latest album "The Great Mass", with four of their seven songs coming from it. I had absolutely no complaints with that, because it's an album I really enjoy listening to and is something I recommend to all extreme metal fans reading this. Frontman Sotiris Vayenas displayed not only great live musicianship, but also the emotion and expression that should go along with it. Their shortish set came across as dark, heavy and down-tempo for the most part, and slowly but surely the entire crowd started responding to it. It was a very pleasant surprise to see a completely packed house right from the outset, and more importantly, a crowd that was very vocal in support of the musicians on stage. Septicflesh gave quite a good account of themselves, and proved to be a great opener. I look forward to seeing them again, hopefully higher on the bill.
German technical death metallers Obscura were up next. Thanks to their incredible new album 'Omnivium', I was really looking forward to their set. They played two songs off of it, along with three from 'Cosmogenesis', and on paper it looked like the most perfect 30-minute set the band could come up with. But unfortunately the sound just wasn't mixed right tonight. The beauty of Obscura's music is the technicality of the guitar parts, and I could barely hear them. For example, 'Anticosmic Overload' is my favorite song from Cosmogenesis but it simply did not sound the way it should have sounded. Performance-wise though the band did a great job, specially with the new songs, and Obscura fans going to see this tour should have no reason to be disappointed. By now, the crowd here was completely into the band's performance, and the people who decided to hang around at the back during Septicflesh decided to get closer to the stage as well. The atmosphere inside the venue was terrific.
"Hello. We're the odd band on this bill and we are here for your entertainment. Let's start this nerdy shit!" yelled Devin Townsend as his band appeared on stage next, with the man himself dressed in his customary suit, much to the amusement of people around me, mostly those who had never heard of him. Despite playing music that's vastly different from any of the other three bands in the line-up, Devin had the crowd totally under his control with his incredibly mesmerizing musicianship and stage presence. As I was expecting, he stuck to his heavier material in this 40-minute set in an endeavor to cater to fans of this line-up. I'm a huge fan of his heavy as well as soft stuff, and what I'm really waiting for is a Devin Townsend headline tour. So for Devin fans this was just like a taste of things to come. When I was talking to him for my interview, Devin himself admitted that this tour is a bit of a risk, a bit like throwing something out in the dark and hoping to not lose it. But judging by his set tonight, I think the tour will be a successful one for him. Whether or not everyone in this crowd liked the performance is hard to tell, but everyone had smiles on their faces, simply proving the fact that Devin Townsend has the rare ability to instantly entertain crowds and win new fans and followers with effortless ease.
With all that said and done, it was time for our headline act to hit the stage, much to the delight of this sold out venue. They kicked off the set with a brand new tune, 'Not My Funeral' from the latest album 'Relentless Reckless Forever'. It certainly sounded much better live than it does on the album, and them starting off with this song wasn't a bad thing at all. But it was 'Bodom Beach Terror' that really got the crowd going nuts, and the intensity of the crowd as well as that of the musicians on stage kept rising with every song that followed. They threw in three more new songs in the set, 'Shovel Knockout', 'Roundtrip To Hell And Back', and 'Was It Worth It?' which I felt was just the right amount of material to represent the album. Of course, they played a lot of the 'fan favorites' but the standout among them was undoubtedly the song Children Of Bodom. I think Alexi was correct when he announced that this song had never been played in America, and tonight was the first time ever. Fans went into a complete frenzy, and 'Hate Me!' was the perfect follow-up tune to complete a breathtaking one-two punch.
Every album from their wonderful catalog is represented in the set, and this set list should successfully satisfy all of their fans. My favorite Bodom song 'Downfall' was sounding absolutely amazing, and they seem to outdo themselves every time they perform that particular song. Their 'Stockholm Knockout' DVD from about six years back is one of the best metal DVDs I've ever come across, and I owe it to that DVD for turning me into a Bodom fan. The reason why I mentioned this is because I felt a very similar vibe at tonight's show. I had seen the band quite a few times previously and this was the most 'perfect' Bodom concert I've ever seen. It came to a perfect end as well, with Sebastian Bach joining the band on stage to contribute vocals for 'Hate Crew Deathroll'. With that, the band and their special guest said goodbye to this highly grateful crowd.
The House Of Blues was treated to a splendid show tonight, and if you're anywhere near the cities this tour is hitting, you shouldn't think twice about going, because this is the most 'complete' heavy metal package tour of the year so far.
Looking for the best cable deals? Check out Cox Phoenix!