On Tuesday, August 8, Gojira, Pallbearer, and Oni strolled through the Treasure Valley and decimated the Knitting Factory in Boise.
Canadian progressive death metallers Oni took the stage first and wowed the audience with a technical onslaught attributed by guitarists Brandon White and Martin Andres, vocalist Jake Oni, and the crushing rhythm section of drummer Joe Greulich and bassist Chase Bryant; plus the world’s most badass xylosynth player, John DeAngelis. They put an idiosyncratic spin on the genre, using DeAngelis’ talents to orchestrate what sounds to be a brutal video game soundtrack, taking you along for the ride and melting your face in the process. These men brought to the table not only balls, but a well rehearsed set that made my fingers hurt from just watching White and Andres tap and shred up and down the necks of their instruments. The band is touring in support of its debut album Ironshore.
After Oni’s performance, Little Rock doom powerhouse Pallbearer proceeded to punish their audience with a twisted combination of crunchy and clean riffs along with honest and sincere vocals from Brett Campbell. Although the set was short in terms of songs, it wasn’t in length. It included one of tracks played from their latest effort Heartless, titled “Dancing in Madness,” coming in at just shy of 12 minutes. The fluidity of their set transposed their performance into a journey of emotion that left the audience in a trance of transcendence, which gave me an overall impression of freshness and intensity.
Go check out my review of Heartless and then BUY THE RECORD. I assure you that you won’t be disappointed.
To end the night, none other than the mighty Gojira came out swinging with “Only Pain,” the eighth track on their newest record, Magma. and one of five tracks played from the latest record, which also included “Stranded” and “Silvera”. From there, the French metal masters set just kept getting heavier and heavier with each track and they would not let up. Picture this: the split second where time slows before utter bedlam erupts in the mosh pit and dozens of sweaty dudes amalgamate into one fluid motion. This was the feeling that the floor of the Knitting Factory was constantly under before each song was played. The fans seemed to know every song by heart, and that just fired them up even more.
Frontman and rhythm guitarist Joe Duplantier’s voice is nothing short of formidable. Hearing him echo off of the walls of the venue rattled my very soul, along with the sound of Mario Duplaniter’s double bass drum.
As soon as the track of ambient whale noises came on, I took it upon myself to congregate the rest of the miscreants in the pit into formation for a wall of death. Why do you ask? Because this was a call to arms. The signal that all hell was about to break loose on account of one song: “Flying Whales”. For months I envisioned this moment, ever since I witnessed the same thing happening at enormous festivals. It was the greatest feeling of my life when that floor erupted. And the breakdown in the middle of it? Holy shit. That’s as best as I can sum up my feelings of what transpired.
There was not a still moment during the entire set. Even during Mario Duplantier’s drum solo, people were moving. Speaking of Mario, the portion of the show that really showcased Gojira’s talent was when the Duplantier brothers switched roles during “Ouroboros” when Joe jumped onto the drum kit and Mario picked up a guitar and showcased his vocal abilities. Both did an insanely good job.
To put icing on this brutal cake, Gojira came back on stage for their encore. To be expected, right? Well, what the audience didn’t expect was a marveling and almost surpassing cover of the classic tune “Territory” by Sepultura, which even had people that were teenagers when Chaos A.D. came out into the mosh pit! You can check out their full set here.
In synopsis, this concert was one of the best I have ever attended. Gojira’s showcase of musicianship surpasses every other band I’ve seen, and Pallbearer spoke to me in such a way that nobody else has. If you get the opportunity to go and see any of these bands, do yourself a favor and go. You will not soon forget the time you did.