While weeknights are never the premium choice for concerts, Thursday night at The Knitting Factory turned out to be an exception. It’s always a party when 100.3 The X throws one of its free shows, and this time they managed to wrangle Trivium to town. For those who think pulling such shows off is easy, trust me, it was no small feat on the part of XRock to make this happen for the fans. The band is currently on tour in support of its seventh studio album, Silence in the Snow, a record which marked Trivium’s 15th anniversary. Setting the table and firing the crowd up were hometown brothers-in-arms, Fault Paradox and Ripchain.
Fault Paradox blew it all open, spinning the fans up with their opening song, “Doom Driven”. Vocalist Ryan Gratton owned the capacity crowd from the get go, inciting pits, and setting the tone for the evening. 2016 marks the band’s 10th anniversary, and they hammered the crowd with favorites like “Cuddle Slut”, “Wretched Tide”, “Coliseum”, and “Ever Living Night”, from their two album’s Insurrection and Broken Hill. They even tuned up a new track, “The Righteous Wind”, before closing it out with “City of Shadows”. Guitarist Leif Larson built a wall of riffs on top of the solid foundation set by the rhythm section of bassist Terry Featherolf and drummer Brett Peterson. Fault Paradox returns to the studio this fall to lay down their third record.
Ripchain hit the stage next, and quite predictably laid waste to the crowd with the opener, “Murder in Mind”. Frontman David Ford commanded the stage, while Bob ‘Zilla’ Davis and Tyler Johnson rumbled and pummeled on the back end. Guitarist Mike Stanley scorched the fretboard as the band tore through tracks like “Rising”, “The Charlatan”, “Cyber F*ckt”, “River of Woe”, and three new songs “Rip and Devour”, “The Hunt”, and “Dystopium”. Ripchain will also return to the studio this year to record their next album, which guitarist and vocalist David Ford is excited to deliver to the fans:
“It’s the ‘new’ Ripchain. It won’t sound anything like any of our previous efforts. We’ve up’d our ‘heavy game’ substantially. The fans can expect more complexity in guitar dynamics and more noticeably, in the rhythm section. Since the addition of Tyler Johnson on drums, we have virtually opened the door to limitless possibilities. The new album will display a brutal evolution and a fresh energy that we desperately needed.”
By the time Trivium finally hit the stage just before 10 p.m., the audience went ballistic. They opened up with the title track off the new album, Silence in the Snow, and plowed headlong through “Into the Mouth of Hell We March” from their 2005 album, Shogun. The band had to stop the action mid-song due to safety concerns with the crowd-surfers. The photographers had to be removed from the photo-pit to be replaced by more security. Vocalist Matt Heafy demonstrated early and often why he is one of metal’s most engaging frontmen, ensuring fans stayed safe, but also keeping them fully engaged in the mayhem that ensued. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto added flawless clean vocal harmonies with Heafy, while shredmaster, Corey Beaulieu added his own filthy harmonies and gruff vocals to the mix. New drummer Paul Wandtke put on an outstanding performance behind the kit, often standing during the songs and adding a bit of showmanship from his perch on high.
Trivium served up 14 songs in all going back to 2005’s major label debut Ascendancy for “Like Light to the Flies”, “Rain”, and “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr”. Other songs performed included “Strife”, “Tread the Floods”, “Built to Fall”, “Insurrection”, “Dead and Gone”, “Becoming the Dragon”, “Down from the Sky”, and “Until the World Goes Cold”. They closed it all out with the title track from the 2011 album, In Waves.
It’s been a long while since Trivium graced Boise, and they made the wait worth it. Many in the crowd had never experienced the band live before. Everyone gets their money’s worth at a free show, but based on Trivium’s dialed in, bombastic performance, you’d have thought the fans paid top dollar to see them. There was no phoning it in for Heafy and company.
The mosh-pit for Trivium turned out to be one of the more memorable The Knit has played host to. Fault Paradox vocalist Ryan Gratton took his turn in the middle of the mayhem:
“Terry and I were in the mosh pit for the last half of Trivium’s set. It was brutal! I’ve been to a lot of shows and been in a lot of pits, but that thing was totally wild! I’m a big guy and know how to throw my weight around, but that was the first time in a long time that I got slammed to the floor! I lost a shoe and got the wind knocked out of me, which was a first. Thankfully, the crowd was as courteous as it was punishing. No sooner was I on the ground wondering what the hell just happened, before half the pit got me back on my feet and someone even handed me my lost shoe! Trivium knows how to inspire their fans to get to work, but they also foster a positive environment that allows the crowd to enjoy the camaraderie that is so exclusive to metal.”
Recent tweaks to The Knit’s already impressive sound system were clearly discernible, and made each band sound that much better and more powerful. In all, it stands as one of the best Free X shows to date, and it was a face-melting, head-banging good time. As one fan, Samuel Trejo, tweeted after the show: “Best damn concert ever!!!”
As always, a huge hand to Nic, Big J, Adam, and everyone at 100.3 The X for putting together another top-notch show. Also, a big horns up to Gary, Treva, and the rest of the amazing Knitting Factory staff for continuing to make this venue a stellar and comfortable place to see a show.