What fortune it was, that The Raven Age attained the support slot for this concert, after supporting further titans like Anthrax, Mastodon, Iron Maiden, Alter Bridge and many more. The metalcore band entered the stage in a confident manner and projected their songs solidly. Technically sound, the musicians interacted a little bit with another, while the singer scanned the crowd with his pointed finger and flashes the devil’s horns at selected people in the audience. Those are the ones, that don’t look like they’re about to sit down and make a cuppa.
When a sold out venue is awaiting mind-bending music in the name of Gojira, a generic metalcore act is not the adequate preparation of our bodies. The Raven Age played a well-rehearsed set, in which they barely have broken a sweat. Seemingly annoyed at the lack of response, the singer calls out how it is Gojira’s first time in Ireland – people in the crowd are amused at his ignorance and some legend in the crowd yelled: “play ‘Angel of Death’!“. The Raven Age’s music is substantial with all the tricks and embellishments that create a general public pleasing sound. A memory popped up of that one time when I was a child and I got this outline of a tiger in which the enclosed areas are numbered and it comes with a pallet with numbered colours, so you assort the right colours to the right area and after you have carefully coloured in between the lines, you look at it and claim “Look Da, I can paint!”
After their set, the full house patiently waited to embrace Gojira. There is a rather peaceful vibe and contagious excitement is flooding the crowd. Anyone who has already seen Gojira knows that a special treat is awaiting our hungry souls. Pity goes out to those, who were wandering around outside desperately looking for a last minute ticket. As the minutes pass by, people are twitching with the itch of anticipation, begin to call upon the band and finally the lights go out. Send a message, when you’re on the other side.
The drummer, Mario Duplantier, sneaks on stage in the darkness and heralds the beginning of this rite with kicks and outbursts of blinding light. The rest of the band enters the stage in a sovereign manner, open their set with ‘Only Pain’ and it is as if all the irritating little things that are gnawing on your inside combust into dust. The explosions of smoke jets and god-damn confetti were a fitting accompaniment to the sentiments Gojira provoked. All the energy that is suppressed by the chains of intrinsic and extrinsic expectations, all the resulting frustration that has congregated blasts out and diffuses into space.
Gojira do not hold back. Only minutes into the set, the band were drenched with sweat and were ripping their hearts out of their chests to offer it to the audience. The progressive metal outfit are masters of play with moods, at will they had the audience compressed to the top of their fingernail just to release them by their excellent command of dynamics that galvanise the heartache, the anguish, the ecstasy and confusion of being. The frequencies Gojira summoned crawled up your spine with gentle fingers and pushed your body into different dimensions. The gates are open. The listeners receive and release, it is an exchange of energies with the band in this enclosed venue.
Some heavy metal acts feel the need to insult the crowd in order to pour more gasoline on the fire. When Joe Duplantier asked people to put away their phones, he did this kindly by saying that all of us are addicted, but that we are here in this together and that he can feel our presence. The spoken conversation in between songs was kept to a minimum, there was no need to incite the crowd to let go as they already have.
The musicians have put loving thought into the flow of this concert. Instead of playing one song after another with a bit of shallow chatter sprinkled on top, they have blended transitions by playing interludes in between pieces and were teasing the audience by introducing songs with drum snippets or by pushing the climax of a song by looping the build-up. The variation of songs in a live setting keeps the listener active. What also makes a live concert a valuable experience, besides witnessing the musicians push their boundaries of projection and therefore make the motives behind the music even more tangible for the spectator, is a display of musicianship in the here and now. The Duplantier brothers both took a couple of minutes to inspire the crowd with solos. In each solo, the audience could witness how the command of your instrument can become the mouthpiece of your message. Most often, solos are used solely to show-off superb technicality, but in this case, the Duplantier brothers both shared moments of musical exploration with the crowd.
Gojira closed the show with ‘Oroborus‘, a song that had a different tainting in a live setting, for the reverb of the tapped guitar playing gave this song more space. Before they left the stage, each member of the band tried to look every person who showed up this evening in the eye to acknowledge their presence. If Joe Duplantier’s arms were long enough to embrace the entire mob, he would have, as he gave as many people he could reach a hug.
What differentiates Gojira as a live act from fellow metal bands is their radiant projection of love and compassion. From the moment they entered the stage, their sincerity and humility prevailed until the last exhale of this rite.
Gojira, Dublin, Ireland 11/6/17 Photo Gallery – AM Photo Star © 2017 exclusively for Overdrive.
© Overdrive, 2017