A great many things come and go in the course of eleven years. Time, gravity, and death all tend to take their pieces of the cake when you least expect it. The true test of time is being able to look back at all the stagnates in your life and apply the ol’ grumpy, “I’ve known whatever the fuck this is for however the fuck long I’ve known it.” I count myself lucky sometimes that music is the entity that has stayed the course with me. With that ends my old man ramblings and begins my grumpy, vulgar man ramblings about this past week’s In Flames and HELLYEAH concert here in Montreal at the Metropolis. Lace up your offended boots, boys and girls, and let’s find out if it was eleven years well spent.
The Night opened up with another stagnant in my life; my complete and utter incapability to catch a show on time. A band called Source from Boulder, CO kicked the crowd in the teeth right out of the gate. Well, some of the crowd? Being the asshole that didn’t catch their set, I can’t say for sure what their live performance brought to the table, but I can say that I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about their smooth and progressive recordings, which are really ambient but also funky à la Tool (only really dumbed down). I can only say that, depending on your enjoyment of the sound of music vs the look of music, you may or may not have dug this set. Check ’em out for yourself, and don’t waste my time telling me what you think.
The next act still gives me a wee bit of a shudder to think of, but alas, I have a job to do. Lancaster, PA has released some wicked acts, and From Ashes to New has to be the first one I can honestly say that I could not stand. I can completely understand why they are where they are, because let’s be honest – they appease a very simple and straightforward demographic (ie. angsty radio listeners). The best way I can describe the sound of FATN is the same way I describe most acts, via a violent image of an orgy that you will need therapy to remedy from your mind. Picture what would happen if Asking Alexandria and Linkin Park double ass-fucked Billy Talent. The butt baby born of this terrible act of treason would be what a lot of this band embodies. The only redeeming quality I could find here is that they do share some resemblance to Hollywood Undead. (Is that a good thing? I’ll let you decide.) Is there some form of catchy musicianship to their tunes? You could probably say that. Do their tunes sound painfully over angsty and heavily influenced? You bet your ass they do. That, and the two singer thing never really did it for me, especially when the job can be done by one of them.
The mighty yeehaw of HELLYEAH then filled the room, which under normal circumstances would be cause for celebration. The idea of a love child between Mudvayne and Pantera’s Vinnie Paul (as well as a variety of other odd acts) was at first a fantastic display of southern fuckery. The first two records showed a ton of spunk and groove. Then as member changes ebbed and flowed, I find that the band lost its spark, not only on recording but even more so live. Singer Chad Gray still has his fire but douses it too much between tracks with INCREDIBLY long winded speeches about sweet fuck all. We all know metal is an awesome community Chad, that’s why we’re all stuffed into that room together, NOT to listen to you preach about it for the millionth time. The time taken with these repetitive and elongated speeches could have easily provided us with some much needed older work in their set list. Sure, they played “War in Me” (albeit sloppily) and even ended with “Hell Yeah,” but the band’s real heyday was in its early work. Vinnie definitely still has whatever it is you wanna call what he has, but the rest of the band (namely the replacement for guitarist Greg Tribbet) definitely doesn’t bring the same fire from days of old. Disagree with me? Good for you.
Last but far from least, and most definitely the shining fucking savior of the evening, Gothenburg, Sweden’s sweetest of her baby boys, In Flames. They hit the skies, cranking out a tune most never thought they would get to hear live, “Bullet Ride” off the iconic record Clayman. This set might not have been chock-full of golden oldies like this piece, but I’ll be fucked if anybody can tell me they skipped a beat throughout any tune in this set, new or old. Most impressively (in my painfully biased opinion) was singer Anders Friden’s use of his robust, well-aged, and seldom heard low range at various points throughout the evening. Each tune could have gone on recording for live documentation and I can guarantee you that not a complaint would be heard. The first In Flames concert I ever caught was in 2006 in this very same room. Ten years has gone by and I have completely lost count of how many times I’ve caught these cats, but I can still tell you this: “Cloud Connected” still gets me hard, any song off any record from Come Clarity and back will always be a treat, and I STILL get pissed every time they don’t play “My Sweet Shadow.” In Flames has been a phenomenal presence in my time as a performance addict, and this particular performance was no different. If that is the only thing that stays stagnant in my life, then a complaint shalt not be uttered from my grumpy bitch tongue.
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Kate Erickson