Are you prepared New York City? I ask you this because the one and only Lamb Of God were back with a brand spanking new album called “Resolution” and tonight would performing over at Irving Plaza if you could believe that bit of shocking information. I had to admit that I was shocked when I learned that this incredible venue was going to be playing host to such a band because let’s face it, Lamb Of God has sold out the Roseland Ballroom a few times over the past few years and you can fit about seven Irving Plazas in that space. The exciting show sold out almost immediately after it went on sale and the bands tour was going to bring along Too Late The Hero and The Acacia Strain as support for the run. I made sure to arrive nice and early to see how the whole show played out and here is what you missed if you were unable to attend.
Too Late The Hero: Tonight was the first time I had heard of this opening band Too Late The Hero and to be brutally honest about their sound I would define them as a pretty standard Melodic Metalcore band. It first struck me strange to find such a mystery group on a killer slot like this but then I learned how they were signed to LoG drummer Chris Adler’s label ReThink Records so it made total sense since he only stood to gain a little extra attention for the new label. The band appeared young and had a good energy to them but most of the audience was restless from the moment they got into the venue and only wanted to see Lamb Of God. I did hear some chants of Bieber being directed at the singer based on his sporting a similar hairstyle and while it did make me chuckle a little, let’s give anyone up on stage some respect for giving us their all. Some of the tunes struck me as interesting while others I felt that I had heard 100 times. Let’s see what comes of them. Should I obtain a copy of the release I will give it my objective thoughts for your benefit. Now it was time to really get this party started with The Acacia Strain.
Acacia Strain: Even though I generally like what the band is all about in terms of their overall intensity, I had only ever seen The Acacia Strain on one occasion before this. Let’s face it, sometimes it’s impossible to see every band at every time around the region. As the technicians prepared the stage setup for the band I was listening to the fans who while packed in like sardines, were slightly concerned about the setting up of platforms on the stage. I guess they worried that the bands hulking singer Vincent Bennett was going to hurl himself onto their number. He wouldn’t of course but during the frenetic set would bathe the fans at the front of the barricade with periodic streams of water which he was consuming. Yeah I got some of it too but oh well; such is life in the trenches of a Metal show. The band was psyched as all get out to be involved with this tour and Bennett stressed this time and time again as their set progressed. It would not be a long one and only around eight songs. Most of the material we would get from them this evening would originate from 2010’s “Wormwood” and 2008’s “Continent”. It seemed as though they were going over a lot better than the opening act but I expected this since they were a whole lot heavier and on a very similar driving path when it came to song execution. Of course the folks in the front who were now soaked couldn’t wait for them to finish but they were a different story altogether. I did admit that I felt bad for them but the front does come with its own unique issues from time to time. Now without any further adieu, the one and only Lamb Of God was going to run through us like a sharpened knife through a fish.
Lamb Of God: The excitement in the venue when LoG was almost on the stage was a physical and swelling thing. You could literally feel it in the air around you if you could find a clear space to touch the air (yes it was that crowded). I admit that I originally thought that the Whitesnake show in 2011 was a tight fit, but this was an entirely different animal. It’s also a VERY different crowd and a volatile one as well. Earlier in the day the band had assembled at the nearby Best Buy store to sign copies of their new CD “Resolution” and a friend who went said how the band was super friendly to those who came out to meet them and how their excitement about being in NYC once again was high on their list of coolness. They would open with a new track called “Desolation” and it would lead into the currently receiving heavy rotation “Ghost Walking”. It was insanity from the moment that the first note was played and the bodies were flying up into the air to surf across the arms and heads of the fans below them. Fortunately the security personnel was catching everyone who made it to the barrier and it was clear that no one was really getting hurt by doing this. Sometimes there are injuries in this practice but I didn’t see anything from my vantage point. Singer Randy Blythe was now sporting a head of dreads and he spoke to the fans often this evening. One of the first tales he recanted was how they had opened up for a band called Metallica and played the biggest places around. Despite that being awesome he maintained how he loved the clubs like this where you could easily see and feel the energy from the fans around the stage.
The set list was well thought out and pretty much featured everything that the fans would possibly want from the band. They did pay some attention to the new album but would not disregard any of their signature tunes and fan favorites at all. I’m a later era fan and think that I came in with “Ashes Of The Wake” which is still a decent amount of time to be following them and I had to say that they were playing everything that I wanted to hear this evening. The playing was top notch and crunched from beginning to end with the dual guitar madness of Willie Adler and Mark Morton while perched up higher above the stage on a very involved looking drum kit was Chris Adler who impresses me time and time again with his overall technique. Fans who might know a little bit more about drums than some others will agree that he has a very interesting style that is pretty much his own. Blythe told the crowd that the new albums drums and vocals were recorded right here in Queens and he sent a shout out to the producer who lives here and put them up for the time that they were doing it. He also inquired as to the audience’s interest in the upcoming Super Bowl and wondered if there was a strong support of the NY Giants in the venue. This led to shouts of “Let’s Go Giants” and “Eli Manning” before they got tired of this and wanted to hear more Metal. Randy laughed and chided us a little by saying they really didn’t care who won as they were Redskins fans anyway. There did not appear to be a single New England Patriots fan in the venue which I did find a little surprising.
The encores began after “Laid To Rest” and the band didn’t waste any time getting back onto the stage. From here it was a few expected tunes from their most recent releases such as “In Your Words” and “Redneck” but it would be the closing “Black Label” that would send the weaker fans running for cover while the more professional ones laid waste to each other like warriors out of “Game Of Thrones”. Experiencing the “Wall Of Death” in a place like Irving Plaza can be an emotionally scarring event for those who are not ready for it. I just stuck the walls like a Metal version of Spider-Man while the melee ensued. After it ended I don’t think anyone was left with a sense of disappointment or wondering why this or that song had not been played. In total there were sixteen songs in the set and literally something for everyone. January was nearing its close and I had to say that it was clear that the Metal year was under way in the most amazing of fashions. Be sure to check out the band’s new album when you get a chance and do try to experience them in concert if you have never done so before. It’s an exhilarating experience without a doubt.
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Official Web Site: www.lamb-of-god.com
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/theacaciastrain
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