In Flames @ Terminal 5 (12/7/2008)

Logo - In Flames

Artist: In Flames
Venue: Terminal 5 (New York, NY)
Opener: Gojira, 36 Crazyfists
Date: 12/7/2008
Label: Koch Entertainment

While we all know that a headlining appearance of In Flames is always a good thing, I had to admit that the main reason I was interested in this particular show was based on it featuring both All That Remains and Gojira – two bands that I really enjoy in concert as well but never seem to catch often enough for a decently timed set. Sadly as the date approached, All That Remains would pull off the tour based on singer Labonte’s health issues and that left the gigs at the now bumped up to direct support Gojira and openers 36 Crazyfists. The show was being held in New York’s Terminal 5 which was still on the new side and had hosted a great number of Metal and Hard Rock shows. It was my first time to visit the place so I was rather excited about that as well. The spacious venue is located on 56th Street off of 11th Avenue and that’s a pretty healthy trek if you are not driving. I had to say that I am never against a decent walk and this place is closest to the 8th Avenue line at Columbus Circle, but this evening had to be one of the coldest and windiest nights that the winter had offered up so far and that made getting into the venue something that be done quickly and without side stops. Here is how the killer show went down for those who did not attend, and based on the venue appearing packed I am not sure exactly who that means in the NYC Metal Community. Alaska’s 36 Crazyfists were up first.

36 Crazyfists: I’m pretty much the casual fan of the guys in 36 Crazyfists and while I enjoy what they do on the stage feel that they are one of those bands that I only need to see maybe once a year at best, or twice. They are currently signed to Ferret music and were celebrating the not too long ago released “The Tide And Its Takers” which continues the bands dominance over the Metalcore genre based on the energy of the talent involved and the overall solid musicianship. Fronted by Brock Lindow, the band delivered what seemed to be a very short set but it was one that included some of their newest tunes like “The All Night Lights” and “We Gave It Hell”. During the show I thought I was seeing things but in fact was not as the drummer occasionally leaned to his side and puked into a bucket that was ready for him. Yes, it was rather disgusting to observe, but one had to give him credit for being able to play despite apparent illness. The 36 Crazyfists are a good band in concert and always keep those who are interested in them entertained. Tonight I felt that they were going over in a half and half sense. Some loved them and some were not too happy and showing this viewpoint to the band. I never like that and always say that if you don’t like what you are seeing, just deal with it for a few minutes, it will be over before you know it and now it was time for Gojira to crush.

Gojira: I’m a bit of a latecomer in terms of the brutally heavy crushing Metal of Gojira. I first got into them with their Prosthetic Records debut “From Mars To Sirius” which came out in 2005 and the band has been around since 1996. Despite this, I do what I can to support singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier and his Amis as they deliver some serious groove laden Metal. The bands newest release is called “The Way Of All Flesh” and it’s their fourth album. Tonight the set would feature what appeared to be material from each of the last two recordings and since both releases work so well together this was proving to be an insanely killer set. Needless to say they were doing great and going over extremely well with the audience who had a nice circle pit going in a couple of sections of the place. There are a few floors to the Terminal 5 venue, and if you looked up all you could see were patrons banging their heads in approval of what we being thrown down by the band. Gojira sounds amazing live and the riffs really go through you and if you are seeking the kind of Metal with a little more depth to its overall groove then they are the band for you to look more into. While In Flames was the headliner this evening, it was clear that Gojira impressed everyone. The set was longer than the last few times I had caught them but I had to say that it was not as long as I expected. Notable omissions were “Ocean Planet” which became one of my own very favorites and since I had not yet fully absorbed the new release properly, I had to say the delivery of its content this evening made me be sure to do that as soon as I got home. Let’s hope for a headlining tour for this band as they surely deserve it based on how solid their musicianship is and how much the people like them. If they do it, I know that I will plan on being there. If you are not yet listening to Gojira, make up for lost time and check out those two referenced albums for a quick catch up. Now it was time for In Flames to take the stage.

In Flames: It was not too long ago that a full set of music from In Flames was enjoyed so I was not really planning on being here until I had heard that both All That Remains and Gojira were a part of the plan. Gojira really crushed everyone in the venue tonight and seemed to make people forget that we lost a band this evening and without insulting the Gothenburg greats, In Flames sure had to work hard to impress the audience more than their direct support did. As expected their continued support of their latest album “A Sense Of Purpose” would find them paying heavy attention to it, along with the previous release of “Come Clarity” and that aspect doesn’t seem to sit too well with the legacy fans who feel that the band has changed far too much from their initial style. I can see where they are coming from but if they kept the sound the exact same vibe on every recording then the older and respected stuff would not be as such and we also have to remember that they need to sell the new recording to guarantee that tours like this can continue to entertain us. They would open with a new number “I’m The Highway” and what’s great to watch with In Flames is the sense of “in your face” that one gets care of lead singer Anders Friden. He was playing to all parts of the room tonight and didn’t only focus his attention on those who he could easily see from his vantage point. I like when the bands do that because it gets remembered by the fans who felt that they were not ignored. Anders would talk to the crowd periodically during the set and while it was largely focused on the later year’s material there were older tunes like “Pinball Map”. I don’t dislike the new recording at all, but do see where some fans are having a problem with it. Oh well, you cannot impress everyone with each and every recording you do, and at least these guys are touring their asses off and making sure to entertain the Metal community.

They would present a medley of tunes and then spend the remainder of the show playing between older tunes and “Come Clarity” numbers. I really loved that particular release and felt it was a recording that showed the band capable of moving into new realms in music and keeping it interesting. The final number of the night would be the most prominent tune from that album “Take This Life”. All in all a very good show when it came down to it, and I really don’t think people left all that disappointed – of course there is always one in the bunch no matter who is playing. My hope is that In Flames gets back into the studio and changes things up again and then returns to us. I would like to see them blending the new ideas into a little more of the legacy logic and think this will find some extraordinary results.

For my first time at the Terminal 5 venue, I did have to say that I was a little puzzled in how it was laid out and based on the packed in crowd was not enjoying it all that much. I secured some space where I could see and document the proceedings but it was too hot and too crowded and everyone was pushing against one another. With me being so far back I didn’t expect this so I think that I need to come back here again and wander around a little bit. Now it was back out into the brutal cold and its wind as the long trek to the trains began. The musical year was ending soon for me as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mudvayne shows were the next items on the to-do list. I could hardly wait.

Gojira Set List:
1. Intro
2. Oroborus
3. Clone
4. Backbone
5. The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe
6. Flying Whales
7. Intro
8. Toxic Garbage Island
9. Vacuity
10. From Mars To Sirius

In Flames Set List:
1. I’m the Highway
2. Vanishing Light
3. The Mirror’s Truth
4. The Hive
5. Satellites & Astronaut
6. System
7. Alias
8. Erasure
9. Pinball Map
10. Delight & Angers
11. Disconnected
12. Cloud Connected
13. Medley
14. Come Clarity
15. Sleepless Again
16. Quiet Place
17. Trigger
18. Take This Life

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