Meshuggah @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (2/19/2009)

Yeah so Meshuggah was here when Ministry did their “final tour” but the set was so damned short that it was almost pointless to go if you attended purely to see them.  That made a full on headlining gig with the legendary Cynic some good Metal medicine for the bands loyal followers.  Toss in The Faceless as well and you have a great night of music without question.  We were on point for this show and if you scroll on down below you will be taken to the full article.

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Artist: Meshuggah
Venue: The Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Cynic, The Faceless
Date: 2/19/2009
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

In some sense it has been awhile since we have had a proper visit from the mighty Meshuggah because even though the band opened up for Ministry on the bands “C-U-La-Tour”, they had been relegated to an incredible short set that left a lot of their fans wanting more. That’s of course assuming they were even able to secure tickets to the events which sold out rather quickly based on the hoopla surrounding Ministry’s last go round. One could not blame the Meshuggah fans for wanting their band to do a proper tour based on the popularity and acclaim that they were getting for their latest release on Nuclear Blast Records – the stunning “Obzen”. It was an album that continued to show why Meshuggah is as important as they continue to be for the modern Metal movement and proved that even after some six albums and a number of EP’s that they had not lost an ounce of their creative edge and not only continue to surprise the listener, but also continue to garner the respect of the bands that formed after hearing them. The show would take place at The Fillmore NY where I witnessed a dreadfully short set by the band when they opened for Ministry and that night the band played in almost complete darkness and for maybe thirty minutes.

All I knew was that as soon as I was into the show, it was over and the band was bidding us goodnight. Ministry followed with what seemed to be an endless set and while this was within their right, I would have sacrificed the first band on entirely just to have Meshuggah do a couple of more songs. The show came later in a week that began with Soilwork at the nearby Highline Ballroom and that was also a good one that found a great response but as I walked up to the venue on Irving Place I was amazed at the utter chaos that was brewing outside. This was a Thursday show and had sold out long in advance based on the Swedish juggernauts bringing along Cynic and The Faceless and people were begging for tickets at every corner and none where to be found. I did enjoy the fact that the scalpers didn’t seem to have tickets for the show either as they always look to rip the fans off when it is as crazy as this but sadly the amount of folks left waiting outside made me think that the gig should have been held at a slightly larger room – perhaps the Nokia Theatre in Times Square. The Faceless were already on by the time I got inside so I rushed upstairs in the hopes to not miss anything more.

The Faceless: I really enjoyed what they had done for the Summer Slaughter show back in June of 2008 and I was looking forward to seeing them do it again tonight. Of course the timing was off and the delays in getting inside for the show this evening found me missing all but three songs from their set. Yet despite this fact, the band seemed to go over well and it was clear to me that new fans were made tonight. The Faceless appear to be made up of very young, or very young looking guys and their technical acumen on their instruments is outstanding. Bigger things await these Sumerian Records recording artists and I definitely want to catch them again sometime in the future. Cynic was up next.

Cynic: It has been a dreadfully long time since Cynic toured and while this was a Meshuggah show, it was very apparent to me that a healthy number of people were here to see the shows direct support act Cynic. One only needs to refer to their influential history or hear their latest CD “Traced In Air” to understand why. I never caught them when they were originally active so I was rather excited about their being on this tour. It was a definite difference from the opening band’s material and showed a lot more of a Progressive side which I rather like. I only have their second album, the aforementioned “Traced In Air” and was happy to find that they would do about six songs from it this evening. They played in a very dimly lit setting and I guess this was used to enhance the mood and upgrade the “heady” vibe that they were putting out. Clearly the fans inside the Fillmore this evening were getting their money’s worth. ns inside The Fillmore NY this evening were totally getting their money’s worth. The band is fronted by guitarist/vocalist Paul Masvidal and he is a great player who operates a guitar synthesizer during the show as well and uses a vocoder on his voice from time to time. This adds a really atmospheric feel to the songs that are delivered with excellence by Sein Reinert, Sean Malone and Tymon Kruidenier. As I watched them I realized that they would be an excellent addition to a Progressive Nation tour under the command of Dream Theater or might even please the tough to keep attention fans of Rush if used as an opener on one of their future tours. I was really pleased by the reaction they were getting because after all they did only put out two albums and one of them was very recent. Let’s hope that they not only come around again soon but also that the reunion sticks now that it is underway and being met with approval. Now it was time for Meshuggah and the place was on edge.

Meshuggah: The dismay about the short set for those who were fortunate enough to see Meshuggah with the Ministry tour was over as the mighty ones were on the stage and in our faces once again. Looking back on the gig that was held last May, the band didn’t really even need to open up for anyone based on the response that “obZen” was getting, but they felt that the Ministry tour was a good idea and who can argue with the chance to open up for such a legendary name. This evening the news was that Meshuggah would be filming the show for a future DVD release and that was going to be a guarantee of the band pulling out all the stops in terms of their musical delivery. As someone who is a bit of a latecomer to the bands sound, I have always liked what I heard from their very first releases and was sad that it would take me until 2005 to finally catch them in concert when they would decimate the B.B. King Blues Club venue with a number of other excellent acts. Tonight they would start their set by delivering three tunes from the new CD and to be brutally honest this is a welcome return to their roots. Yes, Meshuggah is a band that is all about experimentation and pushing their own envelope but the one track CD of “Catch 33” did not do it for some people and they hungered for the bands influential beginnings to be looked back into once again. The great thing was that Meshuggah would look back and look forward at the same time and if I don’t make sense here then you just need to listen to the new CD against the liked of “Destroy Erase Improve” to understand what I mean.

Front man Jens Kidman performed like a man possessed this evening and at times one felt as though his very soul was escaping from his body as he moved in time with the incredible music that was being delivered by the guys. Drummer Haake was all about his polyrhythmic playing this evening and based on the size of his drums one could not easily observe just what he is doing back there and can only feel that each part of his body is doing something different from another in order to give these songs some incredible drumming. Fans of Meshuggah know full well the impact that guitarist Fredrek Thordendal has on the material and he stuns me with every song based on how much different he plays against the super heavy groove that is being laid down. It’s been said that he is more like a Fusion giant ala Alan Holdsworth than a Metal guitar player and yet he manages to make it all work out to the bands advantage. Young up and coming guitar slingers need to pay attention to what he is doing on the albums and on the stage and should realize that mastering Guitar Hero or Rock Band will not help you attain the heights of a player like this as much as dedicated practice will. The set featured five numbers from the new album but they surprised many by omitting the title track and I was not sure why this was the case but I would not argue since it allowed for more material to be included from “DEI” and “Chaosphere”. The room found the bodies flying everywhere and a few times there were some mosh pits which you know had to energize the band just a little bit more when they caught sight of them. It’s safe to assume that this DVD release will be something worth watching when it finally comes out.

“Whew” was all that I could muster at the end of the night and I was glad to be spent in terms of energy based on my need to have a kick ass Metal show happening and to be a part of. Granted last week was Soilwork and Darkane which was an outstanding night that delivered both Swallow The Sun and Warbringer as well, but there is just something so primal about the way Meshuggah does their thing that makes any other show attended prior to theirs just a preparation. Fans of intensely directed technical brutality should bear witness to the way Meshuggah does things and pick up their newest CD. It should also be known that Nuclear Blast Records had re-issued the bands back catalog as remasters that include a number of cool bonus tracks. Let’s hope that this DVD comes out soon because this was a great show that more people need to see.

Cynic Set List:

1. Nunc Fluens
2. The Space For This
3. Veil of Maya
4. I’m But a Wave to…
5. Evolutionary Sleeper
6. Adam’s Murmur
7. King of Those Who Know
8. How Could I?
9. Integral Birth

Meshuggah Set list:

1. Pravus
2. Bleed
3. Electric Red
4. New Millennium Cyanide Christ
5. Stengah
6. The Mouth Licking What You’ve Bled
7. Lethargica
8. Combustion
9. Suffer
10. Sane
11. Humiliative
12. Rational Gaze
13. Straws Pulled at Random
14. Future Breed Machine

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One thought on “Meshuggah @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (2/19/2009)”

  1. Ken-

    Great review! The show was fantastic and the energy level was great. I’m so glad that Meshuggah decided to play “New Millenium Cyanide Christ,” as it’s one of my all-time favorite Meshuggah tracks. I was fairly surprised that they didn’t throw their new album’s title track somewhere in the set lineup, but at least they played “Bleed,” which is an equally intense and complex tune.

    Awesome job covering one of the best shows I’ve seen in awhile! 🙂

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