When in the US and planning to take your mom out for Mother’s Day, one may not consider a metal show. But, if your mom is anything like me, it’s a great idea which I highly recommend. On this particular Mother’s Day, Baltimore was alight with the flame of “nu metal”. Nu metal/metalcore fans are awesome because they don’t have that preconceived notion that all metal must sound a certain way or it is false. As far as I’m concerned, there is no false metal. Just arrogant judgmental fucks who close themselves off from a lot of really relevant and talented musicians. But, I digress.
Starting off the festivities was Westfield Massacre out of Los Angeles, CA. These guys were put on the tour by Sevendust and recently released their self-titled debut album. As the opening band, they delivered a short set consisting of original tunes from the new record and a great cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box”. Definitely a band worth checking out.
Following pretty quickly was Like a Storm, an eclectic bunch of guys from Auckland, New Zealand. Their roots in New Zealand were on proud display with the usage of their native instrument, a didgeridoo. It looked bad ass on stage and it somehow worked within the ambiance of the songs. Their set also included a cover of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”. Once we realized what they were singing it became more enjoyable and, as with the previous band’s foray into cover tunes, it received a great crowd response.
After a brief respite, Trivium hit the stage with the animated intensity of a Tasmanian Devil. Their high energy presence was accentuated by Matt Heafy’s piercing vocals, Corey Beaulieu’s intricate guitar and backing vocals, Paulo Gregoletto’s soulful bass and newly acquired Paul Wandtke’s drums. Their setlist consisted of songs old and new. The new songs like “Built To Fall” garnered a great fan response and Matt tried quite hard to get a circle pit going. But, no one bit. It wasn’t a pit type of crowd.Trivium closed out with “Strings of Your Martyr”, or so we thought. But, after a few seconds of dimmed lights, the boys came back out for an encore of sorts to ultimately finish out with “In Flames”.
Excitement started to swell in the audience in anticipation of the headliner for the evening, Sevendust. The crowd got a little raucous when the white sheet was raised in front of the stage blocking the view. After what seemed like 37 minutes (but was probably only 10), the house lights dimmed and the amps belted out Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” until broken up by the opening chords of “Not Today”. Interestingly, they played this entire opening song with the white curtain still raised. Green lights were shining behind them so the crowd in front of the stage presumably saw the band’s shadows on the curtain. Those of us on the side who couldn’t see the shadows were appropriately confused. Either way, the curtain stayed up far too long.
That aside, Sevendust dominated the stage thanks in part to Lajon Witherspoon’s commanding stage presence and amazingly strong vocals. Morgan Rose slayed on drums and has since Day One, and he’s a hell of a nice guy. The double guitars of Clint Lowery and John Connolly and Vince Hornsby’s bass lines combined with Lajon and Morgan presented a boisterous performance, even through the acoustic version of “Denial” which simultaneously rocked and enthralled those in attendance. The stand-out of the night was “Angel’s Son”, a Sevendust classic which elicits an undeniable urge to sing along, which most of us did. Closing out with “Decay”, “Faithless” and “Thank You”, Sevendust proved, along with Trivium, that NuMetal/Metalcore/whatever, is strong, is secure, and above all, is GOOD.
Edgy and robust performances were given by all bands involved. Both Trivium and Sevendust continue to be standouts in the realm of hard rock/heavy metal and, luckily for the fans, show no signs of slowing.