After a month on the road in North America, The Magma Tour finally rolled through Toronto, bringing Tesseract and Gojira to Rebel (which will always be The Sound Academy to me). Let me just warn you now, if you’ll be seeing Gojira live in the future, bring earplugs.
Tesseract was phenomenal as usual, delivering an even better performance than the last time I saw them. As talented as they all are, frontman Dan Tompkins and bassist Amos Williams were particularly impressive, although Tompkins did chose to sing some of the lower harmonies (presumably and understandably, in order to save his voice), mostly for the closer, “Nocturne”. Other songs that made appearances that night were “Dystopia”, “Survival”, “Of Matter” parts one and two, and “Concealing Fate” parts two and three. The red and white lighting could have been a bit less opaque, since personally, I like to actually see the band play when I go to a concert, but the sound was great and that’s the important thing.
With only the two bands on the bill, there was plenty of time for a lengthy set list, and Gojira took full advantage of that. While I wish that the time had been divided more evenly between the two acts, the headliners certainly succeeded in giving the crowd exactly what they wanted. Opening with an erupting volcano projected on a large screen, they didn’t even have to play a single note to get the fans into an ecstatic state. While I saw Gojira open for Mastodon a couple of years ago, this time around was far more intense. Joe Duplantier’s throaty harsh vocals, his and Christian Andreu’s chugging guitars, Jean-Michel Labadie flying around with his bass, and of course, the insanity that is Mario Duplantier on drums, turned a cold and rainy night into a sweltering pit of jean jackets and elation. I mean, the younger Duplantier brother alone could fascinate an audience with his showmanship and endurance, maintaining a clean and fierce pace for over an hour – which is significant when you’re doing it every night.
The set list was comprised of more than half of the latest album, ‘Magma’, including singles “Silvera” and “Stranded”. Although I would’ve liked to have heard material from ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’, I happily settled for tracks such as “Flying Whales”, “Vacuity”, and “The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe”. There was also a drum solo, complete with a fiery background on the screen, which gave way to one of the many newer tracks, “The Shooting Star”.
Leaving the venue that night, it was hard to find someone who was even mildly disappointed in either Tesseract or Gojira’s performance, and as they took their bows, every member of Gojira claimed that it was by far the best gig of the tour. The occasional vertical explosion of smoke was impressive, but Duplantier’s vocals could have been a bit crisper in the mix. Overall, it was a good show, and everyone went home satisfied.