GIG REVIEW: Meshuggah & Thy Art Is Murder Live at The Tivoli, Brisbane
What happens when you put two massively technical bands with differing fan bases on for a show together? You get the chaos that was Thy Art Is Murder and Meshuggah obliterating a Brisbane crowd at The Tivoli.
Opening the night were (essentially) local Deathcore unit Thy Art Is Murder who took to the stage and then proceeded to decimate the crowd straight up with their performance. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not the biggest Deathcore fan, and with the exception of seeing Thy Art as a support for Parkway Drive in 2015, their ill-fated Soundwave show where the fans joined them on stage, and probably one more show during their Hate Across Australia tour in 2013 I didn’t have much of a frame of reference for their performances. But what I will say is this – CJ McMahon is back and is in the best form he has ever been. No longer struggling on stage, CJ was able to sing, mosh surf and engage with the audience at a level he hadn’t been able to do so any of the other shows I had seen the band play. Musically you could tell that these guys have been working hard at refining their live work, because everything sounded great. The dissonant guitar work and thundering bass were certainly key highlights (even though the guitars seemed a little low in the mix), but that was largely put to the background as it seemed to be a two horse race between CJ and the almost inhuman drumming of Lee Stanton for who got the most fan attention. With all of this being said, band’s entire set was an explosive and interactive affair that left the crowd with very little energy left at the end of it – which isn’t necessarily a good thing for the fans when the Swedish masters were soon to follow.
Not to be outdone by the homegrown heroes, Meshuggah followed with what can only be described as a remarkable set. Wasting no time with niceties, the band emerged from the darkness and dove straight into Clockworks.
Before I go into the nuances of the bands performance, a special shout out goes to their lighting guy. For someone to effectively illuminate any Meshuggah songs is a feat in itself, but to have half the crowd watching rainbow strobes over a few songs; well he really encapsulated the final pieces of the bands performance. He might not be an ‘official’ member of the band, but anyone that watched the accompanying light show for this set knows he was just as important a piece as any of the members themselves.
Now that’s out of the way, Meshuggah has never been a band that never needed to do much on stage to reach their maximum potential and if you have seen Meshuggah live before you probably know what to expect, and while this show offered little deviation from the band’s previous tours here, the atmosphere felt greater than before and was characterized best by the fact that crowd surfers littered every single song.
The band themselves have been around for awhile now but Jens Kidman still managed to cuts an imposing figure live with his stage presence and guttural barks, but it is in the guitar work of Fredrik Thordendal and the drumming of Tomas Haake that the band’s performance really shines.
There are many words that could be used to describe the band’s performance as a whole, but the performance was exemplary off the back of these two musicians. Blast thundering from the back of the stage provided the perfect platform for the palm muted dissonant guitar work that give Meshuggah their distinct sound. Throw in the occasional solo that had people flailing their fingers in their air like they were tickling something invisible and you have the general idea of the progression of the night’s proceedings.
Charging through their set the band halted only once 11 songs in to allow Jens to talk to the crowd. With their 14 song setlist hitting a fairly even mix covering six of the band’s eight albums gave newer and older fans things to be excited, about while still focusing on the band’s latest release ‘The Violent Sleep of Reason’.
Closing out with “Future Breed Machine” ensures that the crowd is left with nothing in their tanks as everyone loses their shit one final time before the band takes their leave and departs the stage.
Meshuggah don’t come down this way very often, but each time they have they get better and better. If it takes another few years for them to come out and put on show of this pedigree then I’m content in waiting, because shows of this standard don’t come very often, but they are sure as hell worth the wait.
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