Finnish melodic death-metal band Children of Bodom made its first South Florida appearance Sunday headlining the "Ugly World Tour." Virtuosic guitarist and singer Alexi Laiho and his horde of shredding shredders brought with them a taste of the catchier side of European metal and, amid the scent of what one could only describe as a giant Spencer's Gift store, played a blistering set of songs spanning their career. Opening the show was German tech-metal outfit Obscura, Greek band Septic Flesh, and Canadian Devin Townsend's current band, Devin Townsend Project.
introduction and your standard set of stage flanking logo'd banners.
The set was forgettable at best, and I'm convinced a large portion of
what was heard by the audience was a backing track. Singer/bass player
Spiros Antoniou neglected to pretend to play his bass in a convincing
manner much of the time he was onstage, preferring to pose
and solicit martial chants of "EIN!" from the audience, over, and
over... and over again. Easily six times. Turning a
blind eye to the karaoke bit would've been easier had the music been better, but the
truth of the matter is that it was repetitious and bland and lacked any
real sonic definition. The programmed backing track of an angelic
chorus and sampled "Lil' Jon" keyboards that played through every song
didn't really win them any additional points, as it just added to the
evidence of their being a metal Milli Vanilli. This band should consider
taking a page from the Greek government's playbook and borrow some
talent from the German band that played before them. That said, plenty
of people in the audience were more than a little stoked on their
performance, and I expect we'll hear from a few of them in the comments
Vai band lead singer/Strapping Young Lad figurehead/ginger Devin
Townsend and his current project, Devin Townsend Project, which is
essentially what every musical endeavor of his has been since his
setting out on his own in the late '90s. Once the inspiration for the
drummer of Dethklok's hair, Townsend has now shaved his head and was
sporting a gray silk suit à la the Butabi Brothers of SNL fame. With
his war cry of "I smell nerds in the audience!" and
his proclamation that his band were, in fact, the biggest nerds around,
Townsend launched into a set of hermaphroditic pseudoprogressive,
kinda-sorta heavy, uhhh... metal? Alternating between operatic singing
and screaming, the current Townsend band sounds a little like Styx, had it decided to play seven-string guitars, at the circus. Again, a large
number of people in attendance were very excited to see them, and he had
them in the palm of his hand for the duration of their set, regardless
of what a far cry from Strapping Young Lad this may be.
after a less-than-professional and lengthy onstage sound check,
Children of Bodom took the stage at 10 p.m. The tattered gray flags that
waft suspended from the ceiling are undoubtedly victims of the
bands signature reaper, which is depicted in a massive backdrop. As an
intro blasts through the speakers, it is drowned out by the audiences
chant of "BODOM! BODOM!" and finally, COB make their way out one at a
time. Alexi Laiho received a massive fanfare upon his, the last, arrival
to the stage. What had been Fort Lauderdale a few minutes ago became Air
Drum City within seconds on the Finnish band's entrance and its
kicking off "Not My Funeral," the first track off of its most recent
Unfortunately, it took the band several songs to sort
out the mix. Meanwhile, the guys stalked the stage, each member
the archetype of heavy-metal theatrics. Alexi expels a cloud of water
toward the flags above as they kick off the next song. The guitars are
finally a bit louder, and during the solo break in the second number,
Alexi and rhythm guitarist Roope Latvala begin to stretch out a bit. The
six-string prowess Liaho demonstrates is astonishing, the sort of
athletic playing that would impress anyone regardless of their
understanding of music, and what's more impressive is that he can do it
all while singing. Keyboardist Janne Wirman's
playing reminds me of every videogame "boss" level I've ever heard and
would be comical if it weren't so impressive. Kids crowd-surfed as the
recessed center area of Revolution churned with
movement. Older tracks were the best-received, with "In Your Face"
from 2005's Are You Dead Yet? upping the rowdy mood for the rest of
to be a loud experience; you're supposed to go home with a touch of
tinnitis and a sore neck, but for some reason, this show lacked the
volume you'd expect from a big budget metal show. One should not be able to hear crowd chatter at a show like this, and it has become more and more apparent that live
music is being neutered. The crowd seemed content to settle for backing-tracked, Auto-Tuned bullshit in the name of consistency, and I, for one,
cannot accept it, and neither should you.
in a Bathory shirt -- extra points for its faded ink and missing sleeves --
and the gentlemen in the Vital Remains shirt. Kudos; you get a free
copy of New Times.
metal fans, I'm a tough sell, unless, of course, it's one of the bands I
really love, in which case, your opinion is totally wrong for the
following ten reasons, and their first EP was revolutionary.
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