Live: Children of Bodom at Revolution, July 10

Children of Bodom
With Septic Flesh, Obscura, and Devin Townsend Project
Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale
Sunday, July 10, 2011

Better than: Listening to it on an ipod... kinda. 

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. 

Septic Flesh began its set at 7:45, featuring a long-winded

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


Following Septic Flesh was former Steve

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

full-length release.

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

the night. 

Heavy metal is supposed

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. 

Critics Notebook 

Random detail: Bras hung from the roof of the bar, remnants from the set of Rock of Ages, which was being filmed at Revolution's facility.

Random detail 2: In my game of best band shirts on hand, the winners are a guy

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

Personal bias: Like most

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. 

Overheard: Way too many conversations during COB's set as the volume was at cover-band levels. 

Set List: 

-Not My Funeral 
-Needled 24/7
-Shovel Knockout 
-Roundtrip to Hell and Back
-In Your face
-Living Deadbeat
-Children of Decadence
-Hate Me!
-Angels Don't Kill
-Follow the Reaper


-Was It Worth It?
-Are You Dead Yet?
-Hate Crew Death Roll

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