No Fear Tour feat. Lamb of God / Children of Bodom / As I Lay Dying / God Forbid / Municipal Waste
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
UBC Thunderbird Arena
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
Kicking off the year as the first big metal tour package, the No Fear Energy Drink-sponsored juggernaut of North American metal’s biggest bands (and one Finnish group) hit Vancouver for the first night of its Canadian leg. Way the hell out at the University of British Columbia’s still-new Thunderbird Arena, fans lined up around the block and kept the peace despite the doors opening nearly a half hour later than the posted time. But once inside, it was all business as the spacious venue was bursting at the seams with hair-flying, sweat-dripping, head-banging metal, a stark contrast to the Britney Spears “circus” across town that was highlighted by the “singer” walking off stage after fifteen minutes due to “excessive smoke” (puh-leeze!).
Virginia’s retro-thrashers, Municipal Waste, got the party started and the band wasted no time in stirring up the small but energetic crowd that began to form. Still riding the success of 2007’s THE ART OF PARTYING, the band ripped through its twenty-minute set delivering their stock-in-trade of thrash anthems and party-hearty tunes. Frontman Tony Foresta is a real firecracker on stage and along with guitarist Ryan Waste, the two add plenty of power to “Sadistic Magician” and “Headbanger Face Rip,” while the sing-along to “Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up” that closes out “Bangover” from 2005’s HAZARDOUS MUTATION is just plain fun at a show.
The Thrashin’ of The Christ
Headbanger Face Rip
The surprising departure of guitarist Dallas Coyle from God Forbid just days prior to the tour was a real jawdropper but ex-Darkest Hour axe-slinger Kris Norris stepped in and did a hell of a job under the circumstances. Sure, Norris didn’t mike up so Coyle’s three-part harmonies with vocalist Byron Davis and Doc Coyle felt like something was missing but overall, the band seemed to handle the shake up well. Three of the band’s featured five songs were drawn from the new record, EARTHSBLOOD, and the fans sang along to every chorus, thrashed to every riff and moshed to every breakdown. Great band, great show.
War of Attrition
As I Lay Dying sat out the first few dates of the tour (DevilDriver and Suicidal Tendencies filled in) but flew into Vancouver the day of the show right from their homebase of San Diego. Vocalist Tim Lambesis and his wife recently adopted a 14-month old baby boy from Ethiopia and wanted to spend some time with him before heading out on the road, understandably. Despite a few miscues that come with a first night out, the band ripped through their set of favorites from the last three records much to the delight of the crowd. As I Lay Dying is always excellent live with tons of energy from all five members (proof of that can be found in the band’s new DVD, out April 14th entitled THIS IS WHO WE ARE) that fuelled the growing crowd’s intensity. Whether going full speed on “Within Destruction” or engaging the crowd with the cleanly sung choruses of “The Sound of Truth,” “Confined” and “Forever,” As I Lay Dying continue to steamroll their way towards one of the most successful artists in the metalcore genre.
The Sound of Truth
Children of Bodom always seem to do very well in Vancouver. Their previous opening slots have generated boos from the crowds when the band is done after 20-30 minutes but even with a mere 35 minutes on stage for this bill, the Finnish virtuosos managed to satisfy even their hungriest of fans. Drawing eight songs from all but their 1997 debut, SOMETHING WILD, it was a good introduction to the band’s music for those new to Children of Bodom. But for those of us who have seen this band many times over the years, the setlist is getting to be a bit predictable. Also, as technically impressive as they are, the solo duels between vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho and keyboardist Janne Warman have lost some of the sparkle they once had. It’s a bad sign when all the media on hand would rather sit in catering and finish our plates of chicken wings, carrots and roasted potatoes than rush out to catch the band hit the stage, but such was the case here.
Silent Night, Bodom Night
Hellhounds On My Trail
Living Dead Beat
Angels Don’t Kill
In Your Face
Fresh off the road opening for Metallica last fall and with the career-high WRATH debuting at #1 here in Canada and #2 in the U.S., Lamb of God’s profile is pretty high these days. So naturally, their spot as headliner on the No Fear Tour was what drew the masses and, despite an abbreviated 70-minute set due to a hard curfew (“Blacken The Cursed Sun” and “Grace” were dropped), Lamb of God slayed everything in its path. WRATH material dominated the 14-song set with “In Your Words,” the ultra-catchy “Set To Fail” and pit-pleaser “Contractor” proving the new songs have already rooted themselves in fans’ psyches but it was perennial live favorites, “Walk With Me In Hell,” “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For,” “Ruin” and “Black Label” that incited the frenzied crowd. Randy Blythe, who dedicated a blistering version of “Hourglass” to local media personality Scott Day and Abort Magazine, remains one of the most charismatic and powerful frontmen in metal today. He is able to fuel the crowd’s anticipation for the “wall of death” but also took the time to burst out during Children of Bodom’s set to wish Alexi Laiho a happy 30th birthday and guide the crowd in a 10,000-strong sing-along. For their part, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler capped off “Redneck” and “Laid To Rest” with the immediately recognizable riffs that propel the anthemic choruses to mass appeal. You can’t blame Lamb of God for plugging the new CD but it certainly left gaps where past staples like “11th Hour,” “Vigil” and “The Subtle Arts of Murder and Persuasion” once called home and are missed by older fans.
The Passing (Intro)
In Your Words
Set To Fail
Walk With Me In Hell
Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
Laid To Rest
For your modern metal dollar, the No Fear Tour packed plenty of punch. Metalcore, thrash, groove, blackened neo-classical…it was all here and Vancouver came out in droves for almost five hours of non-stop heavy metal and no one appeared to leave disappointed.
***Thanks to Jessica at Live Nation for the press pass.