Gojira / Alien Weaponry / Employed to Serve @ O2 Academy Glasgow

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Gojira / Alien Weaponry / Employed to Serve

O2 Academy Glasgow

Wednesday 15th February 2023
Review & Photography by Gavin Lowrey

The covid pandemic introduced us to many things, hoarding toilet paper, not recognising your kids when they’re wearing face masks, and also the kicker of the lot, the gig postponement.

Gojira’s European trek, originally due in 2021 to support their Fortitude album rolled into the UK 2 years later than originally planned and bringing Alien Weaponry and Employed to serve in tow

In these times of financial uncertainly , increasing costs for everything, and lets be honest, downright opportunism from venues and promoters, I am utterly shocked to see the base price of a T shirt at the merch stand this evening in Glasgow at £40. That’s right……FORTY POUNDS, and for a hoodie…..£80…… yes, EIGHTY POUNDS.

You get the feeling that the crowds on this tour are having the mickey taken out of them, big time.

Be it venues taking a bigger cut, bigger taxes due to Brexit, or sheer greed, something is going to have to give.

It was reasoned in the media that Gojira’s shirts were made from certified sustainable cotton in line with the band’s values, so the prices were higher. In reality, the shirts were exactly the same as the ones on sale at Hellfest in June 2022 at €30, so that’s £26.50, so someone’s at it plain and simple!

I get touring costs are up, but normally, when you walk into a gig at the Academy in Glasgow, you struggle to get past the merch desk at the front door due to people ogling their next purchase. There was none of this tonight, only punters with a WTF look on their faces

It’s simple economics, you’ll sell more shirts if they are cheaper, so why isn’t this happening? Answers on a postcard

Rant over!

First up this evening are metal core aficionados from Woking, Employed to Serve.

I’d not heard much of them bar the casual listen, but on my first live experience, they suffered from terrible sound, massively bass heavy and as a result, the first four songs were virtually inaudible.

It’s a pity as I liked where it was going and I’d welcome the chance to see them again when the sound engineer hasn’t gone AWOL. Front woman Justine Jones’ gravel tones certainly grab your attention and the band certainly seem to be enjoying themselves during the seven song set, the highlights of which being “We Don’t Need You” and “Mark of the Grave”

One funny thing for me though was Jones asking for the crowd to go nuts…….. in the poshest English accent I’ve heard in a long time, but I guess that’s my warped sense of humour!

The second act of the night are Aoteroa’s Alien Weaponry. I’d seen them previously in Glasgow with local band Titan Breed supporting (check them out too btw) so knew what was coming when as an opener, drummer Henry de Jongdelivered a Maori Haka (a challenge) to the crowd

Maori rhythms play a big part in the set opener “Raupatu” sets the tone for their performance.

Bassist Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds, with his prominent Ta Moko tattoo on his face is a lit of a live wire, and with vocalist Lewis de Jong amped to the max, you soon forget that they are a power trio and not more in number

By the halfway point in their set, the venue is full, so that gives you some idea of the interest of the crowd, and the growing popularity of the band. The sound is way better than previous, but again suffered from a total lack of top end at some points that was a bit of a disappointment, but didn’t ruin things

Their seven song set was enjoyable and I’m sure that they gained a fair few new fans on the evening.

With the crowd salivating, Gojira hit the stage 10 minutes after their designated time slot to massive cheers

With the sound guy woken from his slumber, we have top notch sound, better than I have heard at the Academy in a long time, chalk and cheese compared to what we have heard earlier in the evening

“Born For One Thing” from their latest album “Fortitude” is the set opener and that sets the tone for the evening’s mayhem.

The atmosphere is brilliant and it shows that they are probably the hottest metal band on the planet at the moment with their stock higher at the moment than a spy plane on crack

Joe Duplantier looks like he means business as he swaggers to to the microphone to deliver his vocals, his calmness in complete contrast to the audible tsunami emanating from the stage.

With Mario Duplantier behind the drum kit, you’ve got one of the best drummers on the planet, and, in conjunction with bassist Jean-Michel Labadie, you have one hell of a rhythm section, especially when they have been playing together unchanged since 2001, and it shows

Being seven albums into their career they have some cracking material to choose from for their set, and you know how good Gojira are when you can pull out a banger like “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” as your second song.

The band have gone all out for the visuals on this tour and must have spent a fortune on CO2 given the amount pouring from the stage and being fired out of the canons, I’m not sure how this fits with their stance on global warming but it certainly looks good, even if it makes taking photos pretty difficult!

Circle pits seem to be taken to a new level at a Gojira show and this evening is no exception as one seems to follow another with little respite. I’m not sure what it is about the song, “Flying Whales” but it seems to bring out utter madness in people, maybe it’s the slow rhythmic build up in the long intro, and the anticipation for what you know is coming, but it always delivers, and tonight is no exception.

The setlist showcases the Fortitude album with 5 of the 16 song set taken from it which shows the strength of the material on the album, especially when you can leave fan favourites like “Toxic Garbage Island” out and no one really bats and eyelid.

New song “Our Time is Now” even get s an airing and the crowd lap it up as well as my particular fave “L’enfant Sauvage”.

After returning for the encore after 14 tracks, we are treated “The Way of the Flesh” and finish off with “Amazonia” that sends the the crowd home happy and satisfied after 2 hours of pleasure

I get the feeling that what we are witnessing on this tour is Gojira making their play to be the kings of metal, and at this rate, I wouldn’t bet against it.