Cleveland's November...In Flames!


12 Nov 2008, 5:32

Sun 9 Nov – In Flames, 36 Crazyfists, All That Remains, Gojira

Sunday evenings are normally reserved for chilling out with the Sunday paper and kids crawling into my lap, especially this time of year when the weather has a solid early winter feel and we hole up by the fireplace. But sometimes you gotta get out and say, "I'm off to a / show!"

Felt kinda weird heading downtown to meet two of my concert crew on a Sunday night, but I'd been looking forward to this show very much. In Flames are one of two bands I got to see twice this year, having seen them back in May on Gigantour. (The other being High on Fire, also on Gigantour, and opening for Opeth back in September.)

36 Crazyfists:
We got in partway through the 36 Crazyfists set. I admit I don't know this band at all. I've heard of them, but had never heard anything by them. They had a somewhat hardcore sound and kinda reminded me of Hatebreed or maybe Madball, but if I'm way off base on that comparison, don't beat me up too bad. Like I said, I don't know 'em. They're one of those Ferret Music bands that all sorta blend together to me.

The SRO pit area down in front of the stage was only half-full as they played, and what pit there was consisted of maybe five or six guys mainly bouncing off each other. Since I don't know the band, I can't really help out on the setlist. Didn't even try.

Of the four bands on the bill, I was really looking forward to seeing Gojira the most of the three opening acts. I would rather they had the slot leading into In Flames, and a longer setlist, rather than All That Remains. That order would have made a bit more sense musically, too, since their progressive is a bit closer to the sound of In Flames than ATR's .

My first chance to see them live was when they opened for Lamb of God on their 2007 tour, but we arrived too late to see them since it took so long to get into the damn club. I knew that Randy Blythe is one of Gojira's biggest fans* and took that as an endorsement to put stock in. Once I got ahold of From Mars to Sirius, I retroactively kicked my ass for missing them then, and had been looking forward to catching some of it live. The new album only further whetted my appetite, since they're fast becoming one of the most interesting death metal bands.

Here's the setlist, but I think I'm missing one, maybe between "Backbone" and "Flying Whales":
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Flying Whales
Toxic Garbage Island

All That Remains:
I don't know ATR as well as I should. I have some tracks from The Fall of Ideals, which is a fairly decent album that I rate at a 64% RDF, but those seven tracks are all that I have. Phil Labonte has a pretty good vocal delivery and has a solid home here, after starting out with Shadows Fall in the late 90s (Somber Eyes to the Sky). What I find to be the most compelling element of ATR, though, is the excellent guitar work of Oli Herbert. Yeah, I wouldn't mind just watching him play for the entire ATR set.

The big downside to the ATR set was the numerous sound problems they had. Phil missed one entire song with a dead mic. It was actually kinda funny because he started to sing and could obviously hear himself in his monitor, but none of us were hearing anything from him. Then he just disappeared. The rest of the band played straight through though without missing a beat, and I really enjoyed the hell outta whatever that song was anyway! Phil even apologized to everyone mid-set, but the audience were a class act and gave 'em no shit. Nice job, Cleveland. Also finally got a substantial pit going by this point.

Sorry for the poor capture on the setlist here. Not knowing them beyond selections from one album, I don't know them that well, but recognized a few songs and Phil introduced a few others. Here are those that I captured, but I'm missing a few and the order is probably wrong:
The Air That I Breathe
This Darkened Heart
The Weak Willed
Two Weeks
This Calling

In Flames:
The three opening acts did a pretty good job getting the crowd worked up for this hotly-anticipated headline slot, which proved to be a much better performance than what they were able to work in for Gigantour. Great sound, a very good lighting show with a lot of interesting color and strobe effects, and a great pit that at times engulfed just about every corner of the downfront floor area of the Agora.

A couple of notes on the comments from Anders Fridén:
• Early in the set, he congratulated us for "actually standing. When we were here earlier this year, for Gigantour, everybody was just sitting around." (Well, that's a comment on the stupid venue arrangement that night. The pavilion where Gigantour played is normally a total SRO GA show, but for whatever reason, they fooled around with putting a seating area down front this year. The Agora has a much smarter arrangement, with seats at the back of the hall.
• Introducing the "Jester Race" medley (see setlist), which drew a loud cheer: "Shut up! Listen, every time we say we're going to play something from the old albums, we get this big cheer, and then when we play everybody stands there like zombies. You have to prove to us that we should continue to play old stuff!" (The pit obliged. I hope satisfactorily...)
• He thanked Cleveland's own Chimaira for being the "best band you can tour with." (Not sure why, since they're not on the bill. I suppose Chimaira personally welcomed them to Cleveland, since they also got a shout out from 36 Crazyfists, though they are label mates.)

Here's the setlist. (A sidenote of thanks to the roadcrews of all the bands for doing such quick changeovers in between acts, which allowed In Flames to amazingly do all of these songs!) A very satisfying mix, pulling mostly from the four most recent albums, but also touching on Clayman, Whoracle, and The Jester Race. From this you can see that they made plenty of room for acoustic work, which I think was as well-received as the heaviest work:
I Am the Highway
Vanishing Light
The Mirror's Truth
The Hive
Sattelites and Astronauts
Pinball Map
Delight and Angers
Cloud Connected
Jester Race Medley: featuring Dead God in Me + The Jester Race
Come Clarity
Sleepless Again
The Quiet Place
Take This Life

\m/ (ò_ó) \m/

*As stated previously, Randy did vocals for one track on Gojira's latest, The Way of All Flesh. That's Adoration for None, and it's a killer track, as is the rest of the album! And as long as I'm making cross-band connections, check out Gojira vocalist Joe Duplantier on bass on Inflikted, which is also a killer album!


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