Thursday, January 24, 2013

Merci Beacoup

Gojira / Devin Townsend Project / The Atlas Moth 
The Fillmore, San Francisco 
January 23, 2013 

I was surprised how filled The Fillmore was for this show; not sold out but at least the next best thing.  It's been 3 years since Gojira last headlined in San Francisco and it was cool to see them make the leap to a larger venue this time around.  Thanks to Steve of CM for the hook up.

The Atlas Moth obviously have Neurosis in their record collections.  In fact I ran into Dave Edwardson after their set (Atlas Month had recently supported Neurosis).   This isn't meant to sound negative, but I couldn't stop thinking how The Atlas Month sounded like Baroness being played on 33rpm instead of the correct 45rpm.   Again, not meant as a negative.  That's just my brain making some kind of lazy blog analogy to describe what I heard while Atlas Moth performed.  While not being very familiar with their music I will always appreciate a band with 3 guitars who can weave them into a decent volume web... and Stavros (guitar) is a cool dude.  THANKS for the CD, man!

I know a lot of people worship Devin Townsend... but I'll just save everyone's time and say his whole schtick is awful.  Dude, the whole laughing at Metal and not with Metal while playing expensive custom guitars offends me.  Awful. However, he is a super star performer when it comes to making funny faces when he's not at the mic...  Anyway..

There was ALOT of dope smoke in the air tonight; if I closed my eyes I could have been at a Sleep show.  Gojira are the most hippie Metal band going with their songs about the environment and spirituality and whales.  I'd like to think all of their merch is made from free range hemp and printed with hormone free soy inks.   The elegant interior of The Fillmore was perfect for the Frenchmen's cerebral and tastefully brutal take on Metal.  During the changeover before their set, a smoke machine filled the stage with atmosphere (organic free range atmosphere) as some pleasant Euro dance music played over the PA.   Oh, Zee French!

Also prior to Gojira's grand entrance, I had a delightful backstage conversation with the guy who sings Master Of Puppets.  What did we chat about?  Oh, stuff like the art of John Baizley and other high brow subjects such as Mario's drumming for Gojira.  It was cute to see members of one of the opening bands get completely star struck.  Sometimes I forget that people who are my old friends are also other peoples' heroes.  Pretty cool.

Anyway, all sense of decorum evaporated when the crowd went absolutely berserk as Gojira launched into the evening's performance with the new song 'Explosia' and then into the relatively old song 'Flying Whales' (hippies!).  It's not often that The Fillmore hosts a proper Metal show so watching that kind of excellent crowd action within its hallowed walls is always special.

Photo courtesy of Umlaut's iPhone

Gojira wield a hypnotizing blend of Metal, Jazz, and Prog Rock that I find more compelling than most other bands who are their peers.  I have to say Gojira and Meshuggah are the only two bands who utilize drum triggers and blast beats that I absolutely need in my record collection at this point in my life.  Everything else I can probably trade in for credit at Amoeba.  A nice moment was when the brothers switched roles and Joe went behind the drums and Mario took over his guitar and the vocals for a song.  I don't think I've ever seen someone play a guitar onstage while wearing drummer's gloves before.  Oh, Zee French.

As mayhem filled as the Gojira crowd was it wasn't the type of "Metal" crowd that I was used to being amongst.  It was a younger crowd and I didn't see one Slayer shirt.  That being said it warmed my heart to see the French get such a rousing reaction from San Francisco.  As they have at every show they've played here, Joe took a moment to say how special it was for Gojira to play in The Bay Area since the bands from here mean so much to them.  How do you say "pretty cool" in French?

If you bought one of every Gojira merch item you would have paid around $240.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags.  If only Murder In The Front Row had a French translation.