Reviewed on Saturday September 21
Australian metal fans have a habit of questioning pairings of bands on a bill in cases when said bands fall into slightly differing sub-genres. Meshuggah and Lamb Of God, for instance? “I don’t want any part in that commercial crap,” chorus the just-pubescent voices of the math-metal devotee choir when discussing the latter act. Meanwhile, in ‘modern’ metal land, fans attempt to perform a sarcastic slow clap and are baffled when the fifth clap doesn’t fall into a second consecutive measure.
Differences were put aside at the Roundhouse, however, where Meshuggah kicked off with an explosive rendition of ‘Swarm’, and went on to masterfully navigate their way through an Obzen-heavy set. The Swedes’ live show is more about an appreciation of sheer tightness and intricacy, as opposed to a frontman sprinting back and forth. Sure, Jens Kidman can bark seamlessly over an impossibly syncopated 21-minute math-bonanza when called upon, but the guy’s only human. Punctuated by favourites ‘New Millennium Cyanide Christ’, ‘Bleed’ and ‘Rational Gaze’, the set left jaws on the floor, which begged the question: Who the fuck would want to follow Meshuggah?
Admirably, Lamb Of God did. It was difficult to tell if the sloppiness of the first couple of songs was true, relative or imagined. Regardless, by the time ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ rolled around, the energy had well and truly translated to the crowd. “Look at you bogans packed in here like sardines in a fucking can,” laughed Randy Blythe. Being LOG’s first Australian show following the frontman’s stint in a Czech prison (a result of the tragic death of a fan following a 2010 show; Blythe was acquitted of manslaughter in March), the air was thick with anticipation of comment. “It’s been a tough year,” Blythe sighed eventually. “This is our first time here following some legal issues. You know what happened, so I won’t go on, but I will say: Look around you. If someone falls down, pick them up.”
Fans were convinced the night had hit its peak. Though as we all know, whenever a peak is hit, Steel Panther’s Michael Starr is near. And so it was that Starr emerged from backstage to shocked gasps, announced a) a December Steel Panther tour; and b) that he was entirely strung out on cocaine; before unsuccessfully requesting the display of “titties”, and refusing to give back the microphone. In the 40 seconds or so it took security to forcibly escort a buzzing Starr offstage, fans concluded the gig had been a success, and had an encore of ‘Redneck’ and ‘Black Label’ as the perfect soundtrack to the end of their night.
BY SHERIDAN MORLEY