The Minneapolis based band, Witchden, opened up the evening with a set of deathed out sludgy doom metal. They lead the crowd in a heavy dirge that chugged along for 35 minutes. Their brooding stage presence helped create an atmosphere befitting of the music. They started off playing to a First Avenue crowd that was rapidly growing in size and was ready for a dose of heavy music. It was evident that they delivered on that request as those familiar with the band eagerly took it in. Those that were not accustomed to their craft had become more and more intrigued by their sound and began to visibly show it by their body motions as they found the infectious rhythms take over.
Their doomy vibe was lit up by their guitar cabinets which had a green glowing logo in front that flanked either side of the stage. It’s a great logo which added an element of mystic to go along with the band’s performance. This was a great place for them to put on a display and take in a new group of fans in the process. They have been in the studio recently as they prepare to add to their growing discography and increasing horde of followers. Be on the lookout for their third release coming out later this year.
The projection screen began to rise and the crowd’s anticipation grew into a hearty cheer for the headlining band, Gojira. As the seconds ticked by and still no band gracing the stage, a chant of “Gojira! Gojira! Gojira!” ensued from the sold out crowd. This continued on for a few more times until a low ominous tone of a droning didgeridoo permeated First Avenue. A dense heavy fog unfurled across the stage until it rolled off into the tightly packed audience as the cheers grew louder once again. As the tapping guitars took the lead in the opening song “Oroborus”, bright lights flashed and the crowd began jump and sway to the music.
Gojira’s heavy tones pummeled the air and their fans grooved along to every beat just as Joe Duplantier sings in Stranded, “crushed by the noise inside.” Granted that is out of context but they did pump out some monstrous sounds. For all in attendance this was certainty not noise either, but well crafted metal music. Formerly known as Godzilla, the band ran into copyright issues and switched it up to the Japanese version. With the dangling shiny strips hanging from the rafters that swayed in the breeze, there was a sense that Godzilla went on a rampage and tore down the walls. As the intense songs played out, the smoke and wind swept across the room like it was the top floor of a skyscraper that is now exposed to the elements.
Joe’s brother, Mario Duplantier, put on a drumming clinic with his fast and intricate beats. Creating an interesting backbone for all their songs and setting the groove for those to head bang to. Bassist Jean-Michel Labadie had a reoccurring grin as he played. He was certainly was an energetic one as he thumped out the bass lines while jumping and grooving about. Lead guitar duties were handled by Christian Andreu with great execution. This group has been writing and playing together since 1998 and definitely shows with there technical and precise musicianship. The sold out crowd was well aware of what they were in for when they snagged up all the tickets to this show.
Minneapolis lucked out and got one of the few headlining dates for Gojira as they now continue on with Slipknot in the Knotfest Roadshow, see the dates below.
Oroborus / Backbone / Stranded / Flying Whales / Love / The Cell / Terra Inc. / Silvera / L’Efant Sauvage / The Shooting Star / Blow Me Away You(niverse) / Toxic Garbage Land / Vacuity / The Gift Of Guilt