Months ago when this concert was first announced I was ecstatic. Three immense metal bands each with their own distinctive style joining up together to play under the Minnesota summer sky. Upon reading the venue location I had a slight pause as I was unfamiliar with it. The Ledge Amphitheater opened in 2021 and looked to be a lovely place upon further review. Had another pause when I realized the drive needed for this Sunday night show. Had yet another pause when I checked the calendar and saw I already had a Loons game to shoot that afternoon. It would be a long day but all these factors did not deter as this was a great bill to witness in person and couldn’t miss out on it. The nostalgia crept in as I recollected making far longer journeys for concerts in the past and figured it’d be worth it in the end just like always.
The Ledge is a new venue to me and turns out to be a great one. It’s a beautiful space with a pond and water fountains adjacent to the audience section. It has a sloped seating area and a high stage for a clear view all around. The two screens flanking either side of the stage provide close ups from a multi camera feed. The free parking was a nice added surprise that was a deviation from the norm. The beer prices were pretty comparable to twin cities venues as over at the Ledge I snagged a can of the local Lupilin craft for $10. Another standout amenity to this new venue is the food trucks that rolled in. There were five food trucks on site that evening and it was great for a busy day trying to fit everything in as well as some fuel while waiting between set times.
Opening the night up was Lorna Shore and they pummeled the crowd with their melodically beautiful controlled chaos. The New Jersey deathcore band’s onslaught lasted 35 minutes. Their recently released album, Pain Remains, featured throughout their setlist of hauntingly heavy compositions. Standing on the steel plates in the photo pit sent the thunderous beats through my body. Austin Archey’s presence was heard and felt despite his kit sitting low and back on the high stage with minimal visual confirmation. The speed and precision that he played with left first timers in shock and awe. The murmurs of disbelief I heard from some in the crowd bear witness to his crushing ability on the drums.
The sounds that Will Ramos conjures up and projects out of his mouth is astonishing. From the low guttural tones to the high end shrieks and to the terror ensuing tones that makes you ponder if that is even human. It certainly is fascinating to hear it and watch it happen in person. By the looks of it, those in the crowd were thrilled as well.As Lorna Shore continues to rise in the ranks their craft is becoming more and more known. For a scene I don’t follow too closely, I came about them as many did and met them at this stage in their career. That introduction came about via the rapid and viral success of the song “To The Hellfire”. Ever since hearing that song two years ago I sought out to catch them live as soon as they rolled through the Twin Cities.Mastodon and Gojira, were alternating which one would close out each night. For the sold out show in Waite Park it was Mastodon that went out first to perform for the 4,200 fans in attendance. The prolific metal band played a wide array of material from their extensive catalog. It was a setlist that focused more on the heavier side of their signature sound. Some of my favorite moments with their music is when they shift gears and slow it down a bit. The last two minutes of “More Than I Can Chew” was epic that evening. When that time came I drifted away the music and gazed towards the sky above as the colors of a setting sun were splashed across it with a few clouds lingering below. It’s a moment during that song I often get lost in but the sights and the sounds of living that out in person under those skies was all the more impressive and memorable.
The fact that all four members utilize their vocal cords at some point has long been an appealing aspect to their work. Each one adding their own timbre to the vocals that carry the lyrics. In my music collection, they are one of the few that manage to pull that off. The input each member has on this band really shows the impact it has on their cohesion as a group.
About Midway through the song “Circle of Cysqautch” there was something ominous approaching from the side of the stage. Lurking through the haze and fog was a monstrosity twice as tall as anyone on the stage. It started lumbering forward and it became clear that this was the legendary one eyed sasquatch.
At the close of the set, per usual, Brann Dailor headed down from his drum perch to thank the crowd and chat them up a bit. Before the show he and Troy Sanders were at the Quarry Park taking in the scenery. Dailor mentioned that Sanders pointed at the quarry pond and said you have to purify yourself in Lake Minnetonka before speeding off on his motorcycle. True, while the often mentioned Prince references around these parts may be cliche it still created a chuckle. I’ll always be appreciative of Dailor greeting the crowd like this and I’ve become accustomed to expect nothing less from him. After playing a long intense set behind that drumkit he has enough gas left to applaud the crowd, share in some banter and then toss out a handful of drum stick souvenirs. He finished it off by offering Waite Park his condolences after they lost their post office in 1972. The random things you learn when someone digs into the history of a place they’ve never been.
Gojira, the other mega-monster on this tour, closed out the night just as it began with an intense spectacle. Gojira has been making strides in the metal world for years and continues to forge ahead. Much like Mastodon, the projections and lighting was phenomenal and added so much to the live show experience. The French metalers were out in support of their latest album from 2021, Fortitude. Their musical mayhem was backed by pyrotechnics, streamer cannons and more stunning visuals and lighting.
The raw energy from this band is amazing and they’ve done an excellent job at capturing it and recreating it flawlessly night after night. Each time I see them live their production values rise to another level beyond the last. To the delight of the crowd they churned out a methodical setlist touching on a number of great songs. As one of the leading metal bands of the modern era, Gojira has provided a template for greatness of monstrous proportions.
The expectation of what this show had to offer is what pushed me onward to spend a busy Sunday reveling in loads of massive metal music. As my journey that started on Sunday slowly overflowed into Monday morning it was obvious that some things are too mammoth to be contained to one day in order to take it all in.