Most Americans enjoy a four-day Thanksgiving holiday, filled with over-eating, shopping in the middle of the night for unnecessary gifts, in preparation for the December holidays, and watching the endless parade of football games on television. If the pilgrims could see us now! I'm thankful a few thousand of my south Jersey/Philly area neighbors took their heads out of the refrigerator and got their butts off the sofa long enough to witness a kick-ass show. All the more amazing since the headlining performance was simulcast live, across the nation! The Saturday following US Thanksgiving and Black Friday (November 24th), the Electric Factory hosted to a dual-headliner package, with LAMB OF GOD and IN FLAMES. HELLYEAH, a club headliner in their own right, and SYLOSIS were also on the bill.
Packed to the wall, everyone was into the show, from jump. In Flames brought their own lighting rig, flashing vertical stripes (anyone remember W.A.S.P., ala Inside The Electric Circus tour?) behind their amplifier backline. In baseball cap and T-shirt from a local microbrewery, Anders Friden was in a playful mood, asking "Do you know your metal history," prior to 'Embody The Invisible', the lone offering from the Nineties. There was no 'Trigger', nor 'Pinball Map', to the chagrin of some standing at the barricade, but they did get 'Cloud Connected'. Later, when someone in the crowd was attempting to get his attention, the singer questioned, "You play guitar? That sucks. You should be a singer." Guitarist Björn Gelotte challenged the frontman's notion, to which Friden retorted, "You drink Bud Light! You should be drinking Yards (pointing to the logo on his chest)." Cue 'Mirror's Truth', with massive strobe attack. Prior to a blue hued 'Take This Life', Friden panhandled for change from the security guards (who had been earning their paychecks with a constant stream of crowd surfers breaching the barricade), generating a quarter for his troubles, adding, "A quarter? I can call home. The rock life is tough." for the 'My Sweet Shadow' finale, the singer produced a dollar and returned it to one of the guards, saying "I got a quarter and give back a dollar, that's how it works with In Flames." Gelotte was made to wear a blue Yards headband for the last number, looking none too pleased about the endorsement.
If nothing else, Randy Blythe's legal troubles and ensuing concert cancellations (this show was originally scheduled for the first week of September) have focused Lamb Of God's energy and created an even more lethal killing machine. Perhaps you saw it, on the live simulcast. Always a whirling, roaming bundle of nerves, from the opening 'Desolation', Blythe stalked the stage with a purpose. Atop a steel ramp, drummer Chris Adler, his hair billowing in the wind, was sandwiched between a pair of video screens that replicated some of the onstage footage, as well as providing accompaniment for some of the songs. During 'Ruin' (dedicated to Mikey who released their first seven inch), it flashed images of Jimmy Swaggart and other evangelist tragedies, including Jim Jones/Jonestown, black & white 50s snake shaman and David Koresch, ultimately ending with a series of single words, "Fear," "Pain" and "Ruin." Not sure everyone understood what the images were, flashing behind the band. Red was the appropriate color choice for 'Walk With Me In Hell', Blythe continuing to douse his dreadlocked head with water. Perhaps its their Richmond homes' proximity to the naval base in Newport News/Norfolk, but Blythe dedicated 'Now You've Got Something To Die For' to the military men and women, saying, "I don't care what your politics are... (military) put their lives on the line," the screens depicted LOG fans, in uniform and then interspliced battlefield action with live shots from the stage. '11th Hour' was delivered in shadows, with yellow highlights, Blythe name-checking Philly landmarks like South Street and Tattoo Moms, the band having cut their teeth in the city, the first real stomping grounds outside Virginia. The band played under purple lights for 'The Undertow', a pair of fast-moving clocks superimposed on the screen. At the front of the stage, Blythe pinwheeled his damp mane, in an eerie green hue, while 'Omerta' begins with and otherwise empty stage, pink shining on the frontman. 'Contractor' completed the proper set.
The black and white reproduction of the American flag, with one lone star in the upper left corner, now hangs behind Adler as they return for a lengthy encore (five songs), including heavyweights 'Laid To Rest' and 'Redneck'. Between the two favorites, there was a birthday celebration/sing-along for drummer Adler and guitarist Mark Morton. It's something of a tradition, as back in January, across town at the Trocadero, they celebrated Willie Adler's birthday onstage. Despite more than an hour of onstage aerobics, Blythe is still a whirlwind, barking out the lyrics to 'Black Label', ablely aided by a chorus of a few thousand, who went into the below freezing November night (some, without shirts). Killadelphia indeed!
Additional photos can be seen here