A Devil In God's Country, as one of the Richmond, VA outfit's older song is entitled, would seem a more accustomed sight than Polish death metal (DECAPITATED) and America's under-25 fans' homegrown stars, LAMB OF GOD, playing a casino: typically the home of lounge act-cover bands and financially-desperate senior citizens, relying on motorized scooters to cart their decaying frame between slot machines. Odd locale, since you must be 21 or older to enter the casino, the fans might be underage, but the band is bunch of graybeards. Known for loading up patrons with booze, in order to make money flow more freely, at least one Atlantic City gambling establishment now has a (ludicrous) rule that prohibits two beers at a time (ever wait in concession lines at a major event?). However, if you want a Boilermaker, a shot (w/ greater amounts of alcohol) and a beer, that's OK as is a double shot. This ain't free booze, we're talking about a purchase. Go figure!
Winding their way towards home, on the final week of what's been nearly a two month tour, LAMB OF GOD stopped by Atlantic City's House Of Blues (situated inside the Showboat casino). They'll recharge their batteries before a European jaunt begins in August. Tonight (June 14th) there was little evidence of the long road behind them, nor any (immediate) need for rest, offering their usual brand of visceral, aural mayhem, led, as always by sweat drenched, hunched over frontman Randy Blythe, stalking from side to side, roaring into the mic atop a small riser, center stage. Kicking off with 'Desolation', it was difficult to tell which side of the stage saw more action, a spastic blur in front and behind the photo pit. Only once did Blythe make veiled reference to his recent legal battle (acquitted of manslaughter in Czech court for allegedly pushing a stagediver back into the crowd), saying, "You know what I'm talking about. We want you to have fun and be safe tonight." The venue has a no diving/crowd surfing policy anyhow, although by the time 'Ruin' aired there were a couple of barricade crashers and little mosh pits spontaneously sprang up throughout the frenetic performance.
Surprising to see 'Walk With Me In Hell', one of their best known numbers, so early, coming after 'Ghost Walking'. Dual video walls flanked drummer Chris Adler and added visuals throughout, including the band's logo and military personnel/LOG fans who have paid the ultimate price, during 'Now You've Got Something To Die For', which came nearly halfway through the 14 song set, fans shouting the titular chorus back at the band, as yellow beams criss-crossed the stage, like some intergalactic laser. Blythe namechecked the now defunct Birch Hill venue in his homage to old fans who recall the band's club days, when they made frequent forays up and down the East coast. He was bathed in (seemingly omnipresent) blood red lights on several occasions, any eerie effect. Occasionally taking a break, to douse his already soaked head with water, Blythe is really the center of attention (bounding around the stage, calling for horns or a one fewer fingered salute), the rest of the band content to let the music do the talking. From floor, fans couldn't see the logo rugs beneath the band's feet, but they were plainly visible from the upstairs balcony. 'Omerta' began with the solitary shot of a lit candle onscreen, to be joined by religious icons and gangster mugshots.
'Contractor' offered a mix of military images punctuated by rapidly alternating strobe lights. Returning to the stage after a brief respite (aka "encore"), their version of the American flag was draped behind, as a backdrop. First up was 'In Your Words', followed by 'Laid To Rest'. The former offered cartoon-ish drawings, the later, footage of repeated assassinations, videos of the Arab Spring and images of former presidential targets Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. Blythe kicked off 'Redneck' joking, "Bad news for you Northern fuckers. If you're at a Lamb Of God show, there's rednecks!" Old WCW wrestling video, with Ric Flair doing his trademark "whew," popped up behind the band. The 'Black Label' finale guaranteed everyone went home happy, sweaty and neck aching.
More photos from Atlantic City can be seen here