Unbelievably WEAK showing by the Philly (un)faithful, as around 100 were through the door (paid, or otherwise, including Troc staff, bands and their crews) up until JEFF LOOMIS took the stage. In all honesty, the bands could have cut the set short and mailed it it, but didn't. Even with the anemic numbers, the preponderance of the crowd was under 25, while most of the later (older) arrivals were only interested in the ex-NEVERMORE guitarist and bill topping SOILWORK. Generational disconnect?
Not since the heyday of YNGWIE MALMSTEEN have I seen an all-instrumental performance. Loomis tried to speak to the audience via and auxiliary mic laying on the floor, but it proved futile, until the red lit 'Devil Theory' finale. The foursome stood motionless across the front of the stage, churning out neo-classical thrash (?). No real light show either, playing beneath a static yellow/green hue. There was little respect for the non-Loomis musicos, including the click track listening drummer, on his minimalist kit: one rack tom, one floor tom, kick and a couple of cymbals. A speedy 'Ultimatum' stood in stark contrast to the more mid-tempo numbers. Elsewhere, 'The Sibylline Origin', 'Miles Of Machines' and comedic entitled 'Shouting Fire At A Funeral' met with polite applause.
ARMAGEDDON/ex-ARCH ENEMY guitarist Chris Amott (now a Philly resident) stopped by, to hang with his native countrymen. Aside hulking frontman Bjorn "Speed" Strid, bassist/main back-up vocalist Ola Fink remains a physical non-sequitur. Strid wore a well-worn sleeveless jacket, with NEW MODEL ARMY patch on the back. Lots of shadows on the dimly lit stage, as the floor, having doubled in size and now filled, begins to throb with movement. 'This Momentary Bliss' kicks things off. Although 'Weapon Of Vanity' is announced as being "never played live," it must mean prior to this tour, as Strid said the same thing, the night before in Virginia. 'Figure Number Five' begins in yellow, before turning to a green backlight, ultimately segueing to an aptly dark stage, for the 'Black Star Deceiver' follow-up, punctuated by flashing white lights. Throughout the evening, Strid, in good spirits, acknowledges the crowd, venturing to the stage front, while the rest of the band stays behind the wall of monitors. Albeit just the second night of the tour, the headliner already made some adjustments to the running order, flip-flopping some songs out of the encore, others in (at least as posted online). From the new Living Infinite platter, 'Long Live The Misanthrope' and 'Tongue' appear in the middle of the set, before 'Possessing The Angels', returning to the set for the first time since the last millennium, is met with a rapturous response. The encore, begins with a ripping 'Stabbing The Drama', before ending with 'Late For The Kill, Early For The Slaughter', which could be the byline for the evening, overall.
Soilwork are on the road, supporting their Nuclear Blast double CD, The Living Infinite. In September, they return to these shores, for a special appearance at ProgPower USA, in Atlanta.
More photos from Philadelphia can be seen here