ARCH ENEMY / TRIVIUM - Apocalypse On Arch Street
November 3, 2017, a month ago
Arch Street, in Philadelphia, cuts through the heart of Chinatown. It's also home to the venerable Trocadero, a nearly 150 year old building that's housed everything from Vaudeville to burlesque and since the early Eighties, is one of the city's best known concert venues. Either band probably could have played the Troc on their own, so a co-headlining evening (with two support acts) threatened to fill the old building to the rafters (or at least the unused third balcony). Some arrived early, to see all four bands, others showed up to have dinner/drinks in Chinatown, awaiting the main acts. That includes Rock Hard magazine, from Germany, on tour with Arch Enemy, for an overseas feature. Although main stage acts at European festivals, in the States, both groups cross over to younger, more casual metal fans, as evident by the atypical t-shirts spotted in the crowd: Shinedown, Dethklok, Ghost, etc.
After the drummer, Mike Amott is the first musician onstage. He and guitar partner Jeff Loomis spend much of the night leaning back-to-back, often center stage, although Amott's hair (now black) is perpetually draped across his face. Periodically, their giant bassist, Sharlee D'Angelo strolls into the picture, but the centerpiece of the live show is Alissa White-Gluz, both visually and with growling voice. Yesterday being Halloween, looks like she's still in her Catwoman body suit, with strategic slits in the material. Always loved the venom-filled (tonight, red lit) "Ravenous", while "War Eternal" is all greens and yellows. The vicious use of the F bomb is rare with families around, but in this case, the lyric is warranted. Towards the end, White-Gluz becomes part of the heavy metal drill time, brandishing a flag and waving/twirling it from the wedge monitors at the edge of the stage. When she's not "cheer leading", the frontwoman scream, pinwheels her hair, contorts/cavorts and punches the air, for emphasis.
"Blood In The Water" is an apropos title. Like sharks hyped up on the scent of wounded prey, Arch Enemy sense the carnage they've created and throw themselves into the presentation even stronger. The song begins with Amott, Loomis and the singer poised across the stage, backlit in silhouette. Chartreuse bathed "You Will Know My Name" kicks off with Amott and D'Angelo teamed up, Loomis, in solitary, alone on the opposite flank. Eventually, he gets a solo and the song ends with the two axe men center stage. Newbie "The Race" is punctuated by a relentless barrage of rapid fire strobes, with White-Gluz now attired in white body suit and matching strips dangling from her sleeves. "The Eagle Flies Alone" ends with piped-in acoustic and piano accompaniment, as it does on record. Vitriolic, expletive filled rant from the singer for "As The Pages Burn", which sees Amott granted his solo.
Is "We Will Rise" still the best known Enemy track? Even back to the Angela Gossow days, probably my favorite. Must be a reason they keep it in reserve, until the end of the show. The subtle, almost progressive jazz, intro (courtesy of Loomis) to the "Nemesis" finale belies the pummeling that will erupt from the speakers, alongside Alissa's ferocious bark: pure speed metal delivery, complete with Slayer-ish whammy bar. The crowd went home battered, bruised and wanting more.
Beforehand, it was Trivium. So if you own/tour with your own backline lighting rig, why is the first song (newly released title track, "The Sin And The Sentence") still only lit in red (the bane of opening acts)? A blinding light show (plenty of strobes!), face on, into the audience, doesn't preclude fans from singing along, throughout the night. When not sticking his tongue out, frontman/guitarist Matt Heafy frequently took a knee, at the edge of the stage (during aqua lit "Like Light To The Flies", getting close to his fans. Gruff throated "Rain" sees Heafy stomp his foot, as the crowd picks up the rhythm, ultimately pogoing in place. Purple lit "Dusk Dismantled" sees the attendees handle the chorus, while "Kirisute Gomen" attempts to form a circle pit, as strobes pop everywhere.
This tour has basically just started and will run until the first week of December.