Lamb of God, DevilDriver, Shadows Fall @ Thebarton Theatre (Adelaide), 16 Dec 2009

A night of speed-infused heaviness, invoking a party some atmosphere amongst bands and fans alike. Told early on this was no ordinary concert: this was a party, all three bands, Shadows Fall, DevilDriver and Lamb of God, performed with enthusiasm encouraging revellers to a frenzy.

Shadows Fall opened the night to the arriving crowd. The audience was still quite small and subdued at the start of their set but as more people arrived both crowd and band got into the show. The mixing improved, which was slightly muddy initially, and the floor gradually filled. Brian Fair (vocalist) made sure to let everybody know this tour was a party - not just another concert - and succeeded in getting the crowd screaming and cheering (in metal fashion of course, which is more of a roar than a cheer). Watching him head-banging with those immensely long, rope-like dreads is a sight I will not forget, and backed up by guitarist-vocalists John Donais and Matt Bachand throwing their locks about, the crowd was soon trying to emulate them as drummer Jason Bittner pelted out some hardcore beats and Paul Romanko’s bass reverberated through the whole theatre. Fair’s rich voice carried strongly over their heavy sound and by the end of the set we were partying.

 

DevilDriver‘s performance was a tight, speed-infused blast of sound. Dez (Fafara; vocalist) made the claim that they tour more than any other band on the planet and since the first time I saw them in 2007, they have improved considerably. This is a band confident on stage that excels at interacting with its audience.

 

At one stage Dez jumped into the crowd, surfing the moshers as he growled out his distinctive howl. Both bass guitarist, Jon Miller and guitarist Jeff Kendrick took to the speaker stacks, getting up close to their fans, though not as intimate as Dez. Jeff delivered a skilful solo from upon the speakers; not too flamboyant, fingers flying up and down the neck of his guitar in an awesome display of musical prowess but without going on too long, so the fast pace of the show never let up.

 

The trio of guitars (Mike Sprietzer and aforementioned Kendrick and Miller) worked together forming an impressive team, intricately screaming out powerful riffs and brutal tunes. Drummer, John Boecklin, never let up the obliterating pace and Dez’s vocals commanded attention. The crowd was really getting into the show by this stage.

The Adelaide show coincided with Miller’s birthday and we all roared a “Happy Birthday Miller” for him, the circle pit was pulled off much better than in the earlier Shadows Fall set, and when prompted to unite our voices for ‘Fuck It All’ the roar was loud and enthusiastic.

 

They played a good selection from their whole discography, though it seemed there was little from their latest release, Pray for Villians. Talking to other concert-goers regarding their performance, it was unanimously agreed that each time they come back here they are better. DevilDriver are an impressive live band.

 

Lamb of God were the crowd favourites and played a mix of new songs and classic favourites. This had fans screaming along with the lyrics and moshing insanely - but though the mosh pit was seeming to get very rough towards the end of their show, I was impressed that when a guy nearby lost his glasses, those around him ducked down, quickly found the specs and returned them to the owner, before getting back to slamming and pushing each other.

 

Now You’ve Got Something To Die For in particular had everybody screaming along; always a favourite. The songs from Wrath were performed with as much skill and power as the older songs; their set was brutality from start to finish.

 

There is little I could fault with their performance, it was great to see their newer songs live, yet they seemed to lack the some of the enthusiasm of DevilDriver. Randy (Blythe) was as brilliant a vocalist as ever, growling deeply like a hellish beast, and guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler formed an accomplished team of strings against the relentless pounding beat provided by drummer, Chris Adler, and bassist, John Campbell.

 

Perhaps it was that they played so many of their hits, songs many fans have seen before, which they have undoubtedly played countless times over their touring career; to my ears, DevilDriver stole the show with their passion. That is simply my opinion, the veteran performers played up to their crowd, Randy an ever-entertaining front man. He got the crowd into circle pits and back and forth, people moshing madly and surfing heads. Their set was a great length, and somebody told me it stretched for eighteen songs, I’m not sure how correct that is but they seemed never to tire as they kept growling and pummelling out riffs. After hours of moshing and screaming, songs such as the ever-popular Redneck and Walk With Me In Hell still invoked the crowd to a deafening roar.

 

All three bands delivered memorable shows, interacting with the crowd, filling Thebby with heavy, hardcore sound. The new songs from Wrath, Lamb of God’s latest release are as black as ever. As the final song, Black Label Society, ended and the crowd dispersed, those in the pit were an exhausted, slickly sweaty mass, roaring in tired delight. Any remaining Jonny, Jacks, beer or intoxicant of choice quickly downed, we made our way into the streets in a black wave of noise - ready to continue the party!