Jan 222013

On Sunday night, January 20, the current tour headlined by Gojira and also featuring The Devin Townsend Project and The Atlas Moth rolled into Seattle, and a good-sized group of friends and I showed up at Studio Seven to bear witness.  We had bought tickets in advance, which was fortunate, because although we arrived about 45 minutes before doors, the show was already sold out.

I was still trying to process the fact that we were getting to see Gojira and DT together on the same tour, and in a venue the cozy size of Studio Seven. I’m a huge fan of both, and I also really enjoyed the last album by The Atlas Moth (An Ache For the Distance), so this had the makings of a stupendous experience. And so it proved to be.

A couple of us grabbed perches up against the rail in the balcony bar overlooking the stage and never left those spots. I wanted a place where I could take some photos of the show, and I didn’t really feel like being smashed inside a high-pressure, breathless, sweaty mass of humanity on the floor for this show anyway.

After the jump, some impressions of what I saw and heard, plus a fuckload of amateurish pics.

THE ATLAS MOTH

Chicago’s Atlas Moth sort of got treated like a red-headed stepchild this night. As you can see, they were relegated to a postage-stamp-sized portion of the stage for their set, hemmed in by Gojira’s drum riser and amps behind them (hidden by Devin Townsend’s video screen) and by DTP’s drumkit at stage left. Not a lot of room to maneuver.

They also had a variety of sound difficulties, including a malfunctioning stage monitor that was removed and replaced in mid-song, one vocal mic that periodically decided to just stop working, and a sound mix that from my perspective never seemed to achieve the right balance.

Nevertheless, I got caught up in their music and the dense floor crowd seemed into it, too. It was the soundtrack to urban desolation and decay — sludgy, dark, bleak music with lots of chunk in the chords, explosive drum smashes, and a duet of scalding harsh vocals and melancholy clean ones. But there was sorrowful beauty in the melodies and some protracted psychedelic instrumental jams that I quite enjoyed, too.

Again, not a lot of room for stage showmanship — but I suspect you might not have seen much from this band even if they’d had the whole stage to themselves. Serious dudes playing serious music.

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT

I saw Devin Townsend at this same venue along with Katatonia and Paradise Lost last September (reviewed here), and on multiple other occasions before that. I would see him once a month if I could. He is, in my most humble opinion, the greatest showman in metal today.

He has such an extensive repertoire of excellent music from which to draw, he’s backed by some really excellent supporting musicians, and he’s such a magnetic (and ridiculously funny) stage presence that the entertainment value is always quite high. And of course the video shenanigans behind him are always a bonus.

This set was a galvanizing headbanger’s delight, still heavy on Epicloud material but including other selections from past albums, including Deconstruction. He closed with “Grace”, and man, what an explosive finish. The floor crowd looked like it was about to come apart at the seams. I do love that song.

GOJIRA

The first and last time I saw this band was in November 2008 at Seattle’s Showbox SoDo, when they were the opening act on a tour headlined by In Flames. They were relative unknowns back then, but they stole that show. Everyone I talked to that night said little about the other bands and a shitload about Gojira’s powerhouse set.

In the intervening years, of course, they’ve come quite a distance, to the point where they’re almost a household word in metal — and deservedly so. “Awesome” is an over-used word, but their set on Sunday night was . . . awesome . . . one I will remember for a very long time.

Their set list was a great mix of older songs such as “Flying Whales”, “The Art of Dying”, “Ouroboros”, and “Backbone” and new material from L’Enfant Sauvage. The performance was amazingly tight and all of the members have great stage presence.

It has been said before, but Mario Duplantier is one of modern metal’s most superb drummers, and I had trouble watching anything else happening on stage but what he was doing behind the kit. The evening included a drum solo that progressed in stages, and I would have been quite happy if it had continued on for another half hour.

We were also treated to a role-reversal in one song, with Mario taking guitar in hand and delivering decent death metal gutturals while Joe Duplantier handled the drumming. Still, though it was a fun novelty, it proved that the two should stick with their usual roles.  :)

Bottom line: if you have a chance to see this tour before it ends, do NOT miss it.

And now here are a collection of photos I took from my balcony perch. When employed by me, my Samsung camera is like a dangerous weapon in untrained hands, so be forewarned that the following montage is less than perfect, but I think it does give a sense of the visual feast on this marvelous evening. I especially went overboard with the volume of Gojira pics, but I want to remember every moment of that set.

THE ATLAS MOTH

THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT

GOJIRA

17 Responses to “LIVE IN SEATTLE: GOJIRA, THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT, AND THE ATLAS MOTH – Jan 20, 2013”

  1. Vonlughlio says:

    HOLY FUCKS!!!! Great pics!!!!

  2. joe says:

    I concur with every part of that. Although I thought the duplantiers were surpringly passable in each other’s role.

    But man, what an avalanche of sound from Devin and especially Gojira. Gojira’s music seems perfectly suited for live performances. It really brings out both the energy and the heaviness.

    • Islander says:

      The mere fact that they can play each other’s instruments passably well probably deserves an accolade for that alone, though Mario’s riffs were pretty primitive and he’s a fairly stiff frontman compared to Joe (and compared to his own amazing physicality behind the kit). :) Joe really is s pretty decent drummer, but after watching and listening to Mario for a while during a show, it was still a noticeable step down.

      And you said it well about the avalanche of sound. No matter how many times I see Devin Townsend, I always seem to forget how fucking heavy he is live. And Gojira really are an overwhelming force in the flesh.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah, Mario was pretty stiff. Joe was definitely more impressive as a drummer than Mario was as a guitarist/vocalist. I thought Joe knocked out some pretty impressive blast beats at the end for a guitarist. But you’re right, he still doesn’t compare very well to his brother. Mario is one of the top drummers on the planet though so not comparing there isn’t so bad.

  3. Dan C. says:

    What’s with the guard rail and security in front of the stage? In all my years of going to Studio Seven I have never once seen that happen. Hopefully this has not become standard practice and was done on request for this particular event. Looks like the show was pretty incredible regardless, too bad I missed it.

    • Islander says:

      Yeah, first time I’ve ever seen that, too. I’m sure it was at the request of one of the bands or their management — most likely Gojira, since there was no barricade at DT’s show at the same place last September.

  4. bucketochicken says:

    Seeing this show in Chicago next month, and absolutely cannot wait. I LOVE The Atlas Moth, but have yet to see them live. Seen DTP a few times, and will continue to do so no matter what whenever they’re in town because I love Devy more than bourbon. Saw Gojira for the first time last fall, and hooooooly shit they’re incredible. Really, really hoping “The Art of Dying” stays in their set, as it’s their best song and the one I want to hear live the most (they did not play it last time).

  5. GD says:

    I mightily enjoyed being smashed in the mass of humanity on the floor, but I still envy your spot on the balcony rail. It’s the only place in that venue where you can see the stage, & you got some great photos.

  6. [...] Note: If you want to read about this show in fewer words with more information about the music (plus better photos) check out Islander’s write-up over at No Clean Singing. [...]

  7. Andy Synn says:

    Devin really should be headlining though…

  8. DGR says:

    Seeing this Thursday. Ace Of Spades has a slightly bigger stage (it’s a little deeper) so hopefully Atlas Moth don’t have to stand that close. I’ve seen setups like that and it always seems a little rough on the band. Kinda hard to be exciting to watch with two feet of movement space.

  9. Sean says:

    I was wondering if anyone here, who went to the show (or any of the shows) on this tour, could post roughly what the set times were. I’m seeing them Friday and I have a friend who gets off late, and we’re wondering if he’ll be able to make kit in time to see Devin. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Islander says:

      I wasn’t making notes at the time, but here’s my best guess: The Atlas Moth started and played 5 songs I think, for about half an hour, and then you’ll have whatever break occurs while they remove their gear and DTP sets up. So, from whenever The Atlas Moth starts playing, I’d think your friend would have about 45 minutes before DT goes on.

  10. Space Siren says:

    I was sooooooooooo there! Down in the pit! Great show! I would hope somebody got some video from up there. I would love to see it! That pit was crazy fucking awesome.

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