In Flames @ Mojoes, Joliet (US)

IN FLAMES / DEMON HUNTER / ALL SHALL PERISH / BATTLECROSS

Date: 08th February, 2013
Venue: Mojoes
Ticket: $28 (€21) pre-sale / $32 (€24) doors
Promoter: n/a


Strangely enough IN FLAMES was a band that I did not have the chance to watch as headliners, even if our paths had crossed both in Europe and in the US. So, when this tempting package was announced, no hard thinking was required to take the nice drive to Joliet after work and witness how the Swedes would perform on top of the billing. I have to confess that I had some second thoughts about the US reaction to IN FLAMES since the supporting performances I had attended, I did not see the enthusiasm I’d expect. After all, IN FLAMES is one of the bands that gave birth to the Swedish melodic Death Metal scene. But enough with the history lessons, so let’s get into business.

As it usually happens with the busy as hell METAL KAOZ, there was an interview planned for that night (with Peter from IN FLAMES), so the BATTLECROSS set had to be sacrificed even though I did want to see how “Pursuit Of Honor” would sound live. Upon entering the always nice Mojoe’s, I saw a most lively crowd that meant real business despite its young on average age. You see, the supporting bands were butter to the US youngsters’ bread who seemed to be determined to break some serious sweat that night. ALL SHALL PERISH were up to this occasion and did light the place on-headbanging-fire with “There Is No Business To Be Done On A Dead Planet”. “I said f*****g move” growled “Eddie” Hermida and it did not take much time for the US crowd to respond with a well-formed mosh-pit right in the venue’s center. Ok, this type of music does not fall exactly on my taste but I would be a fool if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that ALL SHALL PERISH performed like tightly-packed dynamite. During the PANTERA-like groove of “My Retaliation” the crowd looked like a stormy sea of bodies and – once again – I have to admit I did headbang during the main guitar riff. The front rows looked like a warzone and, I tell you, the bouncers had to work hard for their money since the bodies kept coming near the stages’ shore almost flying. Yep, the crowd and the band gave a great show and I think it was my first time in a US gig where I enjoyed the mosh-pit and crowdsurfing festivities. Good job, guys! BTW the riff driven break of “The Day Of Justice” is awesome!

ALL SHALL PERISH

All Shall Perish @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) All Shall Perish @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) All Shall Perish @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
All Shall Perish @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) All Shall Perish @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) All Shall Perish @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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Next on the billing was DEMON HUNTER that I later learned it is listed as a Christian band. I guess this is a fair statement when at the same time there are bands labeled as Black Metal or anti-Christian, but still it doesn’t feel right to me when the music I like choosing sides. But this is just my taste and mentality speaking, so you can put this sentence into the spams folder...

Regardless of the DEMON HUNTER’s religious orientation, “Someone To Hate” was a killer setlist opener as the double bass drum action sounded in charge backed up by the strong strobe lights. Truth is the lights made my life miserable in the photo-pit but watching more bodies being catapulted from the back to the front I’d say it was ok, contributing the best to the band’s onstage performance. Yeah, the US band seemed to be taking no prisoners and the fast yet groovy “The World Is A Thorn” saw more energetic response from the young metalheads who seemed to be veterans in the attending Metal­ violent arts, making me feel a little bit proud about this generation. Indeed my fellow Metal geezers, there is still hope out there. “Just Breathe” got everyone moving so I guess DEMON HUNTER had a strong fanbase in Joliet which, apart from moshing around, knew the lyrics and joined into singing, especially during the clean vocals parts. “Collapsing” created a nice clean-vocals nu-Metal atmosphere and the headbanging didn’t stop for a sec, while “Storm The Gates” was the setlist closer and I think “storming Mojoe’swould be a more fitting title since there was a lot of violent fun inside the venue, something that did increase the inside to outside temperature difference. Yeah, we were all sweating...

PS: Extra kudos to the young lady dressed in a black dress who decided to crowd-surf twice...

DEMON HUNTER setlist:

01. “Someone To Hate”
02. “Undying”
03. “The World Is A Thorn”
04. “Lifewar”
05. “My Destiny”
06. “We Don't Care”
07. “Just Breathe”
08. “Collapsing”
09. “Storm The Gates”

DEMON HUNTER

Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Demon Hunter @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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After DEMON HUNTER I started worrying whether there would be enough energy in the metalheads’ tanks to support the Swedes but taking into account the young age (on average), it seemed there was still some mileage left. The stage was prepared in about 20 minutes and when everything was ready, the lights went out leaving some moving spotlights on as the intro of “Sounds Of A Playground Fading” prepared us for some Swedish fun. The sound was loud and crystal clear so I enjoyed to the fullest the moment IN FLAMES had stepped onstage with the killer groove track, and the entire venue was jumping up and down. All my doubts about having depleted fuel tanks vanished in thin air since the band and the crowd were in perfect synchronicity. Having watched the band quite some times (as I said not as headliners), I have reached to the conclusion that IN FLAMES are functioning in the optimum mode when the audience is fully dedicated. And that was one of the rare moments when the stage gets extended to the arena. Anders Fridén got a huge energy surge from the band’s fans and gave a killer singing performance in “Where The Dead Ships Dwell”, and then asked for my camera to capture what was going on inside Mojoe’s. Yeah, that felt cool but then the band decided to make my life in the photo-pit miserable (again), since there had been almost 14 years since the last time I listened to “Pinball Map” live. But who said that one cannot take photos while headbanging/singing at the same time? The front rows shared the same enthusiasm with me, so there were more bodies flying and the photo-pit become once more a body-laying warzone.

Anders was clearly in the sky-high mood and did not lose a single chance to joke with those who were walking down the stairs to the arena of the venue, making comments like “Where have you been all this time?” or “Ok, we will wait for you to go downstairs and then we’ll continue” while sharing a couple of laughs with the already sweating fans who chose to remain as close to the stage as possible and have fun the Metal way. The double guitar harmonies of “Embody The Invisible” reminded me how I love the first steps of the Gothenburg sound, while the characteristic electro-intro of “Cloud Connected” got everyone moving or just headbanging following the most addictive groove. “The Hive” was next and Anders’ comment was all the money so I will quote it the best way I remember: “This song comes from “Whoracle” and if you don’t have this album then I don’t know what the f**k are you doing in this show”.

“I do not like to watch basketball while I’m onstage, so please shut off the TVs in the back” requested the band’s frontman and I almost screamed ‘hallelujah’ since I cannot understand why some of the venues keep this on; are there any metalheads who prefer to watch TV instead of the show? Anyway, the venue’s stuff complied and the show moved on as it should. The guitar duo of Niclas Engelin and Björn Gelotte served the trademark twin harmonies at ease, while wearing the widest of smiles proving that the entire band was really in a happy place. Peter Iwers and Daniel Svensson kept the rhythm tight as hell and especially Peter kept his position close to the front rows, maintaining the connection with the crowd intact. One more song from the latest album came like a blast and blew our necks out and that was the infamous “Ropes”. It’s amazing how the guitars spitted all that high-quality riffage live, and I have to admit I couldn’t have enough time to watch all the guitar action up there, while Anders, standing right in the middle of a guitar-tornado, was singing the lyrics with lots of enthusiasm, having obviously great time, thanks to the extreme offstage festivities.

“This is one of the best crowds up until now Joliet, and I’m not talking BS to you, so thank you for this!” said Anders and added something that many bands should never forget: “You are the reason that we are onstage”. The fast “Take This Life” and the guitar driven “My Sweet Shadow” put a glorious end to this most successful show and I think that for an hour and a half Mojoe’s turned into the small Sticky Fingers filled with die-hard IN FLAMES fans. Hands down, this show is already on my best-show list for 2013. I would not say ‘no’ to a repeat...

IN FLAMES setlist:

01. “Sounds Of A Playground Fading”
02. “Where The Dead Ships Dwell”
03. “Pinball Map”
04. “Drifter”
05. “Embody The Invisible”
06. “Cloud Connected”
07. “The Hive”
08. “Ropes”
09. “Fear Is The Weakness”
10. “Quiet Place”
11. “All For Me”
12. “The Mirror's Truth”
13. “System”
14. “Deliver Us”
15. “Take This Life”
16. “My Sweet Shadow”

IN FLAMES

In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) In Flames @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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