Slayer, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Children of Bodom – 07/06/06

I guess it’s just not my year for concerts. First off I have to ask – who starts a concert, which lies squarely in downtown Detroit, at 5:30 PM? I’ve only once heard of a concert starting before 7 PM on a weekday, and that was Gigantour last year. They had to start early though, as they had 10 bands that had to play, and had Pine Knob’s 11PM outdoor-concerts-must-stop policy to contend with. This show, however, did not. Since the show started so early, we completely missed the two openers – Some band I don’t know, and Children of Bodom. It sucks that we missed CoB, but I’ve seen them twice before, so I know what they’re like. The other bands I’ve only seen once at most.

We arrived just in time for Mastodon. I saw them once before at the last Slayer show I attended, and at that point I didn’t know any of their stuff. I was well prepared this time. They played a bunch of good songs, and a couple new ones off their new album, “Blood Mountain,” which comes out sometime later in the summer. As much as I like their music, I think that the transition to live music isn’t always the best for them. Their sound is naturally very thick, raw, and unproduced, and when that’s combined with high volume and less-than-optimal acoustics, it just kinda turns into a droning noise that really makes it hard to pick out the subtle nuances that make their sound so unique. I still dig the show they put on though. They’re a supremely talented band with a bright future. Grade: A-

Lamb of God was up next. This was the only band in the lineup that I hadn’t seen before, so I was hoping for a good show. They didn’t disappoint. They played pretty much every song I would have liked to hear. One thing I noticed is that they played noticbly slower than the recorded versions of their songs. It just could be that they wanted to introduce another element of heavyness to spur on the moshers down on the floor – who knows. In any case, they put on a great show with a lot of energy. Good times. Grade A-

Slayer closed out the bill, and were another small source of disappointment in the show. They played a good number of their ‘classics,’ but they just didn’t really seem into the show. They just went through the motions from my perspective, and I could have sworn that I heard a few miscues in a couple songs. Not exactly something you’d expect from a band that’s been around as long as they have. One possible source of their lack of enthusiasm very well might have been the crowd itself. We all made the observation that the crowd in general was much more enthusiastic for Lamb of God. A good portion of people were just standing around while Slayer was on stage, and I actually saw a few people sleeping towards the end of the show. Well, they may have been passed out drunk too, who knows. Not everyone shares my no-drinking-at-concerts sentiments. In any case, Slayer wasn’t looking great, and neither was the crowd. This may have contributed to something I’ve only seen once or twice in all of the concerts I’ve been to – the headlining band not coming out for an encore. I guess I can understand, but it’s rather disappointing. Grade: B-

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