Tuesday February 9th, 2010
House of Blues, West Hollywood, CA
Live review and photos by Charlie Steffens
West Hollywood’s House of Blues may need seismic retrofitting after the shaking it took last Tuesday night. Four extreme acts beat the house mercilessly on the last night of the Tyrants of Evil tour, a bill headlined by Sweden’s ARCH ENEMY.
MUTINY WITHIN, a New Jersey-based sextet with a keyboardist, energetically opened the show with a tight and brutal set to a couple hundred people as more slowly filled the floor. When ARSIS hit the stage, the place had started to take on the look and feel of a real metal show. West Hollywood was waking up. Crossed arms started to unfold and bodies began to move. Arsis responded to their hungry devotees, delivering a blistering display of power with impressive guitar work from James Malone and Nick Cordle. Great musicians, excellent showmanship.
Bay Area thrash legends EXODUS opened their set with “Bonded by Blood,” a most appropriate way to set off the violence and good times. Frontman Rob Dukes told the crowd that he was hoping that this last show of the tour would be the craziest night of all. “It’s a little tame,” Dukes said, sounding disappointed. By the time EXODUS ripped into “Children of a Worthless God,” however, the bodies started to fly toward the stage and a semblance of a pit started to form on the floor. Guitarist Gary Holt and drummer Tom Hunting, the only original members in the lineup, each displayed their trademark sound, flavoring the classic EXODUS songs rightly. Holt’s guitar solos were electrifying, complemented by guitarist Lee Altus’ rhythms and leads. Hunting’s tachycardic thunder behind “Deathamphetamine” provided a soundscape sufficient to start an L.A. riot. EXODUS played an amazing set from start to finish and their performance was proof that they still kill it.
As Daniel Erlandsson approached his drumkit and the rest of ARCH ENEMY’s silhouetted members walked onto the dark stage, the frenzied crowd greeted them exuberantly. Ripping into “The Immortal,” ARCH ENEMY took onlookers captive, appearing as vibrant as ever. Singer Angela Gossow worked the stage, throwing pharyngeal fire with her unique death-growl vocal attack. Halfway into “Ravenous” I was convinced that musically the band had become even better than when they were merely “extraordinary.” Hearing the technically soulful guitar duo of Michael and Christopher Amott was an otherworldly experience as they switched off jaw-dropping leads and harmonies with aplomb. Erlandsson played a mind-blowing drum solo and the Amott brothers each played their own eviscerating guitar solos. In this longer set the five-piece sonic explosive really had the opportunity to showcase its new chops as well as the classic ones. ARCH ENEMY gave the people what they came for. Honorable mention: “We Will Rise.”
More pictures and setlists after the jump
Bonded By Blood
A Lesson in Violence
Children of a Worthless God
War Is My Shepherd
The Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast
Taking Back My Soul
I Will Live Again
Dead Eyes See No Future
Bury Me an Angel
Dead Bury Their Dead
We Will Rise
Fields of Desolation outro