LIVE REVIEW: Meshuggah at Vicar Street (Jan 18th 2017)

01-18-meshuggah-tour-poster

Date: January 18th, 2017
Venue: Vicar Street, Dublin
Line-up: Meshuggah + The Haunted

They say good things happen to those who wait, well after years of people begging and clamouring it was finally announced that metal giants Meshuggah would be making their return to Ireland more than 20 years since their last visit. The show was more than halfway sold out from just one day of ticket sales and had to be quickly upgraded, not something you hear too often with a metal show here.

With it being 10 years since their last visit to Dublin, The Haunted took to the stage with a fire burning under them. With the headliners setup taking up most of the stage space, they had to make do with the limited space they had been left with at the front of the stage. The lack of movement seemed to be an annoyance to frontman Marco Aro but he still persevered and was able to squeeze around. Aro was in fine form and had an overwhelming look of delight across his face at the crowd’s reaction; he was also making the effort to give a few cheeky poses for the photographers and I even spotted him doing a little ballerina twirl. The small stage room did provide a slight benefit in that we were given full view of Adrian Erlandsson and his top class drumming. The riffs were delivered hard and heavy by guitarists Ola Englund and Patrik Jensen, who even gave the more melodic Dolving-era tracks a rougher and more aggressive edge. Closing with ‘Hate Song’, Aro came right down to the barrier to get in the face of the crowd and get them pumped, The Haunted were in such high form that they easily could have been mistaken for the headliners tonight.

After some time had been taken to clean up the stage and set up the large amount of lights, the room had become quite with some ambient noise to set the mood. Meshuggah opened with the heavy as hell ‘Clockworks’ from their latest album The Violent Sleep of Reason. With the crunchy riffs, the thick bass tone and inhuman drumming, much of the crowd became entranced with the music.

Even the shows promotor has admitted to underestimating the pull that this show would have. Meshuggah has only played in Ireland once before, as a support act to Machine Head more than 20 years ago in 1995, and had been a much requested band on social media whenever requests were sought. Vicar Street was filled to the rim with die-hard fans and music geeks chanting the band’s name on many occasions through the night.

Crowd interaction was kept to a minimum despite all their enthusiasm, vocalist Jens Kidman rarely spoke besides introducing a couple of songs. Much of the interaction was in the form of an orchestrator of sorts when Kidman gestured for the crowd to clap, shout and headbang.

One of the bands distinguishing attributes is the technical drumming of Tomas Haake, even if you’re not a fan of the band there is no denying this man’s skill. Unfortunately due to the stage and light setup it was next to impossible to see his drumkit unless you were watching from the very centre of the crowd, a shame as it would have been a magnificent sight to see the man in action. Speaking of the lights, there were what really elevated the show, the band themselves were very limited in their interaction so it was down to the lights to fill in that void. They were perfectly synced to the music, despite the odd rhythms, and changed to suit the suit ranging from flashing, strobe or lazer lights.

The latter half of the set had a few numbers which really showed the intensity of the crowd; starting with ‘Bleed’, which could perhaps be considered the bands “hit” and continuing with the groovy flow of ‘Demiurge’ and oldie ‘Future Breed Machine’. After tonight’s reception I would think that it’s safe to say that it won’t be another 20+ years for Meshuggah’s next visit to Ireland.

Setlist:
Clockworks
Born in Dissonance
Sane
Perpetual Black Second
Stengah
The Hurt that Finds You First
Lethargica
Do Not Look Down
Nostrum
Violent Sleep of Reason
Dancers to a Discordant System
Bleed

Encore:
Demiurge
Future Breed Machine

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