Date: June 11th, 2017
Venue: The Academy, Dublin
Line-up: Gojira + The Raven Age
On Sunday night Dublin welcomed back to its shores one of the heaviest bands on the planet. Gojira returned to Ireland after a two year absence in support of their acclaimed album Magma, which the band released last year.
The supporting act was The Raven Age, featuring in its lineup the son of Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris. The young band has supported all manner of bands over the years even here in Ireland when they played with Mastodon. Having become well toured veterans in their few short years together, they have a good grasp of how to get the crowd in their favour. Crunchy riffs, plenty of enthusiasm and some spot on vocals didn’t so much for the crowd on hand who, besides a small group, remained largely still. I don’t really like bands using this excuse but I feel like frontman Michael Burrough was right in his assessment that they weren’t really the right band to be playing that night.
Gojira drummer Mario Duplantier was the first to take to the stage, a sea of white pasty skinned arms thrown in the air at his appearance. No time was wasted with any fancy introductions or build-ups; we got thrust straight into the action with ‘Only Pain’ from the band’s latest album Magma. The thundering drums and scratchy groove meant that it didn’t take long for the crowd to squash up in tonight’s sold-out Academy.
The momentum was instantly built up and never wasted, the band only got heavier with the rather self-descriptive ‘The Heaviest Matter of the Universe’ from the band magnus opus From Mars to Sirius. This is when the shirts came off and bodies started to fly, it was a disgusting sea of sweat and tears which didn’t show any signs of letting up. The nights highlight by far was the destructive ‘Flying Whales’, the ambient calm before the storm with whales calls, the build-up of the main riff before it kicks in and all hell breaks loose. The crowd here were a little over zealous and didn’t even wait for the song to kick in before losing their minds.
Despite a mixed response from fans when it was first released the newer material from Magma came across very well in the live environment. There was that same intensity and core heaviness the band are known for, and something I never thought I’d see at a Gojira show was the crowd singing along to ‘Silvera’ and ‘Stranded’. Frontman Joe Duplantier asked for four minutes of the crowd’s attention, to put away their phones and to live in the here and now for the next song, their latest single ‘The Cell’, which actually prompted some to do the opposite and take out their phones to film his talk. The devastating track saw Joe put everything he had into his performance, which he described as a sort of metal meditation.
Drum solos are very much a hit and miss sort of thing at concerts, more often than not it’s just a fluffy little time filler, but when your drummer is one of best and most prominent in metal then I think they can be forgiven.
A couple of the slower numbers from Magma were thrown into the mix, ‘The Shooting Star’ and ‘Pray’ both boasted atmospheric lighting which enveloped the stage and pulled in the audience, besides a few who still tried to create a mosh pit as best they could, to draw back and listen.
Rounding up the night were a pair of heavy hitters from The Way of all Flesh, the harmonized noodling between Joe and fellow guitarist Christian Andreu on ‘Oroborus’ and stomping ‘Vacuity’. Even when the band had finished and were ready to leave the crowd still chanted their name, looking for more to be played, as humbled as he was by all this Joe felt he needed to tell them that they needed to save songs for when they came back, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Mario Drum Solo
The Shooting Star
Toxic Garbage Island