My throat is sore from yelling, my limbs are sore from fending off crazed lunatics in mosh pits, my feet are sore from jumping up and down, my ears are ringing from the blaring speakers, my head throbs from the countless crowd surfers that landed on it and my neck, oh, my poor neck, is so sore from head banging.
But do I regret it? Not one bit.
Metalcore group Lamb of God nearly blew the ceiling off the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Monday night, accompanied by other metal bands Killswitch Engage, Testament and Huntress.
If you weren’t wearing black or didn’t have some sort of facial hair or piercing, you probably didn’t fit in amongst the huge crowd of metalheads, many sporting beards that would make even Gandalf the Grey jealous.
Hailing from Richmond, Va., Lamb of God has been causing mayhem since it was formed. Vocalist Randy Blythe joked with the audience in between songs about the group’s old age, claiming it is “unbelievable our old a—s are still on stage.”
The band played for more than an hour on an eerily lit stage involving two screens and a raised drum platform. Each song was accompanied with some sort of visual on these screens, and oftentimes, it was creepy and demented to fit the band’s theme. With a name like Lamb of God, the band’s genre is predictable, but in fact, every song almost has a double meaning. They often quoted the Bible throughout the show, but spun into an anti-religious angle.
When songs like “Walk With Me In Hell” and “Ruin” were played, the screens would flash some sort of building destruction or bombs going off to accompany Blythe’s roaring screaming. “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” called for a strong audience reaction: it expressed an opposition to the war in Iraq. As the crowd joined Blythe in chanting the chorus in their own metal screams, pictures of military personnel killed in action overseas were shown in a slideshow across the screens.
Guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler had their own solo cameras set up by their hands, and oftentimes during a solo, the screens would flip to their point of view, focusing on their flailing fingers and instrumental skill. John Campbell rocked with his beard on bass, and drummer Chris Adler, Willie Adler’s older brother, played so hard he broke a snare drum halfway through the set.
Blythe picked the crowd for jokes as they waited to a comical “technical difficulties” screen, laughing at the crowd’s reactions.
If you were remotely close to the band while they were playing, you were most likely fending for your life as I was. From the first note played, the audience exploded. People wind-milled their long hair, head banged maniacally, launched themselves on top of their neighbor to crowd surf closer and threw full cups of beer across the stage (one of which happened to land right on my foot). It was a kind of a chaos only Lamb of God could spring about, and Blythe and company smiled as their fans went nuts.
Massachusetts-natives Killswitch Engage performed before Lamb of God for about an hour, screaming and growling their fans into a frenzy.
Contrary to Lamb of God, Killswitch’s lyrics focus on positivity through unity and love, which they deliver in a different way. Like most modern metal bands, they often switch back and forth between singing and screaming, and through the recently returned vocalist Jesse Leach, who left the band after his marriage in 2002,t his was achieved very well. The crowd went nuts for famous songs like “My Curse” and “The End of Heartache,” which they sung along to passionately.
Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz entertained the audience with his comedic and vibrant style of play. Dutkiewicz is known for his interesting stage attire, wearing everything from tutus to superhero capes at different concerts.
This time, he came out resembling an immature personal trainer, with gym shorts (which were a tad short in length), a tank top and a tie-dye bandana with his bleached blonde hair spiked straight up. He kissed his muscles after solos, sprinted around stage running laps, did jumping jacks with Leach, and shook his rear end at the crowd in a melodic fashion … perhaps his weird way of working out his glutes.
He always provided a smile in some way, whether growling comedic lines into the microphone in between songs (which were all too mature for this article), or dancing around stage with his antics.
California bands Testament and Huntress also provided great shows. Stating its first show in Columbus was in 1987, vocalist of Testament Chuck Billy said he has respect for the city and its many returning fans. Testament had a unique stage set with demon-like gargoyle statues that blew air at the fans at points. Huntress singer Jill Janus later provided a unique female take on the metal world, with shrill lyrics and personality.
Overall, the night was a fast-paced thrill ride across several hours of non-stop metal. Heads bobbed up and down and devil horns erupted into the air as musical ecstasy poured over the screaming fans.