To start off, I would be totally remiss not to mention two key elements of tonight's show. Firstly, All That Remains did not play. Their vocalist was sick and unable to perform. Secondly, the band's equipment van broke down, and long story short, the show began about 9:30. But maybe bands should do that more often.
36 Crazyfists burst onto the stage, and immediately all the crowd's drunken pent up energy was hurtling in all directions at once. I have never seen an opener that the crowd got so into, even at the bigger arena-type shows. They even had a pretty successful wall of death...and they were openers. I'd never heard them before, but they played a sort of interesting metalcore style that was quite catchy, which certainly helped get everyone into dancing immediately. To be clear, this band had a bigger moshpit going than most headliners I see, and everyone was having a blast. Whether it was just pent up energy or a truly spectacular performance I couldn't say, but they defintely hyped the band up better than any opener I can recall seeing.
Gojira hit the stage next, and it seemed like the crowd had used all of their energy in that huge burst for 36 crazyfists. Everyone was mellow even while the music was much more brutal. But then they got over the rather odd transition, and starting getting into the heavy stuff, and by the end there was another solid moshpit going, and great crowd energy. I hadn't listened to these guys on CD often enough, because I was much more impressed with their live music than I recalled ever being with the CD I have.
In Flames was of course the headliner, and I'm starting to realize I should consider one of two options regarding seeing bands who have older material I like, but not so much newer material. One would be not going, but the other would be to stop going expecting the band I really enjoy. I feel like I'm finding performances underwhelming unjustly. In Flames played 1 song from Clayman, a couple from Jester Race, and played a teaser of Behind Space (I was so excited until it ended!), and for me that means about 1 in 4 songs were really good songs. Not a good ratio. But as I was listening, I realized they weren't bad songs really...just not In Flames songs. Of course, I thought I was there to see In Flames so I was disappointed, but probably unfairly. Once again I noticed the crowd died during the old songs. Such a mixed blessing that is.