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Megadeth, In Flames, Children Of Bodom, Job For A Cowboy, High On Fire @ Aragon Ball Room, Chicago, IL (USA)

MEGADETH, IN FLAMES, CHILDREN OF BODOM, JOB FOR A COWBOY, HIGH ON FIRE
in Tuesday, 6 May 2008 at Aragon Ball Room
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos

It was an excellent sunny day and I had to leave my work a little bit earlier because 'Gigantour' was in town. In fact because it was a working day the show would start really early than usual. So, after a joyful ride I arrive at the Aragon ball room half an hour before the announced starting time. When I entered the venue I realized that the HIGH ON FIRE were already on-stage and actually they were playing the last song. So, I made my way to the concert area to find almost 1000 metalheads scattered inside the big venue. The stage was very high giving the chance to watch the concert from almost every angle.

Without many delays (I think it took them only 15 minutes) JOB FOR A COWBOY kicked off their setlist. The band was completely unknown to me and from what I saw that day it will remain that way. The played something that can be described as a heavier version of the Nu Metal package with all the jumping and the screaming included. So, the singer was flirting with Death Metal performing rather flat to my ears while the collection of some guitar leads were trying to make a difference from the really boring rhythm section. If you'd ask me about their setlist  I would say that they played one very long song because everything sounded the same.

The next band on the billing was CHILDREN OF BODOM. To be honest I was never a fan of their music although I have given them a couple of chances with Follow The Reaper and their latest release Blooddrunk. The young members of the audience turned to be really anxious for the Finnish band and crowded the first rows wearing the BODOM shirts from the latest albums. While balancing on the edge of depression thinking I am getting old the lights went out and CHILDREN OF BODOM took over the stage. I was completely disappointed by them starting from their on-stage presence that was almost apathetic. The spotlights were focused exclusively on Alexi Laiho who was pretty stationary. The female members of the audience were absolutely crazy with him (?) who responded by simply licking the chords of his guitar. So, after I took some pictures for the shake of this report I made my way to the back because I could not share the same excitement as the rest of the crowd. Actually to my personal metal dictionary the Finnish band got an additional r after the BO syllable on their moniker.

This would my second time with IN FLAMES and I was pretty anxious about them because the last three albums were really good! So, I returned to the first rows where things have become more comfortable since the BODOM fans have moved on the back. The band entered with Cloud Connected giving an excellent reason for some headbanging. Anders Friden got on-stage with a rather lame mood giving the impression that something was wrong. Apart from this the sound was good (even though the samples and keyboards were rather buried) and the light show was just great. The setlist featured the fast Leeches, the groovy songs from their latest album The Mirror's Truth, Alias and Sober And Irrelevant among others. My guess is that Anders was pretty much turned off by the numb reaction of the audience which was just watching most of the time. The band's frontman informed the crowd that they will return to the US in November for some additional shows by saying: We love to see you again and especially guys like the one standing on the back wearing an orange hat (pointing at the guy's direction); then he added rather annoyed hey, at least you could stand up while I am talking to you. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their show especially the older treats Colony and Only For The Weak.

Well, I had one complaint for not including their killer Pinball Map or even Bullet Ride. All in all, I had a good time with the Swedish band but I will definitely catch them upon European soil where they will be more appreciated.
The stage was quickly cleared and prepared for Mustaine's co under the MEGADETH moniker. Sleepwalker was the opener and I was totally disappointed; the bass guitar was so loud that was covering everything! The band continued with Wake Up Dead and Take No Prisoners having the same awful and muffled sound. Eventually, the sound technicians realized that was something wrong during Skin O' My Teeth where things became better. Dave was in a high mood and actually was surprisingly talkative (at least for me) thanking the fans for their support especially to the latest album. I got a few blurry pictures and joined the mosh pit having at last some Heavy Metal quality time with songs like Hangar 18, Tornado Of Souls and In My Darkest Hour. I was impressed by Chris Broderick who did an excellent job with his guitar performing flawlessly all the difficult leads and solos especially those from the Friedman days.

So, after Symphony Of Destruction the band left the stage and return with Trust and Peace Sells.

Unfortunately, along with the band returned the loud volume on the bass guitar that that remained with us during Holy Wars that was interrupted with the surprise named Mechanix. The band concluded Holy Wars ending their very good show that had an average sound quality.

To sum things up I can say that the concert did not meet my expectations that turned to be rather high. Apart from the sound problems during MEGADETH's show who in other respects was very good, I found that the billing was not wisely chosen especially with the opening bands (CHILDREN OF BODOM).

MEGADETH's setlist:

01. Sleepwalker
02. Wake Up Dead
03. Take No Prisoners
04. Skin O' My Teeth
05. Washington Is Next
06. Gears Of War
07. Kick The Chair
08. In My Darkest Hour
09. Hangar 18
10. Gears Of War
11. A Tout Le Monde
12. Tornado Of Souls
13. Ashes In Your Mouth
14. Burnt Ice
15. Symphony Of Destruction
16. Trust
17. Peace Sells
18. Holy Wars_Mechanix

(blurry photos by me)

JOB FOR A COWBOY


CHILDREN OF BODOM

IN FLAMES

MEGADETH

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