Opeth and Gojira Bring Death Metal to Nashville
The last time Opeth showed their face in Nashville, the year was 2012. I personally have never had the opportunity to see them, but when I heard they were on tour with the French death metal band Gojira I knew I had to check it out. War Memorial Auditorium has begun to host mainly metal or rock shows, which is hard to find in Nashville with the dying scene. Although recently, it seems that other venues, like The End, are stepping up to host these shows. War Memorial Auditorium made a fantastic place for them to play with enough space for their fans.
The General Admission area was littered with long ponytails, black pants, and Opeth shirts from previous tours. I haven’t seen that type of crowd in a very long time. Not since high school, actually. Gojira began blasting through their set. I have a special place in my heart for death metal and somehow France and Germany seem to produce the best bands.
Fun Fact: Gojira is actually named after the Japanese pronunciation of Godzilla. My dirty little secret is that I have every Godzilla movie on VHS, so Gojira had it in the bag before I even really knew who they were. The light show that went along with their set combined with smoke shooting out of the stage had everyone moving. I wanted to throw my head around, but I didn’t have the space to do it. Ahead of me, I could see lines of people head banging with their friends. When the drum solo occurred, I legitimately felt the drums reverberating through my body and into my soul. They closed out their portion of the show with “Pray,” and yelled something like “We are Gojira!” before exiting the stage.
I don’t like waiting. Especially when I’m by myself, and we waited almost an hour, if not more, for Opeth. People refilled drinks and began squeezing towards the front. This I also do not like, but I understand the rules of a show and that’s just what happens. The first thing that happened to really piss me off was when Frankenstein squeezed his way right in front of me. I am five feet tall. Literally, maybe an inch included in that. It was actually comical. I’m used to having to stick up for myself at shows, but it was actually ridiculous, as I was also sick. I began furiously tapping on Frankenstein’s shoulder, and he obviously ignored me. Then I had to squeeze my way around him and shoot dirty looks at him for five minutes. After that, a group of friends, one with a really skinny tall kid, a girl with a broken wrist and her boyfriend shoved right in front of me. I wasn’t as angry because I could still sort of see, but what happened after was what made me mad. Mind you, I had gone to A Perfect Circle (check out the review here) the night before and there weren't any phones allowed.
Opeth made their way out and opened with one of my favorites, “Sorceress.” Mikael Akerfeldt took a moment to talk to us, and it felt really personal. It felt like we were all just standing in a room with Opeth having a conversation. He made a comment on the ‘nightmarish start’ due to some technical issues and I guess some of the equipment wasn’t working, but it was still awesome to me. It’s all about how you handle technical issues that can make it a big deal or not. They went on to play “Ghost of Perdition,” and then had another brief conversation with us to introduce “Demon of the Fall.” This song is one from the '90s. That’s how golden this set was. They wrote it while living in a hostel in Sweden where they shared a room with some junkies. They laughed about the matter, but if you listen to the song you can hear exactly how the experience was with the mix of melodies and drops. Opeth went on to do a live premiere of “Era” from Sorceress. A beautiful gift for them to give to Nashville.
Back to the small group that had pushed to the front. The girl actually spent the entire show recording it on her phone. I periodically checked the time, since the phone was in front of my face and I had to watch the concert through it. The phone went from five minutes to twenty-six. I guarantee you that video will never be watched again. So I kindly and seriously ask that all of you be courteous at shows. Want to be in the front? No problem, don’t shove your phone in other fan’s faces and record the entire thing, rudely. Be at a show. Opeth & Gojira are both great bands. They really give their best to their fans and you don’t want to be disrespectful. Especially when a death metal icon is talking to you and performing. We want Opeth to come back to this city.
Both of the bands gave memorable performances, I wasn’t thrilled with the people I encountered. I was also sick or I may have been able to tolerate more. Don’t let the attendees keep you from going to see them on their MAGMA tour. There are a lot of fans out there that are really cool. I spoke with two that had traveled far and wide just to be at the show. You can find tickets for the MAGMA tour here.