by Alissa Ordabai
– Senior Columnist –
August 12, 2012 at The Studio in Webster Hall in New York City, NY
Touring in support of their breakthrough new album L’Enfant Sauvage Gojira have made a last-moment decision to add a second show while in NYC in August after selling out the 800-capacity Santos Party House.
The Studio at Webster Hall – the legendary RCA Records venue which over the years hosted luminaries from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan – became sold out too. Un-airconed, standing room only basement club on the night became the sweaty pressure cooker fueled by the Frenchmen’s barn-burner grooves.
There are melodic subtleties on the new album and almost ethereal, luminous grace which became thwarted on the night by their galvanic grooves firing up the ready-to-riot crowd which – in turn – fired the band in a loop of ecstatic energy exchange. The result was a show which became at once a huge success and a disappointment: big riffs and grooves to the fore with the nuances left undelivered.
It is difficult for a metal band to project the emotional contrasts between roiling metal intensity and melodic subtlety at a club show where the crowd is about to invade the stage and demands that the groove never stops. But herein lies the difference between those at the top of the metal game and the runner-ups. The former don’t let the audience dictate the proceedings, while the latter succumb to its demands. With Goijra’s nigh-perfect chops, super-tight delivery, and a perfect sense of form it is otherwise hard to imagine why they failed to convey the vital dimension of their latest record in a live setting. Their capitulation to the crowd-surfing, fist-pumping, rowdy bunch of roughly 300 American metal-heads in a sweaty NYC club was at once a triumph of metal in its most primal, indomitable form and a disappointment for those who look for an extra dimension in the genre.
1. Space Time
2. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
6. L’Enfant Sauvage
7. Toxic Garbage Island
8. Planned Obsolescence
9. Flying Whales
11. Wisdom Comes