Friday, March 08, 2013

Meshuggah at the House of Blues Las Vegas


It still seemed like a dream when I woke up the next morning after seeing Meshuggah at the Wiltern.
I was still sore from shooting a ton of pictures and being knocked around by an errant crowd surfer. In didn't take long to remember that I had hastily booked a flight and hotel for another dose of Meshuggah at the House of Blues Vegas, since it was their tour finale. The one thing my cancer has reaffirmed is that you need to enjoy life as much as possible.

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Seeing Intronaut again solidified my appreciation for their technical madness. While they had home court advantage when they played the Wiltern, Intronaut had plenty of heavy artillery in their sonic assault to blast the audience to pieces. It is always interesting to see bands win over audiences and Intronaut successfully pulled it off. Intronaut's album Habitual Levitations comes out March 16 and I will be picking up a copy.

Animals As Leaders
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The chants of Meshuggah immediately subsided when eight-string guitar wizards Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes started to chug on their custom Ibanez guitars. Animals As Leaders soon stirred up the mosh pit as they ripped through selections from their album, Weightless. While I've detailed in prior reviews how impressive it is to see Abasi and Reyes shred in tandem, it would be a mistake not to mention how drummer Matt Garstka is the bridge that unites them. Garstka's drumming is nothing short of phenomenal as he pounds out complex polyrhythms with ease. In retrospect, this tour could go down in the history books just like the Tool/Meshuggah shows back in 2001.

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Shooting Meshuggah at the Wiltern was challenging to say the least. Another bonus aspect of flying to Las Vegas to see Meshuggah is that I knew I could shoot in the photo pit and potentially could get much better shots. The stage at House of Blues Las Vegas is super high which turned out to be advantageous with the extreme back lighting. If I positioned myself properly and set my camera appropriately, I could get some decent shots.

While the energy from the crowd did not match Los Angeles, those in attendance were still amped up upon hearing the ear drum dusting trio of "Swarm", "Combustion" and "Transfixion". Understanding the technical precision of each Meshuggah song, I wasn't expecting a different setlist.

Luckily, my brother and I managed to procure a spot behind the soundboard and take in their visual and auditory bombast. Tosin from Animals As Leaders was a few spots from us playing air guitar throughout their set. "Do Not Look Down" and "I Am Colossus" rumbled with unbridled ferocity. I still feel their latest album Koloss didn't get the proper acknowledgment it deserved and hearing those songs live reconfirmed their power and my sentiment.

My neck would hurt after "Bleed" as you can't help but attempt to head bang along to the insane beat. While they omitted "New Millennium Cyanide Christ", "Straws Pulled At Random" and "Dancers To A Discordant System" still brought down the house. I can only hope Meshuggah come back sooner than their usual three year intervals. Also, check out Premiere Guitar's rig rundown with their awesome guitar technician Kent here!

01 Swarm
02 Combustion
03 Transfixion
04 obZen
05 Behind the Sun
06 Do Not Look Down
07 The Hurt That Finds You First
08 I Am Colossus
09 Mind's Mirrors
10 In Death - Is Life
11 In Death - Is Death
12 Shed
13 Bleed
14 Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion
15 Straws Pulled At Random
16 Dancers To A Discordant System

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