Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I love Children of Bodom with a sick, sick passion that makes no sense to me. I had heard them once or twice before this year, but they didn't make nearly the impression they did the first time I loaded up their complete catalog (no, thank you, bittorrent!) into iTunes and let rip in the middle of last year - it was like someone took all of my secret pop rock loves (think Fountains of Wayne) and metalized them - Hate Crew Deathroll was a revelation because it was technically complex, rocked hard but had hooks that would pull down a whale. It doesn't matter that you can never understand what Alexi is singing and that half of the lyrics read like they're aimed at the angsty teenage market - my previously described sick passion was now in full flame. And then I saw them perform live.

On a good day, as they had when performing in New Jersey as a part of the Unholy Alliance Tour, Children of Bodom on stage turns out to be something like musical stage crack: very fun, very addicting and something you look forward to seeing again at the next possible opportunity, even if you're bleeding because someone elbowed you in the head in the pit. To put it even more plainly: they (along with Mastodon) were the highlight of a day that ended with so-so performances by Lamb of God and Slayer, for God's sake. They blew Slayer off the stage (you may direct all hate mail here). To say I was eager for their return would be an understatement; I became mildly obsessed with the idea.

Because I'm a good boy and the metal gods love me, I got my wish, wrapping up my 2006 concert tour at an even 12 with CoB's headlining performance at the Nokia Theatre on December 17, with Sanctity, Gojira and Amon Amarth opening. You can read the official review here and see the pictures from the show here.

As far as the unofficial observations go, today's bit isn't so much about the bands as it is about the venue. I'm finding that the Nokia Theatre is rapidly becoming my favorite location to see a metal show in NYC, especially when I have press access. To be sure, there's the three 3-star-or-better shows I saw there in 2006, but this time around I discovered what really makes the difference between this venue and, say, Irving Plaza, the scene of such recent disappointment.

First of all, the barriers didn't collapse, which was really, really awesome by itself. Second, if you've got the right pass, security doesn't really care what you do. I could have hung out in the interview room, although that might have gotten embarrassing when the bands showed up expecting to answer questions (not something I'm ready to prep for). When the three song limit for shooting pictures was up for each band, I retreated to the VIP balcony to the left of the stage, where I not only got some great angles for additional shots but found that all rules are basically suspended - security doesn't care if you stand on chairs, smoke pot, have sex in a corner; it's all good because the Man doesn't really come up to the balcony, except to shine flashlights on the crowd surfers so the guys in front know who's coming up to the barrier. By the way, I only engaged in one of these activities - I'll leave you to guess which one, to keep some mystery going in this blog.

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