Before I even dive into this review, let me just say that it was easily one of the most intense shows I’ve seen in the last few years. It’s not often that you find a double bill of metal bands where both are as great as they are different, so when it came to attending this show, I was interested to see how the differences between the acts would affect their time in the spotlight.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to get to One Eyed Jacks in time for the opener, Amenra, but technical metal legend Voivod was just getting to the stage, and over the course of their nearly hour-long set, vocalist “Snake” Belanger led the crowd through some of their rousing numbers, including “Obsolete Me” and “Iconspiracy,” which really got the crowd moving. The time signatures are crazy and ever-changing, but as the vocalist noted, they have learned to manage the technical aspect quite well over the course of their 36 years. The crowd was also very much feeling this set, as evidenced by the crowd stomping and moshing that seemed to feed the energy of the band, which, in turn, got the crowd even more involved. This was my second time seeing them, and they know what they’re doing. The musicianship is extraordinarily good, with drummer Michel Langevin expertly drilling his dry set in pummeling fashion.
It’s also refreshing to see a band this musically tight not take things too seriously, as often is the case in the world of metal. Smiles, jokes, and general shenanigans were widely present. It was wonderful to watch, and it definitely made the set more enjoyable. Next up was headliner Yob, the three-piece from Oregon, known for their long, epically exploratory songs. Now, the band's style stands in stark contrast to Voivod, but it’s no less engaging and fun to watch. The band only played seven songs over the course of their closing set, but every track struck with the force of an army. It’s both shocking and amazing to watch a doom metal band dig deep, with the music literally shaking the walls of the small club. It shook me to my bones, and honestly, I’m still very tired from the entire experience.
That type of music can also be extremely poignant and life-affirming, and Yob excels at this type of metal. My friend and I were talking beforehand about how a show can act as a story and lead you through a narrative, and Yob did this effortlessly. Even though the songs were all nearly 10 minutes long, it never got old or contrived, but rather, it felt like part of a necessary musical journey. I, for one, am glad I took it. Yob is also much more down-tuned, sludgy, and epicly ornate than the other bands, but it’s the difference that made the show great. The crowd seemed pretty tired after rocking aggressively through Voivod, but the slower tempo of Yob was great, as the crowd was able to experience it as more of a watching experience than being part of an intense pit. Overall, both bands were fantastic, fun, and mind-numbingly heavy, which is everything you could ask for in a setting where aggressive yet thought-provoking music was being showcased.
Photos by Steve Hatley