For those afraid to rock as true individuals who know who they are and who are always showing off their own style, I do not salute you. One of the most powerful expressions is that of a collaborative heavy metal band that always knows where they stand. On Friday, April 21st, 2023, at the Kia Forum, three strongly defined bands, Lorna Shore, Mastodon, and Gojira, brought their fans a well-deserved tour. All three acts carry an unmistakable sound, style and never shy away from it.
Starting off the early evening at seven was New Jersey-based deathcore band Lorna Shore who are currently supporting their Pain Remains album. For such an early spot where in LA people were fighting rush hour traffic to make it on time, they had a really great crowd. Vocalist Will Ramos has such a calming speaking voice, and then when he’s in those guttural song moments, he’s an absolute beast. The songs from their latest 2022 album, Pain Remains, were powerful and well-received. Their thirty-five-minute set was plentiful despite being so early and short. For those unfamiliar with Lorna Shore, they don’t pretend to be someone they are not, and for that reason, they are loved or hated. Of the size of the audience in the arena excited to see them, the conclusion is that the love outweighs the hate.
As for the forum, it has adapted to the most modern stage antics, such as fire bursts, glistening super-long shooting silver streamers, and whatever else they can dream up. It is also best to see some shows from the lower seat sections because the view of the mosh pit and islands that form in the middle of them, plus a broader view of the stage, makes for a unique experience. The seats, however, are so old and cramped, and some of the staff act like police sending their criminals to jail when seating them, which makes for an awkward struggle that is otherwise a great experience.
After Lorna Shore’s set, Full Metal Jackie took the stage to announce Mastodon, who was up next. This Atlanta-based band has grown so much in notoriety since their 2000 origin, and it’s such a pleasure to watch them co-headlining the Forum with full-on special effects such as fire bursts and really well-imposed video all over their stage set and backdrop. Most bands nowadays use video backdrops either to give those on weed or shrooms plenty to entertain themselves with or for those in the birds’ eye view nosebleed sections to see the band larger than life. On this night, Mastodon went above and beyond by turning the whole stage with them on it into a trippy, surreal land that made the music dance visually. They ran through a great setlist playing various hits of various eras, including “Crystal Skull,” “Divinations,” “Andromeda,” and towards the end, “March Of The Fire Ants,” “Mother Puncher,” and “Blood And Thunder.” Mastodon is indescribable in one genre, but with their five pieces, including a keyboardist, they swerve in and out of progressive heavy metal, to sludge, to everywhere in between. They also have a unique dynamic stage presence led by Troy Sanders vocals and bass, rounded out by Brett Hinds guitar antics.
After Mastodon’s worthy set, Gojira was ready to bring their French-style progressive heavy metal to the arena. They also have a unique sound that mixes genres from groove to tech death, progressive, etc. They really have expanded their horizon in the most beautiful metallic way over the years. The meaning of the band name, Godzilla, pretty accurately describes their vibe on stage. They are also a beast on stage who breathes such power onto their audience that they feel the impact. They put up a huge Gojira banner for their grandiose entrance in front of the stage and had a countdown timer behind it, counting the seconds before they would begin their set. This all happened just before ten o’clock in the evening, and it was the beginning of a really sophisticated heavy metal setting.
Since everyone is so ADHD now from their cell phones, visual stimulation at these shows is a must to keep the focus and energy high. So, naturally, they had beach balls along with the crowd surfers, who people probably wished were as lightweight as beach balls, floating over the floor audience. They also never failed to shine the brightest white lights and those groove metal strobe lights onto the audience as well to keep them awake. At around ten-thirty was drum solo on a podium time. In the context of the songs, this drummer is definitely one to enhance and keep the energy of the band in a skilled, creative way. For the solo, he decided to make it fun by puppet style controlling the audience’s reactions with a thumbs down and then a thumbs up sign that he held up after certain moments of debauchery. Then it was back to the whole band playing some great live tracks which over the entire set time included “Backbone,” the special sounds of “Flying Whales,” “Stranded,” and “The Art Of Dying,” for the end of the show.
Gojira has been an influence on some of the newer progressive metal bands, and their unique blend of subgenres makes them stand out in the best way. They were influenced by the best, and they influenced the best. The lightning backdrop effects were a special touch to their stage visuals, as were the cool-toned lighting effects that brought the music to life. There is not a simple way to describe this band live, but they never fail to impress. As per usual, having three touring bands play the show with no openers was a smart choice because, as a trio, they served a greater purpose and connection with the audience. Gojira’s special set lasted past eleven o’clock hour, and the audience still couldn’t get enough. 2023 has plenty more great European-headlined tours coming up, so stay tuned for more recaps from Metal Insider.
Review from April 21st @ The Kia Forum In Los Angeles, CA by Lisa Burke
Photos from May 4th @ Sunset Cove Amphitheater in Boca Raton, FL by Eplixs
Tags: Gojira, Lorna Shore, Mastodon
Categorised in: Metal on Metal