The HOB was packed full of old-school death-metalheads and Hot Topic kids by the time openers Amon Amarth went on. Amon Amarth was a bit of an oddity on this bill; unlike the trendier Children of Bodom and Trivium, Amon Amarth is a relatively obscure straight-up Viking death metal band. However, the crowd reacted very favorably. Maybe it was the music, maybe it was the energy of the band, or maybe it was the rams horn filled with alcohol that the shirtless singer drank from throughout the set. The vocalist also shouted out hilarious call-and-responses to the audience, including a pledge to turn the House of Blues into the "House of Metal." Not exactly subtle, but then, subtlety is a trait often lacking in fat men wearing no shirt and tight jeans.
Triviums singer, Matt Heafy, wasnt fat or half-naked, although he was the prettier of the two vocalists by far. However, despite his more emo looks, he was all about the metal. Trivium is undeniably a metalcore band, but its closer to the metal side of the spectrum, and even though it wasnt as heavy as the other two bands, and had less live experience, Trivium had a surprisingly confident stage presence. In fact, the band managed to get three circle pits going during their set. Not everyone was into them; there were some noticeable middle fingers in the air, and someone was heckling them between songs, but Heafy shut the heckler up by pointing out that he was the one with the microphone.
Children of Bodom, of course, didnt have to worry about hecklers.
As soon as the lights went down for the headliners, the crowd started chanting their name. "Twist and Shout" came on over the speakers to get the crowd riled up, and then the Finnish quintet exploded on stage to the opening track from their latest album, "Living Dead Beat." The crowd started surging from the very beginning, Children of Bodoms catchy, fast-paced melodic death metal the perfect music to mosh to.
Vocalist/guitarist Alexi Laiho was the real star of the show. The guy is a total
rock star; hes arrogant, shoots his mouth off in interviews and hes
been accused of being a sloppy guitar player live, but he knows how to work a
crowd. He may not have hit every note, but the important thing in a concert is
the feel, and he moved the show along at a breakneck pace. The band managed to
cram 18 songs and three solos into a 90-minute set. In fact, everyone but the
bassist got a solo. Their set was heavy on the last three albums, and they tore
through such standards as "Needled 24/7," "Punch Me I Bleed,"
and "Hate Me!" Laiho even managed to fit in a small medley of Motley
Crue, Pantera and Judas Priest songs before the last song of the night; if it
wasnt clear what his influences were before, that crystallized it.
And the bands outro? The Beastie Boys "Fight for Your Right to Party," of course. Because really, what else is melodic death metal all about?