In Flames were supposed to play at the Avalon on their latest headlining trek, but ticket demand was so great that it had to be bumped up to the Wiltern – and even this venue was nearly sold-out. The fans that did get in were lucky, because they were treated to quite an interesting spectacle.

Devil Driver (whom one presumes are not Christian) received a good crowd reaction, but ultimately their lack of good songs and negligible stage energy induced more yawns than excitement. Metalcore up-and-comers Trivium, on the other hand, had plenty of good songs and energy to spare; maybe the group should have given Devil Driver some.

Although their musicianship was on target, frontman Matthew Heafy needs to work on his crowd banter. He’s figured out how to handle hecklers, but his interaction with the crowd mostly consisted of calling for circle pits. He did work up the crowd at one point in the cheapest way possible: he played a short Pantera medley and dedicated it to late guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, which got the crowd moving and singing along.

In Flames singer Anders Friden knows what he likes the taste of – alcohol, and lots of it. Although he didn’t drink on stage, he spent an inordinate amount of time in between songs telling the audience how happy he was to be there, and at one point forgot what song they were supposed to play next and had to walk over to check the set list.

What sealed it, though, was when he announced that he had left his whiskey in his dressing room and was going to go get it. Everyone thought he was joking, until he pulled out two kids from the front row and had them sing "Bullet Ride" while he ran backstage. Unorthodox, to say the least – but very entertaining.

Luckily, his inebriation didn’t hinder his singing ability. Having seen the band seven times, this reviewer can safely say that this was one of its most energetic L.A. performances. It doesn’t hurt that the band’s upcoming album, Come Clarity, is its best in years, and its set leaned heavily on material from that album.

The group also mixed up its usual popular favorites like "Cloud Connected" and "Episode 666" with some lesser-known album tracks like "Insipid 2000." No real stage show to speak of beyond the usual flashing lights, but In Flames definitely knows how to make a stage their own. Heavy metal and a comedy show – the audience definitely got their money’s worth. —Jeff Trepell