Concert Reviews

Fear Factory - Soilwork - Strapping Young Lad - Darkane
Dec 1st 2005

The Pound, San Francisco, CA, USA

It was with great surprise that I saw the poster announcing Fear Factory coming to the Pound. I mean, the venue is tiny, and I couldn't imagine why the band couldn't fill a bigger venue. Anyways, whatever the reason, it was a great chance to see the band playing a small club, and hey, Strapping Young Lad is one the bill too. How could you not go?

I arrived late, so the opening act Darkane played like half a song as I arrived, then vacated the stage.

Next came my Canadian brethren Strapping Young Lad. I had seen them once before in LA, but this show was far better. The sound first off was awesome, the band was tight, Gene was rockin on this drums, and Devin did his usual antics on stage (at one point he discussed in great detail how he had 3 foot balls, a penis that was tiny in length but 12 inches wide, like a dinner plate with a slit down the center. He then later farted on the crowd.) They played a decent selection of songs, although a short set due to their opening act status. They opened with 'Imperial', then 'Skeksis', which isn't one of my favorite songs, but was then happy to hear 'All Hail The New Flesh'. They did a performance of 'Love' which was a little bit slower than normal, which made it heavier but maybe just a tad too slow. 'Zen' was awesome, 'Relentless' was good and ending with 'In The Rainy Season' is really the only way to go, considering the end of the song is just the heaviest, most brutally moshable riff EVER!! So, awesome show from the Lad, wish it was longer.

Next came Soilwork. Having never gotten into the band, I can only really report the following very random observations: The drummer looks a lot like the drummer from Scarve (turns out it's the same guy), boy do these guys sound like In Flames, and their bass player has more stage presence than their vocalist. They played a good set and people seemed to be into them, but personally I didn't see anything that would persuade me to go out and buy their cds.

Finally Fear Factory came onto the stage. I'd seen them live before years and years ago, and seen a few bootlegs of the band, and the one thing that always annoyed me was how tight they were on cd but how they were a little sloppy live. Well, I don't know if it's just this specific show, if they've been practicing, or Dino not being in the band anymore, but god damn they were tight. The guitar/bass/kick drums were in absolute perfect sync all night and notes were cut off with perfection. They opened with the first 2 tracks off their new album "Transgression", which had good energy live, but since I didn't like the album as much as their older material, I was happy that this ended up being the only 2 tracks they played off the album. Actually, those 2 songs got me a little worried at first because Burton's vocals on them were a little off tune, but by about song 3 his voice must have warmed up because every song after that was in perfect pitch, and the sung vocals had a nice full bodied sound (like good beer). Since it's the band's 15th anniversary, they played basically 2 tunes from all their albums (give or take), the performances of 'Demanufacture' and 'Self Bias Resistor' were note for note like the album versions, and just spectacular to see live. They also played 'Shock', 'Edge Crusher', 'Big God/Rape Souls', 'Martyr', 'Slave Labor', 'Cyber Waste', 'Acres Of Skin', 'Scumgrief', 'Archetype', a bunch of other songs that I forget right now, and ended with 'Replica'. Overall the crowd was pretty into it, there was a bit of a lull in the middle of the set but the beginning and end were strong with some serious moshing, and of course audience participation (Fear Factory songs have some great parts to chant, I mean it's awesome hearing a whole room screaming "I've Got, No More, God Damn, Re-grets!"). A few more surprise songs would have been nice, but hearing 'Big God/Rape Souls' was certainly a rare gem.

Overall, great concert, I was totally surprised with just how tight Fear Factory has gotten, and seeing Devin do crazy stuff on stage is always fun, so check them out when they drive through your town, especially if it's in a small venue.

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