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Gojira

support Pilgrimz
author EW date 22/03/09 venue Underworld, London, UK

I wasn't surprised to hear this show had sold out in advance of the night of performance following the rise in recent times of Gojira's stature in the metal world. In fact, I was surprised to see that the performance was not upgraded from the small Underworld, which may well have been beneficial given how rammed my favourite venue was tonight. "From Mars to Sirius" is one of my top metal records of all time and having only seen Gojira as a supporting act, tonight I looked forward to with glee.

Pilgrimz

But firstly there was the Danes Pilgrimz to get through. I had only previously checked out a couple of their Myspace songs prior to the show, and not having been over-awed by our review of last year's debut album, "Boar Riders", I awaited suspiciously. My conclusion come the end of their set was: music average, frontman brilliant. If ever a band or show could be defined by the character and stage presence of the frontman it was this one: musically Pilgrimz were on the brighter side of metalcore, thankfully not reliant on neanderthal beatdown riffs of typical genericore nature but yet not terribly exciting; however frontman Max strode about onstage (and the dancefloor) with real pride and ownership of all those in front of him like few I've seen before him. Getting one of those at the front to name the upcoming song ("Butt Scratcher" was decided upon) and then incorporating that into the chorus was the highlight, and to be honest, my over-riding memory from their performance. Were it not for one man I'd have barely remembered Pilgrimz' performance, but with him it attained an air of respectability.

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Gojira

With the downstairs now crammed Gojira strode on stage to a fanfair of adulation and anticipation, and for once the soundman wasn't going to let us down. Ok, let's be fair, the Underworld sound has generally improved over the last 2-3 years but rarely, if ever, have a band sounded so perfect as Gojira did tonight. With a style arguably more conducive to such a result than the usual ear-battering I receive at Underworld shows, Gojira mixed devotion to the quality of their recorded materials with on stage intensity, and to my delight, a set heavy on material from 2005's masterpiece "From Mars to Sirius". If I remember correctly "All The Tears" was the highlight from the material off last autumn's "The Way Of All Flesh" but with "Backbone", "From The Sky", "Flying Whales" and "To Sirius" all played among others from my album of choice, it was seeming the setlist was chosen based on my personal preferences were it not for the omission of "Rememberance" (2003's "The Link"). Given how superb the sound was, other factors of the show became secondary, but for the record: the backdrop of moving images/collages was very interesting and the stage performance of all four members was commendable, whilst not reaching the joyful exuberance of Pilgrimz' Max.

It should be safe to assume that if Gojira follow up "The Way Of All Flesh" with an equally powerful and dynamic album one would be lucky to catch the band at such a small as tonight, giving their performance an extra special feeling at it's termination. The band seemed genuinely happy with the crowd's reaction, always a pleasing sight to behold, and it would be hard to imagine any of the punters left unhappy at what they had just witnessed.

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