High On Fire Lights Up New Orleans, LA
All was quiet in the Quarter, save the sidewalk in front of the renowned One Eyed Jacks. The entire heavy scene of New Orleans is in attendance tonight; the beer flows like water as we all file into the main room where opening band Lo-Pan is about to take the stage.
Lo-Pan’s last NOLA performance at Siberia in 2011 garnered a small crowd, playing with local doom groove outfit Endall and Ryan McKern,tThe band now has a packed house to play its unique post-rock hybrid sound. The opening notes are low and dominating, somewhere between Clutch and older Corrosion of Conformity. Jeff Martin’s vocals kick in and it immediately shifts to a softer Soundgarden vibe. The band is passionate about the music, and this is evident in the live show: well-rehearsed structures and tight playing abilities win over the crowd.
After an intermission, followed by Ozzy-era Sabbath and Witchcraft blaring on the PA, New Orleans-own devils advocate’s Goatwhore take the stage. No strangers to the band here tonight, the group can barely get onstage without twenty people saying hi, passing shots, and just catching up with everyone. Singer Ben Falgoust headbangs begin bursts of aggressive lines, throwing his fist in the air in an attempt to make everyone follow.
Goatwhore puts on a rock show able to win over fans of Celtic Frost, Judas Priest, and even stretching into the sounds of early Voivod or Morbid Angel. Drummer Zack Simmons is a beat on the percussion, kicking 80's thrash, D-beat and blast beats off without a hitch. It was a flawless set overall, even with a minor hiccup of James’s bass head blowing out during a song (which just goes to show how hard he was playing).
They didn’t miss a beat and worked through it as Lo-Pan graciously lending their gear to the black n' rollers to finish the set which consisted of “Collapse in Eternal Worth,” “When Steel and Bone Meet,” “Parasitic Scriptures of the Sacred Word,” “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult, “Embodiment of this Bitter Chaos,” “In Deathless Tradition,” “Sky Inferno,” “Beyond the Spell of Discontent,” “Judgment of the Bleeding Crown,” To Mourn and Forever Wander through Forgotten Doorways,” “An End to Nothing,” and “Apocalyptic Havoc.”
The energy has now been boosted beyond the containment of the bar walls; the crowd is so packed that there is virtually no breathing room. It’s been years since High on Fire last played NOLA, and everyone is ready for the main event: High on Fire bringing that crushing Motorhead-style metal mixed with the drop tones of Matt's darkest riffs. They immediately start the music when they take the stage; Matt is already shirtless to stay cool in the immense heat of bodies in the room. They perform many songs from their latest album while also covering the band’s older catalog of metal anthems. The pit is in full effect, and just three songs into the set I already see one gentlemen getting kicked out for being too rowdy. Minus his eight string guitar of yesteryear, Pike delivers the music with a precise snarl and grit; the rest of the band is on point, and the music seems as though the band brought the studio direct to you this night. The vibe is also strong this time around. It seems everyone on this tour is having fun, and there is no direct competition.
What High on Fire brought this time to the table was a charisma and professionalism that showed first and foremost how this band has been able to turn the world of thrash around, and truly make their mark in the history of metal, many bands try and play a style similar but do not come close to the reception this band has earned from many albums, countless touring, and fan connection. if there was a doubt in your mind, see one minute of solo's by the guys in High on Fire, and you could be converted.
Yes, it was a Monday night, but it was more than worth staying out late for this show. I know everyone in attendance felt the same way.
Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.
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