Road Rage '04 Report: Aug 9 In Washington, DC
Band Photo: Trivium (?)
CorrosiveMind just reported on the August 8 show of the Road Rage '04 tour, but what the hell - I'll give you my opinion of the August 9 show as well.
When I heard about the Road Rage 2004 tour, I decided well ahead of time that I had to go. Despite being one of my favorite bands, and back in the top ranks of favorites after their unbelievable comeback album ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires,’ I had never had the chance to see Machine Head live. Being a fan of Chimaira and hearing good things about Trivium as well, I had to go to this show. “Had to” meaning, yes I would go even on this Monday night of August 9, 2004, which many people apparently would not do, as the crowd was smaller than expected for such a great billing and a great venue. The 9:30 club in Washington, DC is my favorite place in the area to see a good metal show, despite the location in DC and usually long drive or metro ride from where I live.
After a short interview with Phil Demmel (coming soon), lead guitars for Machine Head, I waited patiently for the doors to open and the bands to begin playing.
Trivium finally took the stage at 7:30 to a small crowd, with the people still entering the club. As stated previously, I had heard good things about Trivium, but did not really know what to expect. I had some impression of what I might consider a “standard” Roadrunner act, but with nu-metal slowly fading, Roadrunner's acts are becoming less and less “standard” thankfully. Thankfully again, I was surprised to hear them play a good mix of melodic riff-oriented metal. I didn’t know any of their songs, but Trivium played a good set and are definite up-and-comers on the metal scene.
Machine Head seems to be playing second on the bill for most of the tour, which I thought was odd since they are the more seasoned musicians with five studio albums out now and Chimaira has only two. But who cares? They both had hour-long sets apiece, so it didn’t really matter who played last. I had much more energy for Machine Head anyway – energy that I would need.
Machine Head took the stage and let loose with ‘Imperium,’ which is easily my favorite song off their new album, ‘Through The Ashes of Empires,’ with its melody and numerous change-ups. The night before they had celebrated the 10 year anniversary since the release of their debut and instant classic thrash album ‘Burn My Eyes’ by playing the entire album live. I was glad they played a heavy dose of new material in DC, however, as I really like the new album a lot.
One thing I love about Machine Head is that they finish songs strong. And from the setlist they chose, I’d say about 3/4 or more of the songs had strong endings, which meant even with the smaller than expected crowd, there was a totally insane mosh pit or circle pit by the end of the song, rivaling even the mighty Slayer’s mosh pits at that same venue.
After thrashing out for much of the set, Rob mellowed things out with the final song off of TTAOE, ‘Descend The Shades of Night’, saying he's been in a "stoner mood". But even that song has a good build-up toward the end. And after that the band ripped into Dividian immediately after to whip the crowd back into a complete frenzy.
The other thing that I enjoyed in seeing Machine Head play live is that the band members looked like they genuinely enjoyed playing, which, to me, adds to the fun and energy of the show.
While Machine Head could not play all of my favorites from ‘Burn My Eyes,’ They played a good mix of songs from their first and most recent albums, with a couple of the best songs form the albums in between for good measure. The set seemed balanced perfectly in intensity and for the time allowed. One could always want more, but that was the most satisfying hour-long set I’ve witnessed.
After Machine Head wrapped up, I knew that Chimaira had no chance of topping that performance, headliner slot or not. However, they did come awfully close to matching it.
Chimaira opened up with Cleansation off of their new album, ‘The Impossibility of Reason,’ and it was immediately obvious that they were ‘on’ that night. They sounded very heavy, with hardly a trace of the metalcore sound they had in the first album. In fact, they were so heavy, I could hardly tell when they were playing material off of their debut album, although I suspect they played mostly newer songs. My only complaint is that a couple of my favorite songs form the first album such as Sp lit, still do not sound as good as on the album - the melodic parts are just lost in the live performance.
Chimaria have definitely improved not only their playing but their stage presence since touring with Slayer and Ozzfest a couple of years ago. They put on a great show and had the crowd moving, whether jumping or moshing.
One thing that really stood out in Chimaira's performance was the new drummer, Kevin Talley. He was so intense in his drumming, with hair flying and arms flailing, that the platform he and his kit was sitting on was shaking violently and looked as though it would collapse at any time. Drummers often get overlooked behind their kits, but Kevin added yet another spark of energy to the show and was slipping his sticks high in the air between beats and such. He seemed to be fitting right in with the band so far.
Chimaira wrapped up their set very strong with 'Power Trip' and and extended version of 'Pure Hatered'.
Overall, the show was one of the best I’ve seen – enjoyable throughout. Both Machine Head and Chimaira are touring in support of their latest and best albums. The icing on the cake was that the sound system was crisp and at reasonable levels the entire night, which made the actual show more enjoyable, but more importantly, my hearing loss minimal.
You can check out some photos of the show in the Photo Gallery.
If straight-up heavy metal is what you crave, you should catch this tour. The remaining Road Rage tour dates are as follows:
8/10 Norfolk VA @ The Norva
8/11 Winston Salem NC @ Ziggy's
8/13 Atlanta GA @ Masquerade
8/14 Lake Buena Vista FL @ House of Blues
8/16 Houston TX @ Engine Room
8/17 San Antonio TX @ White Rabbit
8/18 Dallas TX @ Trees
8/20 Grand Rapids MI @ The Intersection
8/21 Detroit MI @ Harpos
8/22 Columbus OH @ Al Rosa Villa
8/23 Chicago IL @ House of Blues
8/24 Milwaukee WI @ Eagles Auditorium
8/25 Minneapolis MN @ The Quest
8/27 Lawrence KS @ Granada
8/28 Denver CO @ Gothic Theatre
8/29 Albuquerque NM @ Sunshine Theatre
8/30 Tempe AZ @ Marquee Theatre
9/1 San Francisco CA @ Slim's
9/3 Ventura CA @ Ventura Theatre
9/4 Hollywood CA @ House of Blues
9/5 Anaheim CA @ House of Blues
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