show review

Gojira @ LC Pavilion 11/17/2013

Lisa Sanchez
Gojira onstage opening for Slayer at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio (Sanchez 2013)
Gojira rocked the stage in Columbus on Sunday, November 17, in direct support of Slayer on their most recent North American tour. Admittedly, Slayer, the megalith granddaddies of extreme metal, is a hard act to be within a five-mile radius of. Slayer sets a high standard for both live performance and musicianship, but Gojira took the reins and showed they could roll with the legends themselves.

Despite their metal-god tour mates, this is not Gojira's first rodeo. The French, Death Metal band has been around for more than fifteen years (formerly known as Godzilla until 2001) and they have been actively touring and producing albums since their formation in 1996. Gojira creates an atmospheric and technical sound that sets them apart from the chugging repetitiveness of similar bands in the genre. Their signature sound is so full of resonance and effect it would seem difficult to replicate it on the live stage, but they managed without difficulty.

Gojira stepped onto the stage without much ceremony but immediately launched into "Explosia", the first track off of their most recent album L'Enfant Sauvage. I was immediately entranced by their driving rhythms and consistent precision. One thing that struck me in particular was the crowd. What had moments before been a milling collection of Slayer-ites turned into wide-eyed worshippers at the church of Gojira. The band displayed an instant pull from the stage and I was hard-pressed to find anyone not staring slack-jawed at the display before them.
Melting faces, and doing a pretty bang-up job of doing so. (Sanchez 2013)
"We are Go-fucking-jira from France!" bellowed lead singer Joe Duplantier as the band went on to perform hypnotic demon-summoning incantations, including "The Axe" and "The Heaviest Matter in the Universe". Gojira played like they were on a mission; they had a limited amount of time before the headliners were set to come on and they packed their set with more rib-cage-rattling sounds and tantric beats than any mediocre act could hope to supply. In between songs the crowd would chant "Gojira! Gojira!" in excitement for the next dose of brutal music.

At the time of the show, most of the state was under a Tornado Watch, which Duplantier offered some sage-like advice on; "You guys came here to bang your fucking heads! Tornado approaching? Alright, whatever," then the band launched into one of their most well-known singles: "L'Enfant Sauvage". The crowd lost their minds as if that was the last song they would ever hear before an Earth-ending whirlwind swallowed the entirety of Columbus. It was perfect.

Gojira ended their sadly brief eight-song set with head banging, death-march chant "Vacuity" and left the Columbus crowd with a show they will never forget. "They're really different. They put a new spin on metal." said Alex, 32. "Slayer has a hard act to follow." No doubt Gojira displayed an accuracy that is difficult to achieve for recordings, let alone the live stage, filled with flashing lights and impending meteorological disasters.

Somewhat surprisingly, Gojira announced that this performance at the LC Pavilion was their first time in Columbus. Well, they certainly made their mark and claimed the stage as the newest territory of French Death Metal. As Gojira left the stage, Duplantier said a few final words to the churning crowd: "Merci beaucoup. Thank you very fucking much!" I dare you to find another death metal band that has that much class.