Gojira with Car Bomb and Code Orange at Manchester Academy – 14th March 2017
French rockers Gojira make a rapid return to the UK following their support slot on November’s Arena tour with Volbeat and Alter Bridge. While they appeared to be a bit lost on that occasion playing to many who were neither familiar with them or totally disinterested, their headlining tour would see them fill Manchester’s larger Academy venue on their own merits. Touring with two other bands – one new and one previously familiar to me – would prove to be a mixed and quite varied musical package.
Opening the evening were New York’s Car Bomb – an unusual name which was just one of the topics discussed during my band interview earlier in the day. The band have actually been around since 2000, but I have not previously witnessed their powerful and angry live force before. They also have quite a long-standing link with the tours headliners Gojira, which includes a production credit on their latest album, Meta. They are also making only their second tour in the UK and have only previously played three years ago. I guess that is the reason that many of the audience including myself appeared to be unfamiliar with their song catalogue. The band themselves are tight as the proverbial Scotsman’s wallet, as they attempted to batter their Manchester audience into submission with a musical style which has been termed mathcore, which I personally would actually find difficult to define. While Car Bomb themselves are unsigned and still relatively hands-on in terms of band involvement, they have actually developed their own unique lightning rig which proves an element of uniqueness to the delivery of their live show. Car Bomb are creating their own musical path and in an age where copyists are everywhere they must be loudly praised for creating their own musical journey.
The filling on tonight’s metal feast would be provided by Code Orange – a band that I have viewed live on several occasions. They have recently released their Forever album which has been widely praised in media circles. It was the opening one two salvo of the title track and “Kill the Creator” also from that release that would see their powerful sonic onslaught on the auditory canals of the Manchester audience. Dipping into a wealth of quite diverse musical styles from hardcore, through to hard-edged techo, with samples even some melodic hooks becoming apparent on the track, “Bleeding in the Blur”. Undefinable Code Orange continue to create their own musical dark mystique in the subconscious of their victims.
Headliners Gojira received a welcome like heroes, and indeed the band’s status has continued to rise with each subsequent tour. With the band’s latest Magma release, the band appear to have finely tuned what had previously come over as a confused blur of noise and differing ideas. They seem to have utilised all the band’s best qualities and unified them into a more cohesive entity. The setlist itself traverses the band’s musical back catalogue. Magma is obviously well represented by tracks such as “Stranded” and “Silvera,” although early music such as “L’Enfant Sauvage” from 2012 sits solidly amongst the newer material. The band are also moving forward in terms of stage production as they utilise both video projections and synchronised lighting effects. Gojira continue to forge ahead trying to improve what they do but still managing to retain a defining sense of their own uniqueness.