Noise innovators and legends Voivod recently celebrated 35 years together as a band by releasing a new album, The Wake. The album itself scored some high international chart placings and they embarked on a series of live dates which this time unusually hit UK shores. Reviews were universally positive and I decided to avail of the rare opportunity to see the industrial behemoth live for the first time. A cold Saturday night in Manchester but a large turnout was ready, and the anticipation levels were high. I think that I only own one /possibly two Voivod releases, so I didn’t know quite what to expect apart from a set list of largely unknown material. Looking around the audience before they hit the stage at the unusually early time of 8.30pm – there was a club night in the venue after the bands. I saw several generations of fans present. The greying ponytails, and shaved heads of the old diehards who had probably been there from the outset…but also a new era of fans with several young teens staking their claim to the prime front of stage spots.
The band themselves have inspired so many other bands that have followed so have thus earned legendary status. The two remaining originals, Snake on Vocals and Away on drums, have integrated two younger band members into the band which I feel has had the effect of both keeping the band relevant and also fusing it with a new sense of vigour and youthful energy. Setlist dipped into their classic albums, Killing Technology (the one that I do have), War and Pain and Dimension Hatröss. Fusing the older classics with several newer numbers saw the band dip into a variety of styles from their thrash metal early beginnings to also taking in the prog rock elements of later releases. No flashy stage sets or effects just a band logo on a backdrop and a few blasts of the smoke machine at selected moments during the evening. The venue saw the band full in the face of a crazy Saturday night rock crowd, with frantic moshing and some small pits breaking out around all around.
The band themselves took time to engage with the audience both during the show and also afterward mixing with the fans. As I say, I was not that familiar with their song catalogue but that didn’t detract or stop me enjoying an evening of pure old school noise. While I was less likely to indulge in the moshing that I would have eagerly participated in the eighties…the old cranium did do a lot of nodding during the hour and a half set that Voivod served up- that’s nodding in time to the music delivered and not nodding off to bed as they played long past my regular bedtime. A fantastic night as the Voivod machine slayed the Manchester metal hoards.