Chimaira @ Billboard the Venue (Melbourne) 16 Jan 2010

Fans revelled in Chimaira's blend of hardcore and thrashy American metal, but left much to be desired.

Due to some scheduling conflicts (I was interviewing Baroness - stay tuned for a forthcoming article on the same metal site, same metal channel) I missed the first opener but managed to catch Adelaide's very own Double Dragon burst on to the stage. Scanning around the cavernous hall, I saw a healthy mix of both boys and girls with extra cash to burn; never have I seen a line for a merch table extend to the OTHER side of the room before. There was a definite youthful streak to the place; I think some littlies even tried to finagle their way in via the promise of parental supervision or sourcing their IDs from somewhere suspect. It was a crowd that was built on dedication; not a place for casual fans at all.

Hardcore kids on the moshfloor could injure themselves unhindered during DD's set, with wide spaces created just for their idiotic and wanton immolation. The energetic Lee Gardiner (a dude who always seemed to remind me of Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage) tore up the stage
while his bandmates merely observed his antics felt disappointing. Nevertheless, Lee's wearing of a Dark Tranquillity t-shirt got a big tick in the box from me. The American sounding quintet played majestically, industrially and even added a down-tuned ballad in for good measure. A fight broke out, which was quickly defused by a perceptive security detail. "Dickheads," Lee said in his casual, jovial style. "Dickheads. On three - shout it out with
me! Dickheads!" Showing a definite admiration for the headliners, they lead a chant in their honor before vacating the stage for them.

The wait for Chimaira was as rowdy as I've ever seen it. I think this crowd had the poorest impulse control of the lot. Doing as much stupid shit (starting fights, throwing objects) as possible in the shortest amount of time seemed the order of the day for these people. Just prior to Chimaira's entrance, Rage Against the Machine blared over the PA. A sign of things to come? The pit seemed to lap it up, their nervous excitement pushing some over the edge (of the barrier.) Then the flag was raised and no quarters given as Mark Hunter and co. blasted into The Venom Inside. With smiles abundant, the band threw themselves into the sludgy Power Trip and hardcore inspired Secrets of the Dead. While the band are consummate
practitioners of their instruments, their fundamental showmanship seemed a bit contrived and the choice of songs highlighted their repetitive nature. Hunter barely addressed the crowd until Pure Hatred. I was getting antsy being pelted with song after song without any respite and it became tiresome very quickly.Lead guitarist Rob Arnold was in high spirits however, his wily fretwork a definite highlight.

Not being a Chimaira fan per se, I wasn't converted by their performance like some other bands I have been privileged to review. Their followers lapped up every lick and breakdown as if it was their last. They loved it so much, they even tried to get a busker outside to play some of their tunes. The final word? For Fans Ears (and Eyes) Only.