Trivium and In Flames @ Trocadero (Philadelphia), 15 January 2012

Smiling, Singing, Good Times! That's exactly what I like to see. So says Matt Heafy.

The line snaked down Arch Street in the city of Brotherly Love. The crowd was electric. You could feel the buzz emanating from the huddled masses. The Trocadero is an awesome place to see a show. The generous floor plan gets you up close and personal to the band. Even from the soundboard you have a pristine view. If your old bones can't handle the pit, there is an upstairs balcony reminiscent of theatres of yore. The Trocadero is the smallest venue that I've ever seen In Flames or Trivium play. The capacity is 1200 and it "nearly sold out." The youngest member of the audience was about seven years old. He seemed to enjoy himself. I spied a few mums with their pre-teens and teens. Loads of metal heads of all ages, shapes, colours and varieties were in attendance. 

I missed the first band on the bill, Kyng, as I had kidnapped In Flames' guitar player Niclas Engelin and spirited him away to the Wawa for coffee. I had imbibed earlier and was pleasantly geeking. When I informed him of my coffee love, Niclas got excited and asked if I could take him to the Wawa. Eager to share the Wawa love, we set out. I returned in time for Veil of Maya from Chicago, Il. they were pleasing to the eyes if not the ears. Brandon Butler, the lead singer, screamed and growled his way through the set, quite indecipherable. They played fast and to their credit, tight. Dan Hauser doesn't use a plectrum playing bass, so mad props to him. They had a few fans in the audience and there was what passes for a pit these days; a bunch of yobs haphazardly running into each other. They have a new album coming out on February 28 called Eclipse. They played Punisher from that album. The music seemed like hyper experimental jazz. Phyrron light. Lots of time changes and then it was over. 

Trivium hit the stage soon enough. They tore thru Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr. It was hard to head bang and shoot at the same time. Luckily, I wasn't the only one in the photo pit having that problem. By the third song, Black, Nick Augusto had broken his bass pedal. He plays that hard! It took a bit to locate a new kick pedal so Matt Heafy played solo guitar and sang. He just improvised. It was classic! He's a funny guy. After a while, Paolo Gregoletto doodled on Metallica's Orion

The band got underway and proceeded to make Philadelphia drip with sweat on a brisk winters night. Forsake Not the Dream featured Heafy at his best. He alternated between harmonies and growls with aplomb. His stage banter is friendly and inviting. It's like hanging with your mate. The crowd appreciated his demeanor. Philadelphia loves Trivium and Trivium repaid them with a blistering set. 

The slow bit during Caustic are the Ties That Bind was freaking moving. Matt's vocals reached into your soul and ripped out your guts The dual guitar solo with Corey Beaulieu was harmonically perfect, completely in tune. Down From the Sky was crazy heavy. Trivium owned the stage. Nick surprisingly did not break anything else that night. He is a brutal drummer. 

The only damper on the In Flames set was Anders Friden's voice. It is shot. So he says and he ain't lying. His voice is gone. Not sure if it's by him having a cold or over use; but he was rocking the Brian Johnson of AC/DC sound. Get that man a Ricola. That didn't deter him from performing or giving his all. He gave a shout out to the old people in the balcony. He wanted to make sure they had their batteries in their hearing aids. This was gonna be a damn good show. 

In Flames launched into Trigger and the crowd sang along, loudly. Niclas and Bjorn Gelotte did a groovy guitar thing in Alias and the crowd loved it. Anders muses that the band has played the Trocadero the most in their whole history. Then he called this dude on the rail a "fucking bitch" because the guy was taping the show on his iPhone. The dude actually gave Anders his phone and Anders proceeded to film the audience! 

Swim and Hive also graced the set list. In Flames played a good mix of old and new songs. Bjorn's solos were on point. The audience head banged and threw devil horns all night long. The Quiet Place prompted another sing along. The band was so loud you could hardly hear the audience. The sound in the Trocadero gave the song a wicked groove; very bass and drum heavy with keyboards floating over it, so much so you could couldn't hear Anders sing. Where the Dead ships Dwell was hard, heavy, and wicked as only a Swedish band can do. The only thing that would have made the song better is if Anders' voice had been 100%. The band, however, nailed it and it was more heavy live than on the album. Fear is the Weakness was gobsmackingly awesome live. it inspired a spate of crowd surfers. They brought the house down with Come Clarity. It was beautiful and powerful live. People busted out old fashioned lighters for it... and iPhones. 

After 22 years, In Flames is still a force to be reckoned with live. They are going to be on tour for quite a while in 2012. It would behoove you to catch them live somewhere on planet Earth. You'll be glad you did.