First onto the stage, in an explosion of hammering riffs, were Car Bomb. The Long Island, New York natives supporting the release of their album Meta, an album produced by none other than Gojira's own Joe Duplantier. This was the first time I had ever heard of the bands name, let alone their music so had no idea what to expect. Their jagged and aurally complex assault gained admiration from the crowd, including one guy next to us who was going crazy for each song.
Currently riding a wave of goodwill upon the release of their latest album Forever, Code Orange took to the stage next to perform an energetic set. The crowd seemingly lapping up their performance song by song. At times though, their performance seemed a bit disjointed. The majority of their songs began with a long build up in the introduction before the main riffs hit, with members, during these build ups, standing with their backs to the crowd. That combined with little to no engagement with the audience between songs meant that a lot of the time, their set lost its momentum a little bit. Added to that disjointed feeling was their final song which ended really abruptly, leading to some confusion as to whether or not they had actually finished their allotted time or not.
However, all that aside, the energy that Code Orange brought did absorb the audience during each song and it is clear that they would be welcomed back with open arms by the Kentish Town crowd.
The confusion over the end of Code Oranges' set lasts momentarily though as the crowd begins to itch with anticipation over the arrival of the headline act, Gojira. An already packed O2 Forum was starting to fill up nicely and by the time the sound check had finished, the venue was electric.
The set opens up with the staccato attack of "Only Pain" taken from their most recent, and critically acclaimed album, Magma, which ignited the crowd, before the veteran French outfit tore into a thrilling, dynamic set that delved into their discography. The backbone (pun definitely intended) of the set itself is, of course, designed to highlight their new material. This is the Magma tour after all. But, Gojira makes room for older cuts such as "The Heaviest Matter In The Universe" and "Flying Whales" which went down extremely well with everybody in attendance.
Magma has been received fantastically by the fans, so it's no surprise then that when songs like "Silvera" with its monstrous riffs and nimble octave bridge, and "Stranded" get played, the reception for them is huge. Maybe as huge as the gargantuan sound that Christian Andreu and Joe Duplantier hammer out on their guitars. The palm-muted fury at the opening of "The Cell" and the juxtaposed openings within the song let depth of Jean-Michel Labadie's bass resonate through the audience.
The set had to be a workout for drummer Mario Duplantier, yet he showed zero sign of fatigue. His playing throughout including an awesome drum solo, shows that Mario is unquestionably one of the best drummers in the world today. His solo combined with the video display behind him was captivating and one of many highlights throughout the show.
The band brought a large production into the venue, with a large video screen projecting behind them, complex lighting and the occasional burst of smoke. Gojira seemingly about the visual stimulation as well as the audio.
Gojira brought the intensity of their colossal sound to life. From the beginning, the band played with ferocious determination and captured the heart and soul of everyone in the room. Neck wrenchingly heavy music mixed with a mesmerising video and light show all combining to making Gojira live, an experience that will live with you forever.