I don’t know if the glamorous Orpheum Theater has ever seen something like this. This impeccable bill of long-running bands had more metal in it than the Mercedes Benz Superdome. These bands packed out the entire venue with raging, excited fans that hardly ever sat down. The elegant gold leaf accents glittered and vibrated with the booming of the bass.
Corrosion of Conformity has a local connection once again. The decades-old outfit sometimes has the addition of local musician and bar owner Pepper Keenan. There are certainly opinions on which configuration is the best, but I look at it as two different bands. I like the Pepper Keenan (vocals, guitar, frontman), Woody Weatherman (lead guitar), Mike Dean (bass), and Reed Mullin (drums) lineup because it’s a bit more funky than thrashy. Needless to say, all of their music is heavy, profound, grandiose, and engaging, but I can dance just a little bit to this one.
Having performed the 2015 Voodoo Music & Arts Experience, Clutch put on an epic set. Frontman Neil Fallon is really a madman on stage; he wildly paced the stage flailing as he sang songs including “Firebirds,” “Book Saddle Go,” “Sucker for the Witch,” and “Son of Virgina.” This made it extremely hard to get a good photo of him, as evidenced by the dozens of blurry shots I have of him. He simply never stopped moving! At times, he would stand somewhat still and gesture slowly yet grandly to emphasize a point in his lyrics before dashing off again, jumping and thrashing. Neil also stayed a tad more stationary when he played his harmonica. Being a student of the mouth harp, those were my favorite moments. They had the opportunity to be joined by percussionist Mike Dillon who added a different element to the sound. It was jammier, groovier, more fun, but with no loss of intensity. I could definitely get behind the tour “Clutch featuring Mike Dillon.”
As someone said to me just before the lights dimmed, Lamb of God’s roadies must hate them. They had quite the setup including a huge set of white candles (electric for safety) that almost created a ring around the stage, three massive and blindingly bright screens, and even branded carpets. Randy Blythe performed like a man half his age who drank too many Red Bulls. He was incredible; he would leap from his tall steel platform, thrusting his knees up to his ears, land and sprint across the stage over and over again, tossing his dreads around so that you couldn’t see his face and gutturally growling into his mic. Lamb of God, hit the crowd with some favorites like “Desolation,” “Walk with Me in Hell,” “Ruin,” and “Descending.” Betwixt songs, Randy had some interesting things to say on a variety of topics. He took a moment to thank the men and women of the armed forces for their dedicated service before he performed “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For.” He also claimed his admiration for New Orleans’ own metal bands including, but not limited to, Soilent Green, Goatwhore, Crowbar, Down, and his personal favorite, Eyehategod. Randy dedicated his next song to Jimmy Bower, a member of many local metal bands before ending this crazy show with the beloved piece “Redneck.”