DEVILDRIVER / JINJER / RAVEN BLACK / TANZEN / CONTRA.
Date: 11th November, 2018
Venue: The Bottom Lounge
It is true that less than six months had passed since the last time DEVILDRIVER were in the Chicago vicinity, so one could opted out from the Sunday show in Bottom Lounge. Well, that option was only for those who do not appreciate the energy DEVILDRIVER bring in every single show and how this is being transformed when the audience follows suit. This meant that driving downtown was a must for the restless METAL KAOZ crew, and as it turned out, we were not the only ones, as minutes before the JINJER set, Bottom Lounge looked packed as if it was Friday.
Regardless of the Metal genre, I always appreciate a hard working band and I think JINJER had been doing exactly this; storming the stages all around the States and thus have created a solid following. I mean, watching the enthusiasm exploding the moment the lights went out was the sole affirmation I needed. Ok, one can easily credit this to Tatiana’s band-fronting but that would be a shame, since this band presents an interesting side of modern Metalcore which can be really appealing to the younger metalheads. The Ukrainian band did not hold back nor did it wait to get the engines warmed up; yeah, “Words Of Wisdom” kicked off the set at the highest gear making it clear how things would go down. The audience immediately picked up on the band’s highly energetic entrance and made this feel like it was in the middle of the set. This is exactly what I am referring to as a ‘hard-working band’. The sound was better than the previous time I had seen JINJER live and therefore I could appreciate Tatiana’s singing, especially when she shifted from the Metalcore growling to the clean singing. To be honest, her clean vocals are more appealing to me, as I believe there is more room to express oneself as compared to the rather monotonous growling that basically anyone can do. Just pay closer attention to the vocals in “Ape” and how well they are delivered in concert and you will see my point. “Thank you, Chicago - are you doing ok, my friends?” asked Tatiana before “Ape” and I am sure she already knew the answer since the audience was 100% into the show. JINJER have an almost Progressive side which in most cases stays hidden behind the blast-beat explosions and the deep growling, but in some cases this steps into the limelight, like in “I Speak Astronomy” that followed almost without pausing. Yes, JINJER did not waste time speaking but were laser-focused on the packing as much music as it was possible in the time slot they had. For me, the climax moment was “Pisces” even though this was not the fastest song of the set. The way this song floats between the slow parts to the full-on-distortion climaxes is what I would like to see JINJER doing more, and this also ties back to what I was saying about Tatiana’s wide ranged singing. To my ears, her melodic side can come out more powerful than the growling ones but this is clearly a matter of personal taste. After all, the mosh-pit during “Sit Stay Roll Over” was powerful enough to prove that my thinking is definitely not in line with the JINJER fanbase and this is totally fine. I am sure that we will be seeing more of JINJER in the future.
01. “Words Of Wisdom”
03. “I Speak Astronomy”
04. “ Dreadful Moments”
06. “Who's Gonna Be The One”
08. “Sit Stay Roll Over”
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I think that JINJER did a short meet and greet after their set because the venue arena looked empty as the stage was getting ready for the Californians. However, as time was getting closer to showtime, the front rows were quickly filled and everything was hot and ready the moment the lights went out and the intro for “Ruthless” started blasting off the PAs. DEVILDRIVER have a special way in their shows being focused on delivering a tight set at full power without holding anything back. And I am sure the audience inside Bottom Lounge was well-educated on this, because the moshing started almost the moment Dez started growling the lyrics. I think his “make some motherfucking noise” request was immediately granted, and as it happened with JINJER, getting warmed up was thrown out of the window. “Thank you very much for having us” said Dez before keeping the steamroller going with the massive “Hold Back The Day”. Did I say that the mosh-pit was already going? Oh yeah, I did, and things were about to get even more violent-friendly. Unfortunately for me, “Head On To Heartache (Let Them Rot)” came third on the set and that meant dangerously mixing headbanging with taking photos... The groove and the burning lyrics on this one are more than enough to make a metalhead’s blood reach the boiling point at no time. Moments like this, one should appreciate the band’s intention to keep the set tight because the moment the energy levels hit the red zone you need to keep it there as long as your moshing / headbanging / shouting stamina allows it. So yes, Dez got what he asked for when he requested to: “let me see the fuckin’ pit go”. I love what DEVILDRIVER have done on the full of Country cover LP, so I was extremely excited to get a good scoop from that tracklist live. However, it was only “Whiskey River” that made into the set and made me feel a bit of let down since this one came out fricking awesome. They even brought a slide-guitar setup for Neal Tiemann to deliver the solo on this one which I found absolutely awesome. After having experienced the urge to headbang with a Country song, it was time to see a mosh-pit going too... It is only Metal music that gives such thrills, especially when the envelope is being pushed beyond “norms”. Watching the biggest mosh-pit I have ever seen inside the Bottom Lounge I could not but to agree with Dez who said: “You are badass!” and watching the first crowd-surfers during “Grinfucked” made me realized that the audience had more to give on that Sunday night.
Like I said, DEVILDRIVER did everything they could to keep the flow undisturbed, and that (also) meant keep the talking fast and efficient. Yeah, Dez went on to address the mental struggles young kids have (especially these days) by mentioning his running away from home concluding that the solution is not heavily medicating because most of the times this leads to suicide. Of course this was his way of introducing the AWOLNATION cover “Sail” which I am tempted to call as one of DEVILDRIVER songs and stop using the term ‘cover’. This is how awesome they have turned this one. I got shivers down my spine seeing Dez’s denial gesture in response to the lyrics “Maybe I should kill myself”... Fuck yeah, moments like this one are one of the reasons why Metal shows are the ultimate music-listening experience; not only the listening parts of your brain are getting stimulated but also the looking and thinking ones. One more of the many cool things about Metal music is how relevant the lyrics are regardless of the years passed. Yes, “I Could Care Less” has a most fitting meaning to these days when people think that being involved in social media literally means being social… Maybe we all could care less about all these super-liked or up-voted posts...
“We are from California and we need more clouds and rain than ever before”, said Dez to introduce the next one, but also to make a special reference to the terrible wildfires that unfortunately did not only claim properties but human lives too in the west side of the country. I guess there was more energy during “Clouds Over California” in response to all the feelings surfacing up when thinking about this.
One of the many rather unique characteristics on DEVILDRIVER shows is that there are no encores. “We do not do encores and next time you see a band leaving the stage waiting to be asked to return, then leave the venue. This would make them see the life passing in front of their eyes”, said Dez and, to be honest, encores should happen on special occasions and not as part of the show. After all, this is why they call them ‘encores’, right? Anyways, the mosh-pit grew bigger during “End Of The Line” and “The Mountain” which was the last song of the set. The downside of moving the setlist with minimum breaks was that the venue’s light went on after one hour, but at the same time seeing all those exhausted and red hot faces around me made me think that there was not lots of room for more. Well, maybe a couple would fit though. At any rate, watching DEVILDRIVER in action is a unique experience and really one feels like a part of an ever-growing family.
02. “Hold Back The Day”
03. “These Fighting Words”
04. “Head On To Heartache (Let Them Rot)”
05. “Whiskey River”
07. “My Night Sky”
09. “Before The Hangman's Noose”
10. “I Could Care Less”
11. “Clouds Over California”
12. “End Of The Line”
13. “The Mountain”
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