1. Gojira w/ Devin Townsend Project & The Atlas Moth @ House of Blues in Chicago, IL
Not a whole lot needs to be said to explain this choice. A road trip up to Chicago was in order after hearing about this tour. To me, both Gojira and DTP are the most inspirational and influential musicians in metal today. Spanning across every genre, Devin has captured more attention and appreciation with every release by not showing fear of experimenting outside the box and limiting himself to the expectations of fans. Music is about releasing your emotions in an abstract form of art. Art is open to interpretation. When you focus too much on what people expect you to sound like is when you lose your artistic creativity.
2. Meshuggah w/ Animals As Leaders & Intronaut @ Pop’s
Absolutely crushing set by the ‘Shug featuring a lot of new material from Koloss. This show was the first in a while that I’d been to at Pop’s. It was packed to the brim and sweaty as all hell – even up in the balcony. The intensity of the crowd was almost as punishing as the music itself. I saw a ton of Devin Townsend gear being worn at the show. I was wearing my Epicloud hoodie that I bought at the show in Chicago and received a few hollers from fellow fans walking by.
3. Soilwork w/ Jeff Loomis @ Firebird
Finally got to see Soilwork headline! Between the expansive set, and seeing them play 1 ft away, it was well worth the wait. Sucks that Loomis had his gear stolen after the show. St. Louis sucks sometimes.
4. Amon Amarth w/ CoB, Battlecross, & Huntress @ Pop’s
I was so excited that St. Louis got an off-date from the Rockstar Mayhem Tour – rather, an after-date. The main reason I went was to see Amon Amarth (and Battlecross) and it was apparent that the crowd was as well. They were epicly loud and rambunctious during Amon Amarth’s set, belting out the words to nearly every song – including the newest material off Deceiver of the Gods.
5. Opeth & Katatonia @ Pop’s
It was so nice to see Opeth again – and Katatonia for the first time. They had both skipped over St. Louis on their previous North American runs, so this show was not one to be missed. A very different, mellow (almost stoner) feel to Opeth’s setlist on this tour promoting Heritage. An acoustic version of Demon of the Fall? How can you go wrong.
6. TesseracT w/ Scale the Summit & Anciients @ Fubar
Any chance you get to see Scale the Summit live is a treat in itself. You tend to get lost in the music and drift away as you stand there in awe at Chris and Travis bending spoons with guitar strings right before your eyes. The new tunes of The Migration sounded flawless and even more crushing live than on the album.
7. Last Chance to Reason w/ Evan Brewer @ Fubar
There are last chance’s for many things. In this case, it was the final opportunity to catch Last Chance to Reason before an inevitable, long-term hiatus commenced due to the vocalist parting ways to join The Contortionist. The reason this show ranks so highly on my list is because of the opening act, Evan Brewer and his epic bass-playing. Rounding out the live band with Navene K of Animals As Leaders and The Faceless, the live performance was incredible. I found myself standing there in awe watching the two of them build off each other’s energy.
8. Iron Maiden & Megadeth @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St. Louis
FINALLY I’m able to check the metal masters Iron Maiden off my list of metal bands to see before I die. They still jump around on stage and kick ass. Better than what I ever expected.
9. Trivium & Devildriver w/ After the Burial @ Pop’s
Going to this show felt like I was taking a trip back about 10 years in time. I used to love Trivium. Their first 2 albums were amazing, and then they pulled an Avenged Sevenfold and changed their sound to mimic Metallica – not the good era. Devildriver, on the other hand, lost my interest with Pray for Villains, but regained my interest with The Beast, as well as their most recent album, Winter Kills. After the Burial were a nice addition and were the deal-breaker on whether or not I was going to attend this show. I’ve always had a soft spot for AtB. In Dreams didn’t stick with me as much as Rareform did, but the new album Wolves Within is another leap in the right direction.
10. Veil of Maya w/ Vildjharta @ Fubar
Vildjharta was the main reason I went to this show. Veil of Maya puts on a fun show, but the douche-tastic hardcore kids always ruin it for me. When will these ninjas die out? I thought the trend was over…