So, I went to go see Darkest Hour last night co-headline with Lamb of God (who had top billing). Have to say, did not get my $35 worth.
First off, the two opening bands were awful. Now, I'm pretty used to an awesome selection of bands at DH shows: Medic, Municipal Waste, Himsa, A Life Once Lost - all introduced to me through DH shows. He'll, I can even remember seeing bands that I don't care for, like Skeleton Witch or Job For A Cowboy, and thinking 'I can understand why these guys are on the tour, and why people would line them'. These guys? Not so much. The first opener was guilty of the 'Thou Shalt Not Have More Gear On Stage Than The Banda You Are Supportig' rule for just as many players. Second opener reminded me of the second-rate homegrown high-school metal bands you would see opening for national/international metal acts at Phantasmagoria, and sounded like half the band was playing a tune/rhythm different than the other half. Neither will have any staying power.
Darkest Hour was awesome, as always, but there were bones to pick. This is the first DH show I have hit that had a barrier & moat, and the only one at the 9:30 that didn't have any stagediving. Second, the set was way too short, and didn't feature any tracks from Mark of The Judas or So Sedate So Secure. However, they played some awesome tracks - The Sadist Nation, Sound The Surrender, Demon(s), No God, Deliver Us, but little more than that - Also, they let their music do the talking as far as earning new fans among the Lamb Of God crowd: No lighting outside of par 64's, three plywood boxes serving as risers along the front of the stage, no drum riser, no scrim, 1 amp/2 cabs per stringed insturment, drum kit with a single kick and two toms.
Lamb of God was, well, over hyped and over blown The band is alright on record, but they have no stage presence, and they tried to make up for this by throwing money at the problem. The set included a diamond-plate drum riser running the full length of the stage and a lucite-topped riser down-center stage packed full of LED's focused straight up. Under the riser on either side of the drum kit was a row of guitar cabs, about 4-6 on each side. There was a solid scrim hanging upstage of the riser with four screen-printed legs running in front of it. Between those were lights. There were about 20 movers in use, and just as many strobes and 6x VNS Par boxes (half of which were focused downstage at the crowd), and there was at least that many (if not more) LED Color Blast's out, half of which were focused on the drum kit. The kit looked like something Neil Pert or Mike Portnoy would have played. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of impressive excess when it comes to show production, but it has to be well designed. I mean, I have seen bands like Slayer and The Pet Shop Boys do more with less, this just seemed like throwing money at a problem by an entry-level designer with ADD. When the band hit the stage, it was very clear that my $35 went directly into LoG's production budget instead of the bands pockets.
I only hope this tour exposes Darkest Hour to a new and larger fanbase, and that they tour & headline a show in the area for a reasonable price soon to make up for the show last evening. $35 to wait two hours and through two mediocre-at-best opening acts to see an awesome band play for 30 minutes isn't high on my list of how to spend a school night.