Yob, Voivod and more at Gas Monkey Bar & Grill (2019)
Gas Monkey Bar & Grill (Irving, USA)
Yob, Voivod, Amenra
April 14, 2019
YOB, VOIVOID and AMENRA brought a powerhouse triple bill to Gas Monkey Bar & Grill's outdoor stage in the Dallas suburb of Irving last Sunday night. They played an outdoor stage to a pretty packed audience and it was pretty much everything you would hope it to be.
Hypnotic, ancestral, and primal. All of these adjectives are at the forefront of my mind when I discuss YOB or attempt to describe them to new listeners. Though they get casually lumped into the Doom genre more often than not, YOB is more than that. Much more. I would dare to say that their music is more substantial, personal and transcendent. More spiritual. YOB manages to regularly tap into that mystical "X" factor, the unseen musical force that many exploratory bands such as the GRATEFUL DEAD cite as the unexplainable magic that takes over when they play. YOB possess an inventive and unpredictable energy that borders on a spiritual transformation. The band is masterful at understanding the concept of no wasted notes, and in particular, that sometimes the most important note is the one not played.
Following an extensive tour in support of their brilliant 2018 Relapse Records release "Our Raw Heart", guitarist Mike Scheidt, bassist Aaron Rieseberg and drummer Travis Foster took to the road again. This time though, they focused the shows on revisiting some older songs. In fact, based on setlists, catching a song from the recent album on this tour was a rarity. The trio of songs opening these shows pretty constant throughout the tour with "Prepare the Ground" kicking things off followed by "Kosmos" and "The Lie That is Sin". Next, in a somewhat rotating spot of the set the band dropped the title track, "Our Raw Heart", which is a stunning example of just how beautifully melodic heavy riffs can be.
YOB was then joined by AMENRA's bassist Levy Seynaeve for guest vocals on "Grasping Air" before winding things down for the night with blistering renditions of "Atma" and "Adrift in the Ocean". There was no encore, and honestly there was no need, the band had just given the audience its heart and soul. It was a powerful performance and one that left me satisfied, but eager for my next YOB show. As the crowd filtered out of the venue, it was fun to listen to and see so many people trying to wrap their heads around what they just experienced. Undoubtedly, many new fans were created on this night.
Fresh on the heels of winning their Juno Award, VOIVOD was playing their final show of the tour with YOB and AMENRA. It seemed that many in the audience were there specifically for VOIVOD. Why wouldn't they? The band is considered one of the "Big Four" of Canadian Thrash bands, but like YOB, they're a band that seems to unique to be confined to a simple genre constraint. The band was touring in support of their 2018 release "The Wake". The band only played two songs from that release, but they picked two good ones. "Obsolete Beginnings" and "Iconspiracy" both represented the album well, while the remainder of the set saw the band's focus on fan favorites like "Post Society", "Ravenous Medicine" and the set closing "Voivod". This was my first time seeing VOIVOD, and I came away incredibly impressed. Already looking forward to the next opportunity.
Regrettably, I missed AMENRA's opening set due to some technical issues with my camera gear. I had travelled 200 miles to cover this show, and made the disastrous mistake of leaving my camera's battery at home on the charger. Despite a whirlwind visit to multiple stores, I wasn't able to find a replacement and feared the night's photography opportunities lost. Thankfully there were other photographers present, and ultimately I was able to borrow a camera for YOB's set. Though again, I unfortunately missed AMENRA's set due to the self imposed crisis, and was limited to cell phone photos for VOIVOD's set.