Last Night: Lamb Of God At Bayou Music Center

Thursday night the lights at Bayou Music Center went out at ten sharp, and the crowd roared in anticipation as a building was demolished onscreen and the stage was shrouded in a green-tinted smoke.

Percussionist Chris Alder sat down at his kit first, followed by guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell and finally, vocalist Randy Blythe. As Blythe strutted to the front of the stage, he gave a guttural welcome to the crowd, pacing back and forth and pouring bottled water over his dirty dreadlocks before taking a swig.

A voice like his needs to stay hydrated, I'm sure.

By the time I arrived on site, the venue's floor had been so soaked in beer that it was more of a slip and slide than a stable surface on which to place your feet.

The drum beats and bass chords got all our hearts beating at maximum capacity, while the singer howled and shrieked and the crowd moshed, surfed over one another's heads and screamed along. There was no way I was going to keep my footing, so I just let myself get caught up in the music.

"We have returned to what I consider the rowdiest town I Texas," Blythe said as his fans screamed their approval. "I've toured a lot of places, and you people are frrrrreeeeaks!"

LOG's set list was varied, incorporating tracks off almost all of the band's seven studio albums, including "Ruin," "11th Hour" and "Now You've Got Something To Die For."

A friend even told me that the video for "11th Hour" was originally banned from MTV, which, of course, made me want to watch it right away. LOG hadn't played "11th Hour" for nearly five years, Blythe told screaming fans. The last time they played it in Houston was when they performed at the Engine Room.

"That club was bad ass," he added with a chuckle.

"Now You've Got Something To Die For" was dedicated to men and women in uniform. On the screens behind LOG, a slideshow of military personnel was displayed. Blythe told the crowd that these pictures were of LOG fans, who had sent in their pictures in to the band.

Regardless of your political affiliation or personal view of war, Blythe told the crowd that the men and women onscreen had earned our respect, and the crowd agreed.

For me, the drum solo and time signature changes during "Ruin" were especially impressive. The rest of the crowd, meanwhile, was eager to soak up every moment of the bands performance.

The most notable aspect of the show was how clear every instrument sounded. A number of metal shows I've attended are a hodgepodge of energy, sweat and loud and aggressive, if poorly executed, music. But LOG are true professionals in a musical sense, and they just happen to know how to work a crowd, too.

Now you'll have to excuse me, because I can't hear a damn thing.

Personal Bias: I've been steadily dipping my musical feet into the waters of metal for a while now, and I've heard that, as far as live performances go, Lamb of God are the pinnacle of metal. No argument here.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Make fun of his dreadlocks all you want, but the music is tight."

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