Review by Tammy Lomax for MPM
I made a point in one of my reviews recently about how life is about moments. We should grab those moments with both hands, inhale and taste every single molecule of them. They are notably precious and not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow.
In my personal day to day life, I operate at 1000 miles an hour. I wouldn’t have it any other way as it keeps the gremlins cornered, but sometimes I get vastly sucked into the matrix and forget to value those magical memorable moments.
If I had it my way, my work laptop would be set on fire then thrown out the window but it’s a work laptop so I simply closed the lid. My 9-5 has come to a halt and my work here is done. Anxiety, excitement, all the emotions you could possibly imagine were circulating my whole body at a ridiculous speed. I began to make my journey to the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. Along with many others, I have been ready and waiting for a couple of years to see Gojira. For obvious reasons the Fortitude Tour was postponed a couple of times.
Those that know me well, know how much they mean to me. They dragged me out from the darkest of places and kept me fighting so strongly for what I believed in, they saved my life.
I’m here, I’ve arrived. I took a deep breath in as I got out of the station and absorbed my surroundings. Oh how I’ve missed the city life, I was born for the city. Nottingham is swarming with life, I am a little panicked though as time is tight. Dashing towards my hotel to check in and zooming through the city like I’m “trying” to run a marathon. I throw my bag in my room and dart for the venue. Surprisingly it did not take long at all to get there, thank goodness for my long dangly legs and of course Google maps.
Puffed and sweating but I’ve made it! The feelings of nostalgia begin instantly as I witness tons of metalheads hurdling to unite and watch one of the most successful iconic metal bands to date.
Running past the Gojira merch stand and pow! I’m inside, phew, yay and… breathe.
British metal band Employed To Serve were totally owning the stage as I entered. I was truthfully gutted I didn’t catch all of their set but they had already concreted an excellent, strong atmosphere.
They have surged massively in the metal scene over the last few years and it became instantly apparent as to why. Here they are supporting Gojira, smashing through their performance with utter heaviness and complete annihilation, gosh they were heavy. Justine Jones was whirlwinding her hair and herds of metallers stood in complete respect.
From what I did catch, they were full of intensity and their overall sound structure was cleverly projected with stacks of flexibility. They excelled at their delivery with edge and provided an array of assortments of metal, supplying the crowd with their assaulting, tightly efficient music.
New Zealand three piece band Alien Weaponry took to the stage next after a moment of breathing space and what an incredible entrance. Many of their songs are in New Zealand’s native language “Te Reo Maori”. Although they are very young they have indubitably marked the next generation of metal music, they hold some evolutionized music talent between all three of them.
They were astounding to watch. The lovely security guard let me take a seat for a moment so I watched them from the side left of the stage, which was a perfect view. Drummer Henry de Jong presented himself first doing the Haka, representing a display of pride, strength and unity with rhythmic body slapping whilst accompanying chants. I was completely captivated.
He welcomed guitarist Lewis de Jong and bass player Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds and they all began to discharge their set opening with the track Raupatu. This was the perfect track to get things moving. There was a colossal amount of energy chucked at the crowd and their stage presence was fuelled with miliantancy.
They had my undivided attention, I could feel the bass and drums physically shaking my whole seat. Tūranga Morgan-Edmonds’ energy was blazing throughout, he is an incredible bass player. Closing their performance with track Kai Tangata, at this point the crowd was gearing and ready to mosh, with some encouragement from guitarist Lewis de Jong, telling the crowd to divide for the wall of death.
What a wholly blinding supply of energy they presented and everything was enormously balanced. Those meaty riffs just poured out one after the other and were pulled out of the bag flawlessly. Their passion in their music is severely supplied with efficiency and it was an honor to watch them fulfill their moment on this stage.
Now, hold onto your socks because this is why we are all here, Gojira baby! I am soaking in the whole atmosphere around me, stamping this moment in time and breathing it all in, making a memory to last a lifetime. Swarms of people are now entering the venue and some are popping off to get a drink, preparing themselves, it’s all very exciting.
I refuse to sit down for this though as I want to immerse and embed myself into this as much as I physically can. I get my butt up and make my way to my usual spot, center back near the sound desk. I believe it’s where the best sound is and you’ll always catch me there at live gigs. They have a timer counting down and I start to squeak inside, Gojira is happening right now.
They open up their set with the incredible Mario Duplantier smashing his drums behind the curtains with the lights electrically flashing. The curtains drop and here we are, Gojira are presented on stage, uncovered right in front of us all. What an entrance, what a feeling! They opened with the mighty track Born For One Thing which comes from their 2021 album, Fortitude.
I was born for one thing and it was this. What an incredible feeling that ran through every single bone in my body, I was gratefully stumped. Gojira was instantly tenacious in their execution and the whole venue just exploded. I saw masses of heads headbanging to the riffs and everything was in full swing.
Keeping the momentum gushing, they dive straight into the next track The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe, what a downright phenomenal start. The visuals are exceptionally hypnotizing and they just pull you in. Gojira is just crashing through this stomping track, I am in total awe like everyone around me. The sound is exceptional and just pours superiority and this is exactly why they are at the top of the game.
When track Stranded came into play, it all went off, the whole venue erupted with sheer force and blinding lights. It was unquestionably one of the prettiest things I’ve ever witnessed optically, whilst my skull was being beaten with all the heavy, a contrast of many feelings and all delightfully wonderful.
There was fire and precisely timed confetti which dropped from the ceiling as the drums pounded. I sang every single lyric and my whole soul surfaced to behold this magnificent moment. Everyone was bouncing and arms were flying everywhere, their entire stage presence was eye-popping.
Flying Whales is one of my paramount tracks of all time, it is from their third album From Mars To Sirius. I believe this was the album that shaped them into who they are now. It represents the journey of war within ourselves, in our flesh and in our mind.
Visually a whale is being projected on the huge screen in front of us, it’s precisely stunning. An array of beautiful blue tones lighting up the whole atmosphere, silver confetti dangling and floating from the ceiling as the whale sings its song. We all stand for a couple of minutes mesmerized by the nature of this whale, the guitar melodies and the slow drums.
Hands are in the air and we are all preparing for the track to kick in. It’s a muscular track, the French metallers did this one proud. Hundreds of people bob their heads to the riff and groove, Joe Duplantier’s vocals are a fierceful powerful force.
There is an authentic deeper meaning behind every single track Gojira released. Their most recent single released is Our Time Is Now, this was another track they played which really stood out for me. They really exemplified themselves and it was up there with one of their tightest sounding tracks too. This song is about standing up for yourself, the world can be full of bitterness and a real grim twisted place to live. Let’s all fight and shine our light, outcast that darkness. It’s such a strong message and I’m all here for it, I live for it.
As a whole, Gojira pulled off a set which is beyond belief and beyond words. The visuals were bedazzling, every single track had its own personal impression which was perfectly calculated with the deeper message behind each song.
Their musicianship is mind blowing, dedicated and consistently faultless, pulling on your heart and punching you in the face at the same time.
This event was one of the most anticipated moments in my music career, witnessing Gojira play live. I am still gathering myself together after one of the most positive, emotionally exhausting journeys I’ve experienced, what a moment right?!
I feel totally blown away, honored, proud and need a hug.
Photography by Manny Manson for MPM