Those at First Avenue on March 23, 2015 were basically back in the mid to late 1990s again. The club was filled with the sounds Coal Chamber, with opening acts Filter, who shared in the industrial age of music, Minnesota’s own American Head Charge, and Combichrist.
American Head Charge and Combichrist were excellent choices as opening acts for this tour. They got the audience revved up for the evening with their onstage antics and heavy metal sound. It was clear from watching the show that they were really enjoying being there. One of the key moments was at the end of Combichrist when the drummer tore up his drum kit and all the other members wandered aimlessly offstage while the music continued. It was theatrical and entertaining for the audience and band alike.
Filter was a different case. As much as I loved Filter in the 1990s, they seemed to have really changed. They didn’t seem to want to be at the show and it was incredibly unfortunate, as the bands before and after them were fantastic by comparison. They played a very short set of only nine songs, which included well know numbers such as “Hey Man, Nice Shot”, “Welcome to the Fold”, and “Jurassitol”. They remained hidden behind dark lighting and smoke for the majority of the show and Richard Patrick spent a large amount of the set talking, much to the dismay of the disappointed crowd. They seemed an odd choice for such a tour.
Then Coal Chamber came out. They were amazing from the second they took the stage. Their stage consisted of two large platforms and two enormous video screens, with the band mixed amongst them. Throughout the show, the video screens played an great mixture of various edits. They included horror films from the classic era of “Nosferatu” to modern films such as “The Grudge”, “Grave Encounters”, “The Shining”, and much more. I found myself watching and trying to predict what they would play next. The song “Clocks” was accompanied with imagery from the film “Metropolis” and numerous clocks. The imagery mixed with the heavy metal atmosphere made for a haunted house feel, which was incredibly fun.
It was clear when they took the stage who the audience was there to see. It was as if the entire club came alive. Everything went up another notch. Coal Chamber is still as good as they have always been and put on an amazing show. Anyone that saw the show at First Avenue will be back to see them next time around.