GIG REVIEW: FEAR FACTORY with ONCE HUMAN & DEAD LABEL Live at The Academy, Dublin
As 2015 draws to a close, many of the tours that have been underway throughout year enter their final leg. Naturally, one hopes the last gig they attend before the year ends will be a great one, something fitting to wrap up 2015. What went down in Dublin’s The Academy on Thursday night was just that. Taking the audience through a journey of rock, from fresh blood to seasoned pros to pioneers-turned-legends, what went down at Fear Factory’s sold-out show was a testament to rock and metal, with all three bands giving their best for the Irish crowd.
As Ireland’s own Dead Label took to the stage, a traditional Irish tune played through the PA as a warm welcome home was bellowed to them from their own home crowd. Full of new-found confidence, Dead Label showed that they had learned from those they’d played with in the last few years. Their sound, performance and cohesion as a collective was tight and brimming with power, showing why they have grown rapidly within the metal scene, and also showing how much they have matured as a band. If Dead Label keep working as hard as they have, striving to always better their material and continuing to put on the show they gave at The Academy, it will be no surprise to see their success grow even further.
With barely time for a beer run, change-overs were finished and Once Human walked on stage to a haunting intro number. If all the members of Once Human aren’t experienced playing on a scale quite this big, like the old saying goes, it only takes one; the one in question being seasoned pro Logan “Mr. Davidian” Mader. The ex-Machine Head guitarist has led this group of young musicians into the studio and his talents as a producer has resulted in their debut album ‘The Life I Remember’ which they were supporting on the night. Some apparent jitters aside, singer Lauren Hart won over the crowd with stand out tracks “The Life I Remember” and “Pick Your Poison,” finishing with “Davidian” while Mader and the band worked the entire stage. Despite some first time nerves, Once Human won the usually tough Dublin audience by storming them with a great set, earning themselves a “you are welcome, come back for a pint,” the highest honor the Irish can bestow.
Taking to the stage to celebrate twenty years of ‘Demanufacture’ and twenty-five years as a band, Fear Factory owned the sold-out crowd even before the intro music had finished. The venue, stacked to the point were it felt as if the audience were about to burst through the walls, exploded as vocalist Burton C. Bell introduced the show with the words, “This is Demanufacture.” Then, it all kicked off. Playing the album from start to finish, the set-list was (or at least should have been) fairly obvious. Spending little time between songs for chitchat in most of the duration of the set, Fear Factory chose instead to keep a heavy foot pressed down hard on the accelerator. Song by song, each track came with an even bigger punch than the one before. At one point, current live bassist Tony Campos, who’s served as the bassist for Static-X, Soulfly and Ministry as well, had the crowd laughing when he said, “Everyone’s looking at me like, who is that guy? No, I am not Kerry King!” All jokes aside, Campos brought his own individual presence to an outstanding set.
Whether it was the ‘Demanufacture’ tracks, classics such as “Edgecrusher” or favorites from new album ‘Genexus’ like “Soul Hacker” or “Regenerate,” Fear Factory left no fan disappointed. Throughout, the band looked entirely comfortable and respectful of each other’s space as they utilized the entire stage. Truth be told, the stage never looked quite so big as when Fear Factory made it their own! Guitarist Dino Cazares worked the corners while Bell held front and centre, with Campos handling everything in between and drummer Mike Heller holding the beast together. As the show came to a close, there were a few special moments. Bell, taking a moment to express his thanks and appreciation to Dublin, and to Fear Factory fans worldwide, made the time to say a few nice words about the support acts. At this point, he went a step further, dragging unsuspecting Dead Label guitarist Danny up on stage to have fans sing a belated Happy Birthday; surely one of Danny’s top ten memories of all time no doubt! After they played their finale “Martyr,” they left the stage to Rick Astleys’ “Never Going To Give You Up,” playing through the speakers, as an exhausted but delighted Dublin audience grabbed tossed picks and set list as mementos.
Fear Factory have produced some amazing music, and continue to produce the same. On Thursday at The Academy, Dublin, they reminded audiences why they were, and still are, one of the best bands around. On a tour celebrating their anniversary whilst also simultaneously supporting their new album ‘Genexus,’ they did much more than provide the usual youthful support act contrasted with the experienced headliners. Rather, this was a fusion of both youth and experience, opening the stage up to the past, present and future of rock and metal, celebrating what was, what is and what is yet to come. And on this evidence, the future looks promising.