Unable to open for Metallica because they'd been banned from the Forum in Los Angeles by its Bible-thumping owners, underground metal kings Lamb of God had a choice: Take a couple days off, or vent its frustrations onstage. The band chose the latter--and picked Tucson as the place to unleash its ferocity.
A hostile sold-out crowd packed the Rialto Theatre for 75 minutes of pure anger and brutality. The crowd was a ticking time bomb waiting to erupt, even for openers The Faceless and Job for a Cowboy. During the 30-minute set change before LoG came onstage, the crowd growled for the band in unison.
Once the house lights went out, each band member slowly crept his way onto the stage, and circle pits began--without a single note being played. Vocalist Randy Blythe casually walked onstage smoking a cigarette, appearing as if he'd just woken up. He then removed his baseball hat, extinguished his cigarette, grabbed the microphone and belted a blood-curdling scream with "Hourglass."
Despite playing in arenas for the last month, LoG managed to cram all of its gear onto the smaller Rialto stage. The entire backline was stacked with amplifiers, towering over drummer Chris Adler. Earplugs couldn't protect concert-goers.
No matter how loudly the band played, the rabid crowd consistently competed to see who could be louder. On songs such as "Laid to Rest," "Walk With Me in Hell" and "Now You've Got Something to Die For," the crowd managed to sing the choruses louder than the band was playing.
LoG gave the crowd a taste of its upcoming album, Wrath, by performing "Dead Seeds" and "Contractor." Both songs proved to be thrash-metal firestorms. During "Dead Seeds," Adler pounded his drum kit as if he were a UFC fighter.
Throughout the night, Blythe commented on the L.A. Forum situation. "The owners didn't like our old band name," Blythe told the crowd, "so we said, 'Fuck that; we're going to Tucson where people want to see us play.' We'd rather be here than a fucked-up place like L.A."
As the house lights came back on after LoG finished its set, the band stayed onstage to salute the crowd. Better than L.A., indeed.