Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights wasn’t the only hot ticket Saturday night. Swedish extreme metal outfit Meshuggah rocked out to a sold out crowd at Hard Rock Live. Fellow Swedes In Flames opened up.
Hard Rock Live was a sweaty sea of people Saturday night, all revved up for an evening of Swedish metal. One by one the members of In Flames took the stage as the crowd roared louder and louder before they broke into “The Great Deceiver”. A few songs in, lead singer Anders Friden took a minute to assess the congregation. Leaning on the mic stand and smiling out to the gathering, he determined that they were in for a great night. And indeed, everyone was, both onstage and in the audience. The guys from In Flames are non-stop. Their energy is as infectious as their positivity (the irony of writing that about metal is not lost on me). They give so much to their fans.
Not normally brought up in reviews, but the set change needs to be mentioned. A variety of Muzak versions of metal songs were played. It was like being in a metal 8-bit video game. There were no words, but there didn’t need to be. The crowd sang along to every song, including hits by Pantera and System of a Down. It all culminated in a very appreciated “Careless Whisper” by Wham!. Don’t ever let a metal fan tell you they don’t like pop; they know every word!
As the last few notes of Careless Whispers’ saxophone died down, red lights flooded the stage and the members of Meshuggah each stood in front of an illuminated backdrop. Timed perfectly to the music, the lights were frenetic before they launched into “Broken Cog” off their newest album Immutable. Playing a mix of new of known, the energy never waivered, the lights only adding to the intensity. They encored with “Future Breed Machine” off of their first album Destroy Erase Improve before ending the night with “Demiurge”.
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