1 Disturbed puts on intense, high-energy performance on Sun 07 Jun 2009, 02:02
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The muscular bald man at the centre of Tuesday's multi-band, hard-rock extravaganza at Scotiabank Place was David Draiman, lead singer for the Chicago band Disturbed.
Wielding a microphone like it was a megaphone, he resembled a superhero handyman in his sleeveless coveralls, striding purposefully across the stage as he flexed his vocal pipes.
He was a man on a mission, determined to fix whatever irked with a high-decibel blast of modern rock energy.
But he didn't take kindly to a display of rudeness in the front row. The concert was flying along when Draiman suddenly stopped between songs to scold one hapless woman, whom he accused of trying to drag her boyfriend home.
"If you're in the front row, at least pretend you're having a good time," he told her.
Chances are she had a bus to catch, and it was already past 11 p.m. There were three opening acts also on the bill, which definitely added bang to the concert buck but made for a long night.
Fortunately for Draiman's ego, the other 4,498 fans were oblivious to the lateness of the hour, too busy having their faces melted by the intensity of the charismatic singer and his band.
In the scaled-down configuration of the arena, it looked like at least half the crowd was in the mosh pit on the arena floor.
Things began on a slightly creepy note as Draiman was wheeled on stage looking like a corpse on a hand cart. But after removing his mass-murderer mask, it didn't take him long to prove his mettle as a live singer.
His siren-like voice elevated songs like Liberate and Just Stop to dizzying heights, while the band peeled out slab after slab of prog-flavoured tribal-heavy rock behind him.
"My brothers and sisters, my blood, speak to me," the singer intoned at one point, cackling an evil laugh. "Are you ready to transform into beings that are indestructible?"
Indestructible, in case you don't know, is the title of the band's latest album, but it also seems to be the right word to describe the band's level of performance, especially this deep into their Music as a Weapon tour.
When they pounded out songs such as the Grammy-nominated Inside the Fire, Stricken and Ten Thousand Fists, the turbo boost came effortlessly, whipped into shape after months on the road.
Also exhilarating for the crowd were two old cover songs, a crisp take on Genesis' Land of Confusion and a singalong treatment of Tears for Fear's Shout.
In the crowd, the young 'uns had a great time, particularly the teenage boys who looked to be on their own at a show for the first time. They shoved each other around, held their lighters and cellphones high, and hollered in response to Draiman's bidding: "We are disturbed."
Of the opening acts, American metalcore act All That Remains weighed in with the heaviest sound, while the Welsh reggae-metal band Skindred were the most fun, thanks to the antics of dreadlocked frontman Benji Webbe.
Vancouver's Art of Dying were added to the opening slot, breaking the ice by inspiring a debate as to whether they sounded more like Skid Row or Bon Jovi.