Do you ever get the feeling that something special is about to happen? Well, this is the feeling I have! On my way to the venue tonight, the anticipation is at an extreme level. Making my way to the bar with my mate, we grab a few beers. This alone takes a while because the joint is almost at capacity and nothing has even started. Above all, it’s a Sunday night. So why the hell are we all here? Two brothers, nothing special about that usually, but when the surname is Cavalera and you’re into metal, things begin to tingle. To perform for the masses, Max and Iggor are on the Return to Roots tour. The Roots album is 20 years old and it’s going to be played in full. Sounds good to me!
Starting off the evening, Skindred take to the stage. To be perfectly honest, I have never heard of any of their material until a few hours before I came and I really didn’t think too much of it. But those impressions were soon dispelled as the power and intensity of their live performance wiped what I had heard far from my memory. Cue the intro tape and in a reggae version of the Imperial March from Star Wars… vocalist Benji is a solid performer. His reggae inspired lyrics spit effortlessly out and the banter to and from the crowd is bordering on the humorous side. He definitely knows how to work an audience. Having fun with the crowd is easy to do when one of the intros to a song is “If you’re happy and you know it”. All things aside, Skindred put on a hell of a show, having the crowd bounce along is an easy task. I can definitely understand why they were asked to join the Roots tour.
Every generation or so comes one of those iconic albums, that, when released, single-handedly changes the face of music forever. If you think back, you’ll have one too. In the 90s, one such band did just that. In 1993, the mighty Sepultura released Chaos AD. This was one of the soundtracks to my dysfunctional rebellious teenage years, featuring influences from the tribal peoples of Brazil. Fast forward 3 years, in 1996 the influences from Chaos AD are fully realised and enter Roots. It doesn’t need to be spoken of much here because every metal loving person has heard it. Even my neighbours, years ago, heard it and they detested metal. We all probably know what happened in the history of Sepultura… things happened. Performing tonight under the name Return to Roots, the stage of The Gov is preparing to get destroyed.
The lights are dimming and the room is feeling a little squishy. So much so I feel jealous of the proverbial tin of sardines. Then it explodes…. Max enters the stage with Iggor and Return to Roots tour is going off its nut. The iconic song Roots Bloody Roots is in high gear from the moment Max screams out those 3 little words. The crowd surfing has begun. I am transported back to my teenage years and loving it. The sheer energy Max is exuding is infectious and being transferred throughout the venue. Attitude is an extremely heavy song and to hear it at a decibel level to rival a jumbo jet is just glorious. Each song on the Roots album takes shape in its own storyline. Max’s guitar is exchanged for his tribal bow. Upon striking the single string, Ratamahatta begins and once again the crowd pulsates with energy.
The whole night so far has been brilliant. I’ve been pummelled from behind and kicked unintentionally by crowd surfers. Bassist Tony Campos and lead guitarist Marc Rizzo, who have performed flawlessly take a hard-earned break, leaving the Cavalera brothers to jam on some classic material from their Sepultura days: songs like Desperate Cry, Beneath the Remains and Motorhead’s Orgasmatron to name a few. Playing up to the crowd, they throw in a ACDC tune for good measure.
Witnessing a show of this calibre is one of those life moments never to be forgotten. Seeing the smiles and nature of Max and Iggor, it is plain to see they are having the time of their lives playing this album they created 20 years ago. The pressure is off them on this tour and the band can relax and genuinely enjoy themselves.
I have thoroughly enjoyed myself tonight as has everyone else, this is one concert for the ages!