The Epic Kings and Idols Tour hit Los Angeles to a packed house.  Anticipation and enthusiasm were high. The merch booths were selling well as the crowd was littered with brand new shirts, particularly of KATATONIA and the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT.

LA’s very own STOLEN BABIES were first up with their eccentric brand of heavy music.  Always up for a challenge in front of a straight up metal crowd, the band bashed through their set with all the charisma and energy that they show on their headlining shows.  It’s always cool to see  first time spectators have a bewildered look on their faces as they watch this crazy band that looked like they jumped out of the Beatlejuice movie.  They played a few songs off of their upcoming album, Naught, which sounded right at home with their debut, There Be Squabbles Ahead.  Vocals were a bit low in the mix but still a sweet performance.

The legendary PARADISE LOST made the best of things with their short set time.  Vocalist Nick Holmes was supposedly feeling under the weather but he carried on and sounded fine.  Regardless of whether they play in front of huge crowds in Europe or smaller ones in the States, these guys are a total world class act.  Their set featured many songs from their solid new album, Tragic Idol.  A few old faves were thrown in to quell the desires of the old school PARADISE LOST fans that made their presence known.  One of these days, PARADISE LOST will need to do a proper headlining tour of the U.S.

Co-headliners KATATONIA took the stage to a packed house.  Unsurprisingly, their lighting and sounds were significantly better than the bands that played before them.  The adulation from the audience was very impressive as so many were absolutely stoked.  The band performed the way one would expect – everything was well played.  The rotund Jonas Renske was his usual subdued self with his mass of hair covering his face for what seemed like the entirety of the set.  The band reached far back as Discouraged Ones to perform “Deadhouse.”  The focus of the set was on the clean vocal-era of the band.  It was apparent that KATATONIA had amassed brand new fans during the past few albums.

The DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT drew the most excitement and anticipation from the crowd.   There was a good 30-40 minute wait as a bizarro video channel featuring Ziltoid put up on the projector, featuring lots of weird, random videos from around the world.  Many of Devin‘s “nerd metal” fans were totally into it while others found it unfunny.   The band’s setlist was a bit of a buzzkill as it contained much of Devin‘s eclectic songs from Deconstruction.  In other words, lots of heavy chugging, loud drumming, and song sections that just go into more or less of a monotonous place in a live setting.  When they played songs such as “Vampira” and “Bad Devil,” it gave the audience life and energy.  We all love Devin but I don’t know if the crowd, who was standing almost completely still during most of the set, was all that enthused about doing so.

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