Taking to the stage just before half past seven on Thursday were French metal gods (I think it’s safe to say they’re gods now) Gojira. There was a long time when few people knew the name Gojira but that time has passed and a skyrocketing tour with Metallica and headliner slots at most major festivals, Bayonne’s contribution to metal has established itself as one of the most talented, hard-hitting metal sounds in the world. If you haven’t heard Gojira’s sound (where have you been hiding?!) then imagine what a band like Sepultura would sound like if they originated in France and you’ll be close enough.
I can hardly find a time in the past few years where Gojira haven’t been touring. I was lucky to have a great photographer in Ireland (the sage Fiaz Farrelly) point me in the direction of listening to Gojira since he had been their photographer for a time and he couldn’t stress how much I would fall in love with this band. He was right, I was hooked but by then it was too late to catch their Dublin show. Now, at northern Spain’s heaviest music festival it was time to right that wrong.
Joe Duplantier and brother Mario take the stage along with guitarist Christian Andreu and bassist Jean-Michel Labadie kicking straight into Oroborus, the circle of life and death. Opening with that insane tapping guitar riff and then biting vocals, you’d swear you were listening to a recording their sound was so perfect. Soon after came big hits like Stranded and mosh fuel Flying Whales. In truth every song was amazing right through Grammy-nominated Silvera, heavy hitting L’Enfant Sauvage before finishing off with Blow Me Away You (Niverse) from debut album Terra Incognita. The sound and pyrotechnics were great and well-timed throughout and it wasn’t even too hard to squeeze my way through the crowd for a closer look.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who wanted a closer look because after the set finished Mario Duplantier ran off stage and joined the crowd on his body board. He was literally going to crowd surf. “Don’t keep him, we need that mother-fu*ker back on stage to finish the tour” his brother Joe said over the microphone.
In hindsight I think I would rather see them in a smaller venue on their own rather than as part of a festival billing to get the experience I was looking for but there’s no denying Gojira are one of the metal bands you absolutely have to see in your life.
Until next time, Gojira.
The Shooting Star
Blow Me Away You(niverse)
Playing Time: 60 minutes