Slayer at The Forum
Date: August 5, 2017
Venue: The Forum
Location: Inglewood, CA
This past weekend, the Mighty Slayer brought their A game back to SoCal with the back up of heavy metal heavyweights, All-American Metal band Lamb of God and Polish Black Metal masters Behemoth.
The Forum has been home to some amazing evenings in its glorious existence, the Miracle on Manchester, 3-Peats, and musical acts such as; Maiden, Metallica, Sabbath, SOAD, and… Garth. Now it is home to musical events that only a venue this size can accommodate.
I arrived early, early birds gets special parking prices off the lot, and because I wanted to make sure I got all my ducks in order. Sometimes, especially on an evening like Saturday in Los Angeles, the amount of requests can be daunting for the PR people to have to keep straight (Thank you Arielle). Los Angeles has always been a pain, especially when the headliners are hometown heavies AND not to mention, Slayer was filming for an upcoming DVD. The rumored pyro show was going to be second-to-none.
Speaking of theatrics… Behemoth took the stage ready to challenge repented souls and to welcome the un-repented to follow them into the depths… I have seen them before; it was during daylight and on a monster stage… It was not what I saw on Saturday. Behemoth took what stage space they had and made it theirs… They took the “tiny house” concept and reworked it for a live setting. Behemoth worked every inch of it, with backdrops, props, and the energy of what a TRUE metal band is capable of. Not gonna lie, my days of knowing song titles, lyrics, and band member rotation are long gone, but I know a great performance when I see it… These guys didn’t get to play very long, but took the time they had to make it one of the most memorable opening acts I have ever seen. Read some of their posts on instagram, their fans couldn’t agree more…
Lamb of God (LoG)… And I quote, “An All American Metal band,” have finally made it to The Forum. I may have purposefully neglected to mention the once “Great Western Forum,” also became the home for a Mega-Church. For this reason, more than a few heavier bands were denied access to this venue. Even as main support on previous US tours, LoG was one of those who were blacklisted from playing here, so for LoG this was monumental occasion, Randall made it very clear in-between songs. Like the openers Behemoth, I have been fortunate enough to see LoG prior to this evening, with another SoCal favorite, Suicidal Tendencies. On that show it was straight up rock n roll, with very little on stage other than cabinets and their name… Well this time it was a visual explosion, second only to their music. It is cool to see a trend that not all headliners dumb down their support anymore. If I didn’t know that this was a Slayer show, I would have been convinced LoG was headlining the Forum. LoG blasted through a fairly long set of fan favorites old and new. Their energy is palatable; you can feel it from the “well” to the very upper seats, where Kareem’s banner used to hang. The crowd never let up… Singing and responding to Randall’s every word. LoG can be added to memorable moments within the confines of The “Great Western” Forum.
All that can be said ‘bout the headliner has been said… Southern Californian bred… Theatrical… Evil… Controversial… Totally cool guys… One of The Big 4… Albeit a different lineup from previous tours I have seen, it is still Slayer… The only thing that has REALLY changed are the fans. Do not get me wrong, they are still badder than bad, they still come inked head to toe, still (try) to wear shirts from “Haunting Chapel,” a bit older. But, they ain’t driving up in beat up Toyotas and Datsun mini trucks, and Nova’s, anymore… No No… They roll up in Bentley’s, Land Rovers, and any other German made auto, Holy Christ it was crazy…
The stage was as big as any I have witnessed in The Forum before; the sound was equal to any band that previously shared that corner of the floor, and the fan frenzy was equal only to itself, a Slayer crowd. They hit on all the classics, the one’s that any 14 yr old to 50 yr old could sing while in a coma and also from their latest release “Repentless.” For me I’ve not seen Slayer without their core members before, “Did I mention 33x… Ok, enough about that…” It didn’t really matter, Tom’s voice still scares the crap out of the kid in me and Kerry’s fretboard attack makes my head implode and I finally got to see Jeff’s replacement… A fine replacement Gary has proven to be.
I did not get to photograph the band, like the others, because as I mentioned before Slayer was recording this show. They did not want a bunch of bodies in the “well’’ distracting from the band. So, a select few were given the good fortune of shooting from side and above and behind the roving camera. I for one was not fortunate in that way, but seeing Slayer from the floor with a crowd a bit less frenzied than in the past, on the perimeter, was a golden opportunity. Thanks to all those that made it happen and until the next time… Peace fellow Metal Maniacs!!!!