Down / Voivod / Danava / Weedeater
Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC August 10
By Greg Pratt
Although New Orleans stoner metallers Down were headlining this bill, in a way the night belonged to Canuck metal heroes Voivod, not to mention pot.
Starting things off were Weedeater, whose excellent set may have been a bit too aggressive for many in the crowd, with their feedback-laden slow-mo sludge bringing to mind Eyehategod in all the right ways. The night's next act, Danava, were a throwback to the '70s in more ways than one: the noodling songs, the love of drawn-out proto-doom, the geeky vocals and the even more geeky appearance. Props, though, for a Running Wild shirt and a bassist who looks like a young Cliff Burton.
With Blacky on bass and new guy Dan Mongrain kicking ass on guitar, Voivod kicked off their set with "Voivod," "The Unknown Knows," "The Prow," "Ravenous Medicine" and "Tribal Convictions," and it was obvious these guys are back in top form. It wasn't just the crowd who thought so: Down's Jimmy Bower was watching in admiration at the side of the stage and his front-man Phil Anselmo came out for a duet of "Nothingface," yelling "Voivod!" into the mic and bowing to the band like a teenage fan. The Canadian metal heroes played a set of classics and even threw in one tune off their new disc, Infini, which fit in the set perfectly.
By the time Down came on, the sold-out venue was a haze of smoke as the touring bands partook in the BC bud experience. The headliners tore through their set, drawing from all their albums and proving that tunes like "Ghosts of the Mississippi" and "On March the Saints," as we all suspected, do sound really fucking good live.