Review: Red Fang, In Flames and Opeth at the Riviera Theatre

It’s a chilly December night in Chicago, and after sitting through what seems like forever in traffic on Lakeshore Drive, I’m ready to hear some great live music. I pull into the parking lot just across from the Riviera Theatre, and make my way inside only to feel a sense of community wash over me within minutes. That’s what you get when you attend a metal show.

Going to a metal show is like nothing you’ll ever do. Specifically, seeing bands like Red Fang, In Flames and Opeth in one night is almost a rarity in itself. Your eyes are drawn to others who look, talk, and speak like you – and their just as passionate about the music as you are.

As Red Fang kick things off, I’m hearing their music for the first time ever. It’s clear to me within the first few notes that Corrosion Of Conformity and Baroness must be at least two of their many influences. They put on a solid show! However, by the end of their set I felt as though I preferred Aaron Beam’s vocals. If you don’t know them – you should! Check them out here.

Next, In Flames took the stage. They handled the crowd in a simple, straight-forward way, by addressing the camera-phone issue almost immediately. Anders Fridén suggested that the crowd “take a look at [guitarist] Björn in HD” and not focus so much on their small screens. Then, Anders brought a fan onstage to record a full song so she could post it for everyone on YouTube later. The crowd seemed to listen to Anders and phones were down for the remainder of the show. Good thing! In Flames launched into classics like “Take This Life” and “Delight and Angers” while throwing in newer tunes “Where the Dead Ships Dwell.” They balanced their setlist really well and covered a good portion of their catalogue. It’s my hope that those who attend future metal shows listen to Anders’ words about camera phone usage during the show. You don’t need to be on your phone the whole time to enjoy it! This is the fan video…

Balancing setlists to ensure maximum catalogue coverage must’ve been a theme for the evening because Opeth did the very same thing. They took the stage and launched into “Eternal Rains Will Come” from Pale Communion first, and showed off their talent! Michael Åkerfeldt has been known to be a bit of a comedian at live shows too, and tonight was no different. When he introduced himself he told the crowd, “I’m Lars! Just don’t confuse me with that Danish guy.” Other gems included, “I’m the only one in this band who likes Manowar!”  – you can imagine where things went from there. Opeth surprised me by reaching deep into their catalogue and playing tunes “Windowpane” and “The Lotus Eater” – easily crowd favorites.

Without question each band pleased the fans. Horns were up the entire time, and it’s easy to see why. When you purchase a ticket to see Red Fang, In Flames or Opeth you know what you’re paying for – and that’s a stripped down solely about the music metal show. Watch some small clips of each set below!  -Val

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