BY PAM WHISENHUNT | Go Venue Magazine
It was Friday night, August 26th, 2023 just outside of Council Bluffs, Iowa. We were coming off record-breaking heat, and it was the first cool night we had all week. This group of metal heads were enjoying the breeze and settled in for a night of extreme heavy metal.
Death metalcore band Lorna Shore started things off, bringing a fresh youthfulness to the Mega-Monsters veteran line up. Most people I talked beforehand said they were excited to see them. One fan said they caught their show back in 2017 when they stopped into a little Omaha hole-in-the-wall and no one knew who they were, now they travel the world. It was evident Lorna Shore loved the crowd, and the crowd loved ’em right back.
After a quick stage turn over, the French metal band Gojira performed next. Gojira played a full 13 song set. Not only did they sound great, but they had all the extras; background clips, vibrant lights, plenty of pyrotechnic, a little bit of cryogenics and a sprinkle of confetti and streamers. Gojira was also enjoying themselves, I could see it in their smiles and the way they were connecting to the audience. Gojira is the whole package and could easily headline a tour all by themselves.
Last but certainly not least, Atlanta, Georgia’s own Mastodon finished the night off with a thrashing metal assault on the Iowa crowd. Mastodon crushed a 17 song setlist that spanned their 20-year catalog. I didn’t realize they had so much music. I was definitely impressed with the band’s endurance, highlighted by bassist Troy Sander’s flexibility. Sanders was bending and bowing like a man reliving his youth. Also, Bill Kelliher played to the crowd, stepping out onto a platform hugging the right side of the stage. Concertgoers that stuck around were shown what it takes to be a prevailing metal band.