Fear Factory

Vega, Copenhagen - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

While disappointing badly at Wacken, I was still hopeful that this old favourite would be able to pull it together as they visited Copenhagen in support of Slayer.

“Good evening Copenhagen, can I see your arms all the way to the back?!”
- Dino Cazares (guitar)

I was concerned that Fear Factory might just have pissed off a lot of fans as they with short notice had cancelled their own headlining gig in Aarhus to go across the country on the same date to play a support slot instead, but as I ended up standing next to a guy from Silkeborg, I suppose there were still people who cared enough to travel far and wide for some cyber metal. Personally, I think it’s a weird decision and somewhat shitty thing to pull on the fans, but you’re not going to hear me complaining about it as I wouldn’t have been able to see them if they had stuck to the original plan.
Whether this had any bearing on the fact that there were almost no people present just prior to Fear Factory taking the stage in Vega or not I cannot say, but the crowd grew steadily once they started playing.

The show opened with the same speech about the coming of the age of machines as their Wacken gig did (yeah, sorry, but there will be comparisons as they played out so close to each other), but then the concert took a very different turn. While retaining most of the same songs, the order in the beginning had been shuffled around a bit, proving once again that Shock is a superior opening track, and quickly following with Edgecrusher, the path for a powerful hit-parade was firmly laid down.
Yes, the setlist proved to be a best off show-case, with excluding only the Archetype tracks to keep in line with the shorter stage-time that the support slot offered, but it was really the performance that made all the difference in the world to me.
While there wasn’t much change in the already effective performance of Matt DeVries, Mike Heller had an improved snap to his beats but was still nothing compared to the improved liveliness of frontman Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares. Bell was delivering generic but effective comments, mostly inside the songs to keep the pace going, and had a good grasp on getting the crowd going as he stepped away from the mic-stand and went to the edge of the stage to grab people’s attention. Heck, he even had some moves for certain songs, like the marching walk in Powershifter.
Cazares on the other hand was all smiles and had great eye-contact; it was easy to see that he enjoyed getting the crowd to raise their fists or headbang their necks to pieces, and appreciated the people who played along and had a good time.

“We’d like to thank Slayer for having us as a special guest!”
- Burton C. Bell (vocals)

But were people playing along?
Well, I’ll tell you this much – there was no doubt that the bulk of the crowd were here to see Slayer, and only Slayer! As I mentioned above, the crowd was late in showing up for Fear Factory’s gig, and even when they were playing the Copenhagen crowd took their sweet time in entering the hall. I don’t know if the fact that Fear Factory was the support band had escaped most people’s attention or what was going on; after all, the announcement had come in rather late, but apart from raised arms and voices upon request from the band, the crowd never really took off.
Arm in arm with my new-found buddy, headbanging till our heads fell off, I sure was having a great time with Fear Factory, and we did our best to provide the show with all the action it deserved, but overall the crowd took things in more calmly than I would have expected. I’m not saying that there wasn’t any action at all, but I really think the bands effort deserved a larger response than they got.

Still, I was glad to see that any fears I had coming to the concert hall that night were put to shame. This 180˚ turn by the band completely restored my faith in them as a live band, and by this time I knew that there was no way in hell Slayer was going to top this performance.
Again, I just hope that they haven’t pissed off too many fans by the sudden change of venue...


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