One of the longest and heaviest tours of the Summer clears a path through the Midwest, stopping at the BMO Pavilion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The colossal event features the progressive metal sounds of co-headliners Gojira and Mastodon, with support from Lorna Shore, one of the most popular deathcore bands on the scene today.
It’s an outdoor show, but the 100 degree heat doesn’t stop the crowd from showing up early to catch Lorna Shore start things off (Singer Will Ramos comments after the set that it may very well be the hottest show they've played). The pit is packed, and already moving as they launch into "Sun//Eater" to start the set. After the wild "Cursed to Die" and “Into the Earth,” they go to their final three songs of the set, the "Pain Remains" trilogy of tracks, a 20+ minute episodic of growls and wails. In terms of sheer death metal brutality, Lorna stands out in a lineup like this, and while a lot of the amphitheater watched on, the fans in the front quickly took to the group and kept energy up in the pit.
Gojira hits the stage with the ferocious "Ocean Planet" and turns the heat up even higher as plumes of fire rise up above the group. The grooving has begun, and the pounding verses of "Backbone" send the crowd bouncing and moshing, kept up by both "Stranded" and "Flying Whales." The technical abilities of the members of Gojira are truly of merit, performing their fast-paced and intricate songs even in the most miserable weather. The lengthy and intense "Art of Dying" is a testament to the absolute skill of all of the members, as they put on a flawless performance of the powerhouse track. Perpetually shirtless drummer Mario Duplantier (especially in this heat) is always awe-inspiring with his playing, and sticks around mid-set for a hypnotic drum solo.
The majority of the set focuses on tracks from the latest two releases: “Magma” and “Fortitude,” but thankfully includes some of the heavier essentials from “The Way of All Flesh” and “From Mars to Sirius.” The crowd joins in with the band in singing along to “The Chant,” a calmer moment during the heavy set. As Gojira switches the final song between tour stops, they end the set in Milwaukee with “The Gift of Guilt,” as pyro falls down from the top of the stage.
As the sun fully sets, a light breeze rolls off of Lake Michigan offers a slight reprieve from the heat. Exhausted fans move to the back to get complimentary (thankfully) water and rest after the heavy activity during Gojira. As Mastodon takes the final slot of the night, they go full steam ahead, giving some energy back to the tired crowd with “The Wolf is Loose” and “Crystal Skull.” There’s plenty to pull from, and they go into the archives, with a massive 17 song set. Heading more into a sludgy metal direction over Lorna Shore and Gojira, there isn’t much moshing happening, but the crowd seems to be ready to vibe to the heavy riffs and psychedelic presentation that their stage setup offers. The unique visual aesthetic complements their music perfectly, and makes for a wild visual and auditory experience.