Friday’s “Mass Concerts” promoted show was an all around logistical disaster. For starters, the show was moved from its original venue - the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell - to the nearby Lowell Memorial Auditorium. However the word of the change was not spread well, causing many fans, and even the bands to show up at the original venue. The show was grossly undersold as well, not so much a reflection on the bands, who have each sold out larger venues in this area on their own, but more on the promotion.
The show itself started 20 minutes earlier than any listing had detailed. By the time many fans arrived - including myself - All That Remains was more than halfway through their set. From what I was able to catch of their set, the fans who turned out to support the MA natives were beyond pleased with the band’s performance. Known for their high energy sets, All That Remains was hurt by the earlier than expected set time, leaving them to play in front of barely hundreds of people.
Next up were Finnish gothic rockers H.I.M. also known as His Infernal Majesty. The fans who were there for them gave the band a tremendous amount of support. However many of the fans in attendance who were more interested in All That Remains and Volbeat gave H.I.M. little respect. Their set was met with jeers from the crowd, despite the fact that they put on a great set. H.I.M.’s set was an excellent display of crisp musical talent coupled with an ability to create a great musical atmosphere with their stage production. They played several hits including “Buried Alive By Love” and “Join Me In Death” alongside cuts from their latest release “Tears on Tape” one new track in particular that stood out to me, was the show opening “All Lips Go Blue” which is a great, true rock tune that stands tall built on the classic structure of rock n roll.
Danish metal giants Volbeat took the stage around 9:30 to a rousing applause from the crowd, which had finally filled in pretty well. Volbeat began their set with the popular track “Hallelujah Goat” off their 2008 release “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood.” A typical Volbeat sets blends classic tracks, new tracks, and cover snippets of well known songs. Prior to playing the Johnny Cash inspired “Sad Man’s Tongue,” Volbeat teased the classic Cash track “Ring of Fire.” The fast paced “16 Dollars” made for perhaps the best, and fastest circle pit of the night. New songs off the critically acclaimed “Outlaw Gentleman & Shady Ladies” were sprinkled in through the set. “Dead but Rising,” The Nameless One” and “Lola Montez” were among the highlights of new material. Volbeat even mixed in something interesting, playing a metalized version of “My Body” the hit song originally performed by Young The Giant. “Still Counting” closed the main set for Volbeat, coming after the band teased “Breaking The Law” and “Raining Blood.”
Volbeat’s encore was lead off by the smash metal hit of 2012, “A Warrior’s Call” followed up with a new track, and Dusty Springfield cover “Only Wanna Be With You” displaying the diversity that the band is capable of working into their set. The night ended with a humorous take on their song “Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza” when frontman Michael Poulsen invited all children in the audience onstage and changed the song to a more kid-friendly “Pool of Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate.” Frontman Michael Poulsen put on a great display of showmanship, showing the characteristics of a seasoned frontman. No doubt that the band’s experience and wide popularity in their home country of Denmark, plays into how good of a show they can put on in the United States as they try to expand their identity.