Live Review: Gojira - Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
21st February 2023
Support: Employed to Serve, Alien Weaponry
Words: Cat Finch
Photos: Tim Finch
After a couple of failed attempts (thanks COVID) we’ve finally reached a point where Gojira have made it to their long-awaited tour of the UK and we head into Nottingham’s compact arena to check out the wonderous show.
Kicking off the evening are Woking’s finest export Employed To Serve. As they lay into opening number ‘Universal Chokehold’ guitarist Sammy scream “wake the fuck up Nottingham” and BOOM the crowd kicks off. Their short set is an intense affair fronted by the vocal growls of Justine Jones. Through ‘Owed Zero’, ‘Dull Ache Behind My Eyes’, ‘and ‘Mark of the Grave’ theres a titanic battle going on, the crowd at full tilt are pummelling each other with smiles on their faces, whilst the band feed off that energy and put in an almost show stealing performance.
It’s been too long since Alien Weaponry visited these shores and as they open their set with ‘Raupatu’ they remind us just how good they are! The Mauri roots shine through in their tribal thumping rhythm the backbone of the set, it flows behind every song, keeping the audience transfixed.
As they rip through ‘Hold My Breath’ our memories are refreshed, material from that debut album as fresh today as it was when released. The mid part of the set switches to material from their 2021 ‘Tangaroa’ album, before a storming close to the set with ‘Kai Tangata’. We can only hope the band return soon as we can’t get enough of that!
As the stage change is in full flow a curtain conceals the stage from the fans, there is an air of anticipation here tonight, the packed arena waiting with baited breath for what is expected to be a stunning Gojira show.
A countdown clock is projected onto the curtain as we hit zero Mario Duplantier beats his drums with vigor and the curtain drops revealing the quartet for the first time. ‘Born for One Thing’ kicks us off in majestic style, the huge video wall a back drop for the band and an additional tool adding to the aesthetic the band present.
A mix of sublime lighting, the trickery of the video wall and a fair dose of pyro keep the fans both mesmerized and warm on this chilly eveing. But it’s the music that has us really enthralled. ‘Backbone’, ‘Flying Whales’, ‘The Art of Dying’ lead us into Mario’s drum solo before we hit ‘Grind’.
The foursome are at the top of their game, and this is a long way from their 2013 club tour with Ghost where tickets for that pairing were a mere £5. Those of us who witnessed the band back in those early days knew they had potential and this tour is proving that to a wider audience.
For the best part of two hours the band have us totally encapsulated in their world and as the encore of ‘Silvera’, ‘New Found’ and The Gift of Guilt’ draws to a close, we are left mere shells of our former selves having witnessed what will no doubt be the tour of the year come December. Nothing can possibly beat that, can it?