July 23rd, 2017 at Electric Factory – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Crowds of people line down the road eagerly waiting to get into the venue, as tonight is a special night in Philly. It’s SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, and BEHEMOTH, and nothing will stop these devout followers from seeing the heaviest hitters in the metal scene. Now, this isn’t your typical venue, this is the Electric Factory which looked like a mini festival with food trucks, merch tents, and vendors posted all around the grounds. Looking up at the sky, you could tell that it looked like it was going to rain, but the forecast fortunately was saying otherwise, that the rain would hold out until late night.
In preparation for photographing this, I made my way through the crowd to the outdoor stage. It wasn’t difficult as many of the fans were still getting food, beverages, and talking among themselves.
BEHEMOTH is about to take the stage, my cameras ready to go and I couldn’t me more excited to shoot this iconic Extreme Metal group from Poland. Looking around the crowd was starting to fill in some more, but not absolutely packed at this point. BOOM – A massive bass drop and crowd roar as BEHEMOTH takes the stage. Their entrance was nothing short of amazing. Dressed in their signature robes and white makeup, they had an eerie look that was just so satisfying. The stage itself resembled a satanic church more or less, with the pedestals in front of Nergal (Vocals).
The opening song ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ was extremely fast paced, heavy, brutal, and overall the perfect start to what will surely be the best heavy metal concert this summer. There was talk among the crowd that BEHEMOTH were also known as the ‘Bringer’s of Rain’. Sure enough, after performing their equally powerful song ‘Conquer All’ Nergal grabs a thurible and begins swinging it slowly, almost as he’s performing a ritual. Into their third song ‘Messe Noire’ – it begins to rain. The crowd was very receptive to the rain, adding another brutal element to what was already a brutal show. BEHEMOTH power through the rest of their set which included favorites such as ‘Ov Fire and the Void’ and ‘Chant for Ezkaton 2000’ Finishing up their set, an hour delay is announced due to lightning strikes around Philly.
Imagine 3,000 people trying to fit inside the electric factory. Everyone is wet, but in pretty good spirits. What to do you do when you are waiting for show to continue? Join the crows in their massive “LAMB OF GOD! LAMB OF GOD!” chants that shook the inside room. It was pretty surreal to be able to experience that, and got me even more excited for Lamb of God to take the stage.
All of a sudden the crowd starts swarming to the stage, that could only mean one thing – Lamb Of God was about to start. Fortunately the lightning had stopped, but not the rain. It was really coming down heavy, and that didn’t slow down any of these fans. Lamb of God opened with their hit track ‘Laid To Rest’ which puts the crowd into a frenzy. The pit is MASSIVE, with people crowd surfing all over the place. (Huge shout out to the venue staff in the pit that were able to catch all of these people, it was an amazing thing to watch how busy, yet professional and perfect they were in assuring not 1 person was dropped.) Randy Blyth e(vocals) has to be one of the best frontmen in the business. “You all are some CRAZY mother fuckers!” he yells out to the crowd, everyone soaking wet and extremely happy. “Philadelphia is a spiritual place for us,” Randy goes on, explaining that Philly was the first city to really except them when they were first starting. ‘Killadelphia’ was also filmed at Electric Factory, and Randy makes it known this is almost a second home for them.
Looking around, there were people everywhere – This place was PACKED. Lamb Of God would not hold anything back, as they performed ‘Now You’ve Got Something To Die For’, ‘512′, ‘Engage The Fear Machine’ and ‘Ruin,’ I have never seen a band just completely take over and command the crowd as I did with Lamb Of God. The climax of their set in my opinion, was when they performed ‘Walk with Me in Hell’. The pit was INSANE. If I had to guess, I would say it was around 20 yards. The rainstorm only added to this amazing performance as you could just see the joy and excitement on these metal heads faces, mine included.
Lamb Of God ended their set with ‘Redneck.‘ “I know this is the city of Brotherly Love” Randy says, “But today, we’re all a bunch of REDNECKS” Lamb Of God was simply spectacular with their performance. It was everything I hoped it to be, and I could tell everyone else felt the same way.
Lamb of God
“SLAYER! SLAYER! SLAYER!…..” is chanted by every person in this venue. This crowd has fought through the rain and wind, now ready for Slayer to finish this amazing concert. The giant white curtain covers the stage, the crowd screaming in anticipation. The red crosses flash across the curtain and Slayer’s intro takes place. The curtain drops to ‘Repentless‘ and the crowd goes absolutely insane. Kerry King (guitar) is absolutely crushing his notes perfectly with screams and head banging. Slayer had an impressive 20 song set, playing favorites ‘Raining Blood’ – which was perfect for this rainy day. ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Hell Awaits’, and ‘Chemical Warfare’ were very well excepted, as the pit did not seem to slow down at all. Finishing up with ‘Angel of Death’, Slayer delivered and incredible ending to what was an evening of some of the best metal music around. The rain while frustrating, added to the experience that I’m sure anyone attending will never forget.