Arch Enemy at Mojoes of Joliet, live review by Dan Scheiman
This was my first time seeing Arch Enemy live, and after seeing the excellent turnout, I was expecting a great show. I can say they met much more than my expectations. As soon as the piano started playing for the intro to “Enemy Within,” the crowd erupted. With horns raised, nearly the entire venue was screaming along with every lyric.
The entire band came out with an intense amount of energy. Vocalist, Alissa Whit-Gluz, who just started out with Arch Enemy in 2014, had no problem picking up where Angela Gossow left off. Guitarists Michael Amott and his brother Chris, who have been with the band since the beginning, and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, who has been with them since 98, conducted the crowd’s every move throughout each and every song. Another Arch Enemy veteran, Daniel Erlandsson, spent the entire show manhandling what looked like a 20 piece kit including a bass drum mounted on the side of his rack.
After the second song, there were some technical issues backstage. Alissa asked the crowd if 2 songs was good enough and jokingly claimed she was tired. As the show quickly got back on track, it was clear that neither Alissa, nor anyone else in the band was even close to tired. They continued to seamlessly transition from melodic breakdowns to absolutely gut-wrenching chugging and double bass.
It was obvious that there was some friendly sibling rivalry going on when the two guitarists began taking turns soloing. Honestly, it’s hard to say which of the two had sharper guitar licks to offer, but they both had a very unique touch. The entire band impressed me immensely, especially when it came down to tight, fast, tremelo picking coupled with double bass. A lot of bands struggle in this area, and a lot of fans expect perfection; but this crew clearly has the experience and precision to back up their raw talent.
As they began playing “Under Black Flags We March,” Alissa came running out with a giant black flag, waving it over the crowd. With every member of the band wearing matching armbands, the tribal war-like drum parts, and the crowd responding with utmost intensity, the concept of a gathering of soldiers marching together with them is not far off from what they had stirred up at this show. It truly seems like these fans would gladly follow Alissa and her bandmates into the depths of hell.
Ending with a gorgeous melodic guitar solo harmonized brilliantly with the rest of the band as they joined back in was quite shocking after the abusive death metal set that I had just endured. What was most impressive about this whole show was the relentless energy and vibration between the band and the fans. Even Alissa said as she very sincerely thanked everyone, “Joliet, you are one of the loudest groups we’ve had on the entire continent!” Arch Enemy will soon be continuing their tour through Europe with new guitarist, Jeff Loomis. I highly recommend this band live; they certainly know how to get a crowd’s blood flowing.