French metal act Gojira call Brooklyn, N.Y., their second home and for good reason: Their own Silverchord Studio, which they renovated themselves, is located in Bushwick and frontman Joe Duplantier lives in Brooklyn with his family. So it must have been a cool experience for them on Thursday night (Sept. 28) to play the borough’s venue Brooklyn Steel for the first time on the opening night of this tour.

You know it’s going to be a sweaty night when Converge open up a show. Despite technical drum difficulties within the first song, the band cranked out their new track “Reptilian” off of their upcoming album, The Dusk In Us, due out Nov. 3. Frontman Jacob Bannon said the new song is “about love, evolution and empathy.” Bannon is up close and personal, raw and animated and is a mic-swinging maniac onstage.

Other new Converge songs that were performed were “I Can Tell You About Pain” and “Under Duress.” New York fans are no strangers to Converge, as the band was recently in Brooklyn with Neurosis and they’re set for more Brooklyn tour dates in December at Saint Vitus Bar.

Trippy R&B music, Indian music and some old-school hip-hop were all played in between sets as the Gojira crew set up. The oddness didn’t stop there as “Pat-a-Cake!” chants began when a security guard indulged in playing a game of Pat-a-cake with a fan in the front row.

Some have said Gojira’s latest album, Magma, conveys the sound of “elephants marching” but really it’s a stampede of the whole damn jungle. One of the heavier songs off of the disc, “Only Pain,” kicked off the set. The command and intensity the band has onstage is unmatched, especially when older tunes “Backbone” and “Flying Whales” kicked in.

In the crowd you can hear fans speaking French, Arabic and Spanish, along with a few Australian accents. The band has been able to draw fans from all walks of life and Brooklyn was a meeting point under one roof. In the front row I met 12-year-old Phillip, who threw his fists up and watched Gojira in awe. When asked if this was his first show, “No, I’ve been to a bunch of shows,” he said with a smile.

“Celebrate life, celebrate music, live in the moment!” singer Joe Duplantier urged fans before he unleashed the lyrics, “Overcrowded in our minds / We’ll find a way out / Right now,” a moving moment in the night and a reminder that no matter what’s going on in society, politics, work, school or life that experiencing music live is an escape from all of the bulls--t.

The Duplantier brothers switched roles for a moment in the set as Joe took to the drums and Mario Duplantier was on vocals and guitar. Mario’s guttural vocals and unique facial expressions are comparable to that of George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher of Cannibal Corpse in a very weird way.

The band also played around with a medley of snippets of Metallica songs and treated the crowd to a cover of Sepultura’s “Territory." Whether you headbang, crowdsurf, mosh or just watch in awe, seeing Gojira live is not only a reminder to live in the moment but also an experience you’ll want to re-live over and over again until they come to town again.

Catch Gojira on one of their upcoming fall 2017 tour dates, and see our exclusive photo gallery from the Brooklyn show above.

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