REVIEW: Children of Bodom Get Down and Dirty in NYC

Finnish extreme metallers Children of Bodom are currently on the road for their 20 Years Down & Dirty tour celebrating the anniversary of their debut album Something Wild, and Bodom, as they’re known to their fans, stopped through NYC on Friday night as they continue their trek. We were late additions to the media list, so we were only able to cover Bodom and missed all their supporting acts, so this one is going to be short, sweet and to the point as we get straight into it at the end of a holiday weekend. I still remember the first time I saw Bodom. It was 2008 and they were direct support for Megadeth on Gigantour at Hammerstein Ballroom, and they stole the show as the best-sounding band on a night when the sound guy was asleep at the console. A lot has changed in the nearly ten years since that night. Alexi Laiho and the rest of the band don’t jump all over the place anymore, and are much more mellow in terms of stage presence than ever before.

None of that stops them from conducting all kinds of badassery on stage as they run through their usual array of extreme metal tunes. It’s long been known that Bodom would be playing tunes off their debut album on this run, along with tunes from a couple other albums and nothing newer than 2003, so unless you’re a longtime fan of the band, it’s entirely possible that you may not know anything they’re playing. That was the case for me as I had never even heard of Children of Bodom before they toured with Megadeth all those years ago and I never went that far back into their catalog to know the early stuff like their hardcore fans who have been following them from the jump.

Not being familiar with much of Bodom’s early material presented a problem, however, as the setlist wasn’t available from our usual resource when we intended to go to publication with this. It is now, though, so let’s talk a bit about that, shall we? Of the 14 tunes on this night’s setlist, surprisingly only four were from Something Wild despite the fact that the band is celebrating the album’s 20th anniversary, while 5 were from Hatebreeder. Some notables include Red Light in My Eyes, In The Shadows, Downfall, Children of Bodom, Every Time I Die and the night’s closing number, Towards Dead End.

As I mentioned, not even knowing about Bodom until just shy of a decade ago made it a bit tough to know exactly what they were playing as it happened, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the show while dodging crowd surfers and moshers. Bodom’s still great live despite slowing down and not jumping all over the place anymore, and it seems like they’ve placed more of a focus on their music rather than stage presence. That’s totally fine, I’d rather hear good music played well than watch someone give me whiplash by banging his head around all night. Bodom’s got the good music part down, they’ve been at this a long time and haven’t lost a step in the 10 years since they made their way into my life.

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