Published Dec 01, 2004Orange County hardcore band Throwdown got this Friday night sold-out show off to an early start, playing to a small-ish crowd while many others waited in line in the cold outside. Children of Bodom stormed the stage next in a torrent of melodic death/thrash, over-the-top guitar leads and keyboard wizardry. Fear Factory was up next, four small-looking guys on a stage left barren after the relative clutter of six Finns and their gear. Unbalanced levels from the sound board buried guitar and bass under a battery of vocals and drums for much of the set, with the newest tracks from Archetype and the classic "Martyr" faring best in the mix. The set list offered few opportunities for complaint though, with Fear Factory offering material from each record and ending with crowd favourite "Replica." Throughout the band's performance, audience enthusiasm concentrated in a tightly packed throng close to the stage, leaving those at the periphery somewhat subdued and detached; a situation that continued for the remainder of the night. Next up, headliners Lamb of God had even more room on stage but filled it successfully, with a cymbal-heavy drum kit looming high and large and vocalist Randy Blythe seeming to be everywhere at once. The guitars still spent much of the time struggling in a mix dominated by an eardrum-splitting snare and Blythe's eviscerating vocal performance, but like Fear Factory, Lamb of God played a fairly well-balanced set, featuring songs off each album, including several from their latest, Ashes of the Wake. Despite imperfections like the unbalanced sound, the feverish energy building in front of the stage as the night progressed made numerous fans deaf to such trivial concerns, and the show was a roaring success for many, if not most.