It’s like month four-hundredth (or so it feels) of social distancing and quarantine. Basically, every tour slated for the Spring and Summer have either been scratched or tentatively rescheduled for next year. For those not keeping score that means that we’ve lost a Megadeth and Lamb of God co-headliner, Deftones with support from Gojira, and a Sepultura trek featuring the likes of Sacred Reich and Crowbar. So, it’s been a rough year. Not content to sulk over the loss of their own tour with Jinjer and Toothgrinder, Suicide Silence decided to try something different.
Enter the idea of a Virtual World Tour or at least that’s how Suicide Silence and their label Nuclear Blast are packaging it. As the name suggests, the idea is for fans to log in and catch a live stream from these California Deathcore veterans. And they tried their darndest to make it as close to the real thing with the band encouraging fans to be vocal in the chat, vote for what songs they wish to hear and links to their merch. But did it fill the void left by actual concerts?
Yes and no. On the Boston night of the tour the boys played for about an hour and rattled off bangers from their latest Become the Hunter all the way back to fan-favorite The Cleansing. They were clearly well-practiced as ‘Two Steps’ and ‘Disengage’ sounded as tight as ever and Eddie Hermida can still seesaw his vocals from banshee shrieks down to knuckle-dragging lows.
There were some buffering issues here and there which I will likely point to site traffic, but something just will always feel a bit off with these sorts of affairs. Even though they were playing their asses off I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to forget that I wasn’t sitting on a loveseat with my fan going in the background.
I suppose it could become more of an immersive experience if I hooked up my laptop to my 4K TV and switched on the home theater. For those curious about streamed live shows in the near future, I do highly recommend a soundbar or decent headphones. But for all sound accommodations that are made, I guess you just can’t substitute for the noise and chaotic energy of a live audience. I need the smells of beer and cannabis in the air and the rumble of a PA system in my chest.
No matter what advances are made in virtual reality nothing will properly replace the real thing, but in the meantime, I’m content to get more streamed performances.