*photo courtesy of Behemoth's facebook page*
I cannot even tell you the last time I witnessed Behemoth live but the one experience that always stuck with me was their stage presence. They should be in the dictionary under that phrase because they are the pure embodiment of the word “presence.” The lights dimmed at the Nile Theater last Thursday night and the crowd chanting for Behemoth had begun. Their entrance was nothing flashy or intimidating but somehow they portrayed the essence of power that is rarely witnessed without a multimillion dollar hologram. Blue spotlights dimly lit the stage while Behemoth graced the stage with a powerful calm. A great plume of smoke ejected from the hidden fog machine to convey to the audience that there is no turning back. Metal is about to engulf your being for the next hour.
The one characteristic of a Behemoth live show is the amount of energy they expel through their pores. The band has the most violently energetic stoic poses I have ever been privileged to observe. Nergal is just posed on stage but you can see every muscle is flexed as if he is lifting up the weight of the world. The unadulterated intensity they give off shines brighter than a nuclear bomb. There really is no other way to describe the ocular experience. They are at their most overpowering state when they decide to let hell break loose and start to physically manifest their presence. Actually they did not even need to move for the entire show in order to captivate the audience. When the hair starts flailing and their aggressive guitar swinging starts, you are ecstatic they weren’t just going to stand there all night. The force of Behemoth tripled.
The crowd itself was gorging themselves on the raw fuel of Behemoth’s music and obviously the presence that deserved their attention. There were a few stage divers that were quickly pushed off stage and back into the crowd which at this show I was fine with happening. There is no place for anyone else on that stage when Behemoth is there. It actually seemed insulting because how could a fan ever compete with the force of Behemoth. I am all about audience interaction on stage but if you disagree with my last statement than you obviously have never been to a live Behemoth show. I do not think the crowd timed their energy out that well because halfway through the set the circle pit was lackluster and did not seem as enthusiastic as when it first formed. I will admit that this outcome may have been due to the pit slowly increasing in size throughout the show where it almost reached both ends of the building. Big pits are only impressive when they have the right proportion of participants involved. Sadly this one was lacking individuals so it seemed like a letdown. I will give the pitters credit though because when they had their energy at full bore I thought some of them were going to explode. They moved with such a chaotic violence that I thought I might witness a supernova right inside the Nile.
Behemoth closed their set with Lucifer which was the song my friend was waiting for all night. The most impressive form of audience ownership I have ever seen was when the music was fading in the beginning of the song and Nergal just motioned the international be quiet sign by putting one finger to his lips. The crowd never made a sound. That was something I have never witnessed because there are always a few people who have to do the opposite of what they are told. The commanding power of Behemoth did not allow that to happen. That was one of the most unforgettable displays of stage presence power I have ever witnessed. The entire Behemoth show was impressively controlled with chaos always at the ready and for anyone who missed the show you better hope they come back. Nergal is a force to be reckoned with and living proof that metal can cure anything. Nergal was triumphant over his battle with leukemia. Cancer has wept for its defeat in the throes of greatness