Reminiscence: We Saw Gojira Live for the First Time Ten Years Ago Today

  • Axl Rosenberg

Ten years ago today, Vince and were in scenic Leicestershire, England for a bromantic getaway to the Download Festival. There were a ton of bands we were excited to see, of course, but one of unexpected highlights of the fest ended up being, without exaggeration, the second band we saw play on the very first day: Gojira.

There hadn’t really been any press on these dudes in the U.S. yet, but, if memory serves, they were listed as an “Upcoming Band to Watch” in one of the British metal magazines we purchased upon arrival (the way most tourists would purchase a copy of Time Out). According to that article, Randy Blythe loved them, and their name was certainly rad. So, since their set didn’t overlap with any other band we were stoked on, we decided to check them out.

And I guess they hadn’t really broke that big in the UK at that point yet, either, ’cause we had no problem getting to the front, right up against the rails. Looking at these videos someone took that day, it does in fact appear that a significant portion of the crowd split after Throwdown, the band that played right before Gojira:

Gojira blew our minds that morning (and I do mean morning — it was 10 am or something stupid like that). They were heavy as fuck, they wrote great songs, they sounded tight, they weren’t doing the same exact thing as every other popular band at the time, and Joe Duplantier’s frontman skills were already pretty well developed. I can’t say that we knew they were gonna be huge, because even then we both knew that the success or failure of a band depended on a number of factors, of which talent is only one. But we definitely knew that they were insanely talented, and we made it a priority to get our hands on From Mars to Sirius, which was at that point Gojira’s most recent release.

Obviously, our admiration for the band only grew from there.

When was the first time you saw Gojira? Share your own memories in the comments section below. Then we’ll all hold hands and sing the word “Gojira” to the melody of “Kumbaya.” It’ll be nice.

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