333: The Fever has arrived in Brooklyn!

It really has been a while. Months actually since my last post but for good reason. I have been waiting for the most special occasion to come through New York City and last night, it happened! The fever that has been making it’s way through the country since late last year has finally arrived in the borough of Brooklyn, New York. The fever that I am talking about is the punk/activist/hip-hop trio known as The Fever 333.

In case anyone doesn’t know about The Fever 333 (which would be disappointing if you didn’t), it’s a rock trio born out of the ashes of two bands and one alive band. Consisting of vocalist Jason Aalon Butler (ex-Letlive), guitarist Stephen Harrison (ex-The Chariot) and drummer Aric Improta (Night Verses), their main goal is to spread a message. Not only by playing a hybrid mix of punk and hip-hop, but bringing awareness to social injustices, racism and the many problems that have been plaguing America for many years and what we as the American people can do to help bring change to the country. Their mission started on Independence Day 2017 in the parking lot of Randy’s Donuts in Los Angeles, California and their presence has been felt since then with three singles (“We’re Coming In”, “Hunting Season”, “Walking in My Shoes”) being unleashed onto the music industry and onto the scene. Many shows and festival appearances later with the number of followers/fans growing day by day, the band announced that they have signed with Roadrunner Records and dropped a surprise 7-track EP titled “Made An America” onto the masses. In other words, The Fever 333 is just getting started and is never going to stop. To continue their mission, the band announced that they were going to hit the Northeast part of the U.S. for a few dates with the first one being in Brooklyn, New York at The Knitting Factory. One sold out show later, the East coast just got a taste of what The Fever 333 had to bring.

Now let’s talk about the sold out show in Brooklyn. Once the set intro kicked in with sound bites from many political events in the country including a sound bite from Orange Man 45, the curtain came down and The Fever 333 was hitting the audience with hit after hit, fire after fire with a very energetic performance and never letting down. I personally have seen Letlive live in the past and I know as a frontman what Jason Aalon Butler was all about and what he was capable of. Same with Stephen Harrison of The Chariot on guitar and Aric Improta of Night Verses on drums. Surprisingly, there was no Travis Barker to hop on the drums for a song or two as many have seen on the Youtube videos. All in all, the set was nothing short of awesome but not without some heartfelt in between songs speeches brought on by Butler with topics ranging from how the fans inspired them to continue playing music, how they can feel safe at a Fever 333 show despite how the dangerous rhetoric has separated us as people and finally how we as people can make a change in the country not only for ourselves but for his newborn son. After the show ended after an encore performance of two songs after set full of stage dives, banners being waved and good sounding vocals/instruments, the band and the fans decided to stick around and hang out after the show and mingle. There was talk about how Letlive as a band changed so many lives and how the band was sorely missed and how The Fever 333 was a band that came at just the right time especially what’s going on in the nation now. From my personal conversation with Stephen, there is talk about a full-length album coming soon being that a total of 14-15 songs that were written and recorded and some were played during the set that were not present on the EP that was just released. After they finish up some tours and festival appearances coming up through the next couple of months, they will be making a return to Brooklyn for the AfroPunk Festival at Barry Commodore Park in Brooklyn which I will definitely be present for and to support the 333 movement along with a strong number of believers.

Here’s to The Fever 333! They say that the fever is coming? It already has arrived and there are no ends to it! Be sure to support them by buying their music, their merchandise and being present at their shows. You won’t regret it!

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It’s Almost 2018: The Top Favorites of 2017.

  1. Whether we want to admit it or not, it was a wild and crazy year. Everything ranging from the world of politics, worldwide tragedies (e.g. The Manchester explosion), natural disasters (e.g. Hurricanes Harvey and Maria), sexual assault awareness, and the usual celebrity shenanigans made the year what it was. Music-wise, it’s safe to say that a fair amount of good albums came out this year while others either remained the in same place sound-wise and others faltered. It is the time of year where I let the people know my top 10 picks for favorite albums of the year. Don’t be surprised if your favorites didn’t make my list. It’s strictly opinion so don’t get your panties in a twist. Of course, it’ll be separated into two categories: One that includes signed bands and the other includes local talent so here we go.

GROUP A: SIGNED BANDS (in no particular order)

– Code Orange – Forever

This album went hard all year long with constant replay value. Yeah, I know people think that certain songs were a little mixed up on the tempo/style side and the lyrics weren’t “up to par”, but it definitely made for an interesting listen with an ungodly sonic assault. I first heard of Code Orange back in 2014-15 because of a video of their live set at This Is Hardcore Fest from 2014. To me, they appeared to be a young band getting their foot in the hardcore scene. Of course, the crowd reaction was great and made me want to take interest in them until the first single “Forever” dropped late 2016 and had me excited for what the album was going to deliver. Being that this is their debut full-length on Roadrunner Records, it definitely didn’t let down at all. Even though it has more of an industrial influence on some tracks and a song or two is softer than others, it still maintains the Code Orange style, feel, and energy. The grungy style song “Bleeding in the Blur” really was their top hit this year and their success had them opening up for WWE NXT in Brooklyn, opening up for System of a Down on their tour and had many people from bands like Slipknot and Lamb of God take notice with major props. While people are afraid that the success may have boosted their egos, it was definitely a great year for Code Orange and they are definitely confident for whatever 2018 brings them. And by the way, a Grammy award nomination came their way. If they should win, it’s just an added bonus because they already have their foot in the door.

– Eighteen Visions – XVIII

It’s been 10 long years since Eighteen Visions played their last show. One dark night in the spring of 2017, there was a shocking announcement on the Internet when it was announced that Eighteen Visions were, in fact, making a comeback with a new album in tow. People were interested if it was going to be a permanent reunion or just a one-off thing. Once the first single “Oath” dropped, it made people see that they were back for sure! Produced by Mick Kenney, this album really brought it sonically as it was a mixture of both “Until the Ink Runs Out” and “Obsession”. I had the pleasure of flying out to Santa Ana, California for their comeback/album release show at The Observatory to take some sick pictures of the show. Seeing how the fans reacted after years of missing the band made me feel that a re-emergence of that caliber and sound was very much needed for the scene as the scene had sort of stagnated. Of course, with bands like Martyr AD, Disembodied, Zao, Poison the Well, and Buried Alive making their returns over the course of 2016-2017, was great, Eighteen Visons made sure that their comeback lasted all year round with an appearance at Knotfest, Vanna’s final concert at The Palladium, a short run in the UK, and a short headlining run to close out the year with Knocked Loose and Old Wounds as support. This definitely set the stage for what’s to come from them in the future! Welcome back, gentlemen!

– Hundredth – Rare

After a tour to support the “Free” album and the release of the “Dead Weight” single, it has been made clear from vocalist Chadwick Johnson that Hundredth were making a change in sound from melodic hardcore to a much different sound which left fans in suspense. The first single “Neurotic” was released and the reaction was mixed from supportive by those appreciating the change, to degrading remarks from those crying “sell-out”. With 12 tracks of Shoegaze/indie rock with post-punk and new wave influences, Hundredth let it be known that they are a new band and they’re playing what they like, listen to, and have always wanted to play. Hardcore music felt like a job to them. It was a dynamic shift in sound but it worked out for them for the most part, even though when they played Warped Tour on the heavy stage, it didn’t really feel that people were very welcoming. Some tracks on the album really felt that they blended with each other but the tracks sounded different with every listen. For me, as much as I liked the melodic hardcore Hundredth, I love and prefer the new shoegaze/indie Hundredth sound. Closing out the year with a headlining tour of the US, Hundredth had a good run this year, putting eggs in the basket for the future, and going on the path they have chosen to take until the next full-length comes out a year or so from now. We’ll see what happens.

– While She Sleeps – You Are We

For this full-length album, the UK-metalcore band While She Sleeps decided to release the album independently after leaving their label after the classic album “Brainwashed”. They worked hard on their own home space so they can record the album themselves and fund the record through PledgeMusic, which was 286% of their originally set goal. The hard work had definitely paid off because it was an album made for their fans, thanking them for their endless support for the time they have been a band. While She Sleeps really delivered on this album whether it’s the melodic guitar work, the catchy choruses, the gang vocals, and even added a special guest on one of their tracks who just happens to be a Mr. Oli Sykes of Bring Me the Horizon. The track Oli guests on, “Silence Speaks”, is definitely the top hit for me because who can deny the catchiness of the chorus and the song structure. “Hurricane”, “Feel”, and “You Are We” are other examples of how this album is definitely one that can get people moving and keep their heads banging. One of the major pluses this album had was having rhythm guitarist/vocalist Mat Welsh shine on vocals as opposed to what he had done in the past by being a backup vocalist to lead Loz Taylor. Some may say that some songs sound like “Sempiternal” but it’s safe to say that While She Sleeps is definitely playing more on the melodic side of things than they have done before and it has worked out, which makes this a favorite album of this year for me.

– Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora 

Back with a vengeance, Darkest Hour strikes with their heaviest since “Deliver Us” in 2007 even if they have had a couple albums 10 years in between. Like While She Sleeps, Darkest Hour took the independent route and had the album crowdfunded on Indiegogo. It surpassed the original goal for the album too, so it gave them more opportunities to make the album that much greater with added goodies (A live DVD, etc.). Other than that, I have been listening to Darkest Hour for years and they went through many members but stuck to their guns and provided their brand of Scandinavian-influenced metalcore to the masses. For this album, once they announced that they were bringing back former guitarist Kris Norris and bringing in Kurt Ballou to produce the album, I was expecting nothing short of a fire album. Especially, because they already have drummer Travis Orbin in their lineup since their self-titled album in 2014. “Knife in the Safe Room” was the first single to promote the release and fans were immediately excited about this album. This was Darkest Hour returning to form. I personally liked the self-titled album and albums before but once I heard the song, I predicted that the rest of the album would be that good especially with the riffs that Mike Schleibaum and Lonestar had written, with what crazy drumming that Travis Orbin would bring to the table, and the unrelenting vocals of John Henry. Overall, the album really reminded me of “Undoing Ruin” but much heavier, faster, and fierce. The aforementioned first single, “This is the Truth, “Timeless Numbers”, and “Those Who Survived”, are my top tracks. Better yet just listen to the whole entire thing through! Fire!

– END – From the Unforgiving Arms of God EP

A few blog entries ago, I said many times that 2017 was going to be Brendan Murphy of Counterparts’ year. One of the main examples is the supergroup END, which consists of Murphy on vocals, Will Putney of Fit for an Autopsy on guitar, Greg Thomas formerly of Misery Signals on guitar, Jay Pepito of Reign Supreme on bass and vocals, and Andrew McEnaney of Structures on drums. Once word got out of the group and their plans to release music together, the hype was real. This EP caused a lot of melted faces and broken, beaten bodies after the first listen. From the first track “Chewing Glass” until the last note of “Survived by Nothing”. Unreal. Brendan Murphy to me must’ve been possessed while recording the EP because he sounds completely different vocal-wise from other projects and instrumental wise, it doesn’t sound discombobulated even if different people from different bands came together. The EP is a perfect mix of metal and hardcore with a raw-ish feel that Putney really hit because not only is he playing lead guitar, but he’s the main producer, engineer, and mixer for the EP. They had a couple of short runs this year with bands like Knocked Loose and Stray from the Path and they ended the year with an appearance on Vanna’s final concert despite Murphy and McEnaney having trouble getting into the states. I loved this EP and I am definitely looking forward to more music they may have coming up in the future.

– Counterparts – You’re Not You Anymore

Continuing on the Brendan Murphy train, not only did he have a beast EP with his supergroup END come out early in September, he had a brand new Counterparts album come out later that month which I was looking forward to since I liked the “Tragedy Will Find Us” album released in 2015. Brendan, while being interviewed on Cayem Interviews promised that the album would consist of no filler material and is a step up musically from their past material. To me, the album is definitely more on the aggressive side after “Tragedy Will Find Us” touched on more of a softer side. When you listen to the album, you can tell that there is a metalcore influence on the songs akin to bands like Shai Hulud and even Misery Signals. The addition of new drummer Kyle Brownlee really helped kick the rhythm section into gear with his technicality and incorporating blast beats here and there. It’s the best 28 minutes whenever I give this album a listen and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing Counterparts’ continued progression. I highly recommend the songs “Thieves”, “Haunt Me”, “Swim Beneath My Skin”, “A Memory Misread”, and the title track even though I do recommend the whole album. To be honest, I’m kinda surprised “A Memory Misread” isn’t even a single, let alone a music video.

– The Movielife – Cities In Search of a Heart

Now, this album is technically my first real taste of The Movielife after seeing Vinnie Caruana perform solo shows many times and hearing a few songs off the “Forty Hour Train Back to Penn” album in the past. This is the first The Movielife in over 10 years, so I was interested after I was recommended the album from the homies at Top Shelf Tattoo. Now for those that don’t know, I have not been impressed with the pop-punk releases nowadays except for Trophy Eyes and The Story So Far and I’m sick of the happy-go-lucky pop-punk bands with the cheerful sounds. I was in dire need of pop-punk with an edge. If I wanted happy-go-lucky pop-punk, I can just throw on an old Blink-182 or the self-titled New Found Glory album from 2000. Anyway, many people may not consider The Movielife a pop- punk band but this is an exception. During the first listen, it felt like I was on a train ride, literally, with sound effects taken from the MTA transit system. The album kicks off with the fast number “Ski Mask” and goes into my favorite track “Mercy is Asleep at the Wheel”, which had me hooked and interested in where the album went from there. Never letting down, the album consisted of a few catchy tunes (“Sister Saint Monica”), the underrated ballad (“Pour Two Glasses”), and a song with what I like to call “heavy sounding tones” in “Laugh Ourselves to Death”. The train ride ends with the upbeat “You’re the Cure” leading into the acoustic track “Hearts” to shut the door of the album. Being that this is the Movielife album that had me at hello with the edgier pop-punk bands of recent times, I was impressed with this album despite some people holding it in lower regard compared to past releases. But hey, we like what we like. Right? Alright now, it’s time to get re-acquainted with “Forty Hour Train Back to Penn”.

– The Ongoing Concept – Places

If there were one word to describe Idaho’s own The Ongoing Concept, it would be “interesting”. They’re billed as a metalcore/post-hardcore band but at first listen, you wouldn’t think they were any of those. Being that I have seen them live before gave me an incentive to give this album a listen after I got word that they were putting out new music. Their 3rd full-length album further proves that theory. Then again, this is what people admire about them even if they are a kind of a new band (they’ve been a band since 2009). They present a mixture of unique styles on this album as they incorporate funk style beats and some funky grooves, which shows on the first full track “You Will Go”, not to mention that Dawson Scholz’ vocals are a refreshing take on what’s been done in the genre for the past few years. In addition to the vocals and funk style incorporation, the guitar work is surprisingly good and the styles really mesh together well being that nobody would even think a band like that can pull those styles off. The song “Bargain”, a piano/acoustic-driven ballad, kind of splits the album even if it’s the 7th track. All in all, the album may feel like it’s a night and day thing but it’s still the same band you’re listening to from start to finish. I think people would enjoy this album if they are looking for something different within the genre. No complaints.

– Glassjaw – Material Control

Being that this album has been out for a month already (early December), it really had people talking and pretty excited since this is Glassjaw’s first full-length album since 2002 when the album “Worship and Tribute” came out. A major staple in the post-hardcore genre, Glassjaw has influenced many bands over the years so this album had me interested to see what they were going to bring after 15 years in between full albums. Also, because The Used’s new album was wack sauce, I had to give this a shot since The Used bit from Glassjaw’s style and Glassjaw still doesn’t really get the credit they deserve for creating that kind of modern post-hardcore with the distorted guitar sound. I first heard Daryl Palumbo’s voice on a song that former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison wrote for the Roadrunner United album back in 2005 and it gave a clear idea who Glassjaw was at the time. So with 2018 approaching and after years of playing shows and promises of a new album, it drops on December 1st and everyone is in love. People even went to get free Glassjaw tattoos and celebrated with a sold-out show in Brooklyn, which unfortunately I missed the chance to catch. The album overall is a representation of Glassjaw 15 years since their last full-length album while maintaining the tradition Daryl Palumbo and the experimental guitar style of Justin Beck with a little help from Billy Rymer of Dillinger Escape Plan recording the drums. Doing what they do best, Glassjaw manages to put out a pretty solid release that left their fans satisfied and talking. “Shira”, “Closer” and “My Conscience Weighs a Ton”, are the top tracks to check out.

Before I move on with this, I want to shoutout these bands that put out solid releases this year: Two legends in particular, Converge with The Dusk In Us and Zao with Pyrrhic Victory EP, which still sets them high up the metalcore rankings. Long Island’s own Stray from the Path for putting out The Death Is Real, an album that was very, very much needed in 2017 regarding the bullshit that was going on in the political world and Old Wounds for dropping the new single Only Your Enemies Leave Roses with my dude, vocalist Kevin Iavaroni, returning to the band after a one-year hiatus.

GROUP B: LOCAL BANDS

– Husbandry – Bad Weeds Never Die EP

Brooklyn’s “weirdo” post-hardcore band returns with a new EP on Aqualamb Records that continues with the Fugazi-meets-Aaliyah moniker with frontwoman Carina Zachary’s haunting vocals being as beautiful as ever and backed by the passionate and bizarre yet experimental Post-hardcore instrumentation provided by guitarist Jordan Usatch, bassist Arnau Bosc, and drummer Andrew Gottlieb. The highlight of the album is the cover of the Blonde Redhead song “Misery is a Butterfly” with a guest trumpet performance courtesy of Dave Levy. Good songwriting shows on this release and I’m definitely looking forward to their next full-length, which would take their brand of post-hardcore even further. Also, feel free to listen to the Spylacopa Remix of the lead single “Elder Spencer Deery” provided by John LaMacchia of Candiria.

– Synapses Firing – I’ve Grown Cold EP

Produced by Jay Maas (ex-Defeater), Bronx, New York’s own Synapses Firing return with a much more aggressive tone on this EP continuing with the already laid foundation of their previous full-length album Forgive. The lyrics are somewhat darker while vocalist/guitarist Sean Dowling touches on subjects such as love, personal feelings, and relationships. Whatever Jay worked on with these dudes and whatever tools he used to help the band take it a step further has paid off and it’s only the start of a whole new beginning for them, Mistakes is their heaviest track ever in my opinion.

– Marlene Mendoza – A Battle Between Two Lesser Evils

Now we all know the personal drama between this solo artist and her previous band VRSTY but aside from the drama, Marlene drops this single showing that she has no signs of slowing down or letting the lies and negativity being spread about her through the local scene stop her from dropping this single featuring John Price of the band Bad Case. Modern day melodic metalcore at its finest and it shows that she can write some good stuff with good lead guitar work and a catchy chorus to follow. Overall, the track has been receiving a lot of love and positive reviews. It has people leaving the VRSTY side, that’s for sure, and this has everyone already excited to hear more of what she has to offer in 2018. Maybe a full-length or an EP followed by a tour? Marlene, what do you think?

– Watercolor – You Asked For This

This is an up-and-coming-band from northern New Jersey. I have known their vocalist Jonathan Brophy and guitarist Bryan Olsen Santana for sometime now. Little did I know that this band were friends for years and decided to jump back into playing music together. The single they dropped is slight taste of what’s to come with brutal roars, technical yet melodic riffs, and leads with a breakdown that hits just as hard. They have also launched #MetalGivesBack, which allows them to live stream their practices every week to raise money to give to different charity organizations such as SeaLegacy, which is part of the Wildlife Foundation. Definitely cool to do and very helpful to everyone. Hope this band has a lot more to offer in 2018 and those who already love the single, keep an eye out.

– thelvnguage – Movement EP

Now this band is not necessarily what you call “scene” but they are a local band from the Bronx so I had to add this EP to the list. Not your run-of-the-mill heavy band from the local scene though, they’re actually an R&B-jazz-psychadelic-indie band, or, whatever you want to call them. This band definitely had me interested because we rarely hear music like this, so everyone should definitely give this band a listen whenever you’re chillin’ at the crib or just walking around in the city looking for some new jazzy funk music to vibe to (unless you want to count Durieux as part of that core group of local bands and artists that have that R&B-ish sound as well). Cool and down-to-earth dudes too. Don’t be afraid to try something different because thelvnguage has what you need. A breath of fresh air to the Bronx local scene.

– Restwell – Young & Weary EP

Being that this EP was released well late in the year, I wanted to hold off on giving my review on this EP until early 2018, but being that this is their last EP before going on an indefinite hiatus had me reconsider. One of the very few heavy bands I actually like that had passion, had a message, and felt like a real band made sure they left on a good note. Just 3 tracks in this EP but the sound that Restwell had demonstrated on their previous EP Humanly Speaking wasn’t too far removed. The EP, which surprisingly opens with some feedback, opens up and goes straight into the heaviness with the opening track Home taking you on a fast ride with a good song structure, with well-placed breakdowns that hit hardThroughout this EP with tracks Aggravate and Young & Weary, the message still stands for those that are fans of Christian metalcore looking for a voice to uplift them with lyrics touching on self-preservation, finding your way out of the dark, and coming together. It may suck to see this talented band go, but at least they left music which has you remembering and thanking them for providing you some safe haven. Hopefully they won’t be away for long.

2017 has been a pretty good year. Cheers to all who have had a great year in music! Let’s go into 2018 and see what it has in store for us!

R.I.P.

Black Sabbath – 1968-2017, The Dillinger Escape Plan – 1997-2017, Vanna – 2004-2017, Letlive – 2002-2017, HIM – 1991-2017, Trap Them – 2001-2017

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Thank You. Goodnight.

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It’s been a while since I’ve typed a blog entry. Since my last one, I have been living life, building my brand, interning as a photographer for an online music website and attending many shows I didn’t have much to write about. Basically just keeping busy. I know it’s very unusual for me to say that I don’t have anything to say about a show I have attended but this one show definitely has warranted me to write about it because it was indeed a final concert performance for one band: Vanna. Boston, Massachsetts’ own Vanna. Months ago, the news broke that Vanna was calling it quits after thirteen years of playing music together and touring. They embarked on a farewell tour titled “All Things Must Come to an End” with East and West coast dates with various opening bands. I was fortunate enough to attend one of the final East coast dates, which was in Amityville, Long Island and the show was nothing short of a good one. Sometime after that time passed, it was made known that Vanna were going to play one final concert in Worcester, Massachusetts with a handful of bands opening the show. I knew I HAD to be there because I wasn’t going to miss a chance of seeing what surprises Vanna had planned and see whoever they had opening the show for them. Now it had been years since I had gotten into Vanna and their music so my story of how that came to be is pretty much the same as everyone else’s…maybe.

The year was 2007 and I was at the ripe age of 22. I was attending a Maylene and the Sons of Disaster headlining show at the Knitting Factory in downtown Manhattan back in those days. I was walking around the venue and I think the show was almost finished and was just waiting for Maylene to come on stage and play or the show had just ended. There was a poster on the bulletin board that was promoting the album “Curses” by the band Vanna and I had seen the band and the name online before because I was that dude who would always research metalcore bands that had names that would attract attention and Vanna happened to be one of them but they fell more into the post-hardcore category. Genres aside, I decided that when the album came out, I knew I had to buy it because they were a new band that I haven’t heard before and it was new to me. So the release date came and I went into what was Virgin Megastore in Times Square and bought a copy of “Curses” then I went home and I gave it a couple of spins and I was hooked immediately. At that moment, I decided to keep tabs on the band and what was to come after. I think sometime after that, I read online somewhere that original drummer Brandon Davis had left the band and decided to pursue other musical projects and I think part of the reason why I got into Vanna is because they had a black dude playing drums for a band in that genre. Other than that, a few years had passed and Vanna drops a new album titled “A New Hope” in 2009. At that time, I was working for Bronx Underground, a local booking company who used to put on local shows in the scene in the Bronx and all of a sudden, I see too many people who were going around like they were diehard Vanna fans all because of one song titled “ Safe to Say” so in my head, I was questioning their fangirling motives trying to find out if they really were Vanna fans from the very beginning instead of that one album. So I decided to let them do them and of course like “Curses”, “A New Hope” is definitely another gem of a Vanna album with sick riffs, breakdowns, a dynamic vocal relationship between lead vocalist/screamer Chris Preece and clean vocalist/lead guitarist Evan Pharmakis and catchy songs. Then over the next few years, more members came and went and their sound went in a completely different direction which I no problem with because it was Vanna being the band they were even though I wasn’t so much of a fan of their now final album “All Hell” which came out in 2016. Quite the career they had years after it was simply a dorm room project between two college students who were friends attending art college in Massachusetts that being Pharmakis and longtime rhythm guitarist Nick Lambert.

Now fast forward to December 15th at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts where Vanna’s final concert took place. Once word got out where the final show was going to be held, my friend Ian (Host of Ian Hates Music podcast) bought both of us VIP tickets for the show. The VIP included a chance to watch Vanna sound check a song or two, see them perform acoustic, a Q&A with fans and a signed poster and extra goodies. After all the VIP events took place and we went to grab a bite to eat with a friend of his, we went back to the venue, which was filled to capacity from what I can see. Chock full of bands on one bill so let’s get to the ones I saw perform live. Overtime, the entire schedule of the show was pretty much like a Warped Tour kind of schedule so I got to see a couple of bands at certain times since it was a group of bands in one room and another group in the main venue.

First up was Roseview (formerly Crisis A.D.) from Maine. I had a chance to see them live once in Long Island when they were still going by Crisis A.D. before they decided to change their name and went in a different musical direction but still remaining a hardcore band of sorts. All in all, they put on an energetic performance with a good crowd reaction. Also, I had the chance to meet their merch guy Jesse who added me on Instagram and chat with him for bit. After watching Actor/Observer for a bit, I had to get back to the top floor venue to watch one of my favorite bands to debut this year, END. Being that this was their year after they dropped their EP “From the Unforgiving Arms of God”, I was hoping to see a sick set after seeing them kill it when they opened for Stray from the Path’s CD release show. One problem was, vocalist Brendan Murphy and drummer Andrew McEnaney weren’t performing because from what I can figure out is that they had an issue getting into the states so they had fill-ins on vocals and drums respectively. Even if it was Brendan and Andrew-less, END still killed it even if the fill-in vocalist missed a few words while performing the songs. After END finished, I didn’t want to see Kublai Khan perform so I went to see Lions Lions perform in the main venue and it was their hometown show so it was nothing short of a usual hometown show for them with the hometown crowd participation. On Broken Wings and then Old Wounds were up next in the upstairs venue so I stayed up there and see both bands slay. First time seeing On Broken Wings was pretty rad and they’re a band from back in the day who had gotten back together a few years ago and put out a new album last year. Old Wounds I had seen live before at Warped Tour but seeing them with the new lineup, with vocalist Kevin Iavaroni returning to band and after founding members leaving the band over the past couple months. Turns out that Old Wounds had not missed a step whatsoever and definitely brought it, as did On Broken Wings. Both bands did a good job of ending the top venue tenure and set up for what was to come after in the main venue with Knocked Loose being on the main stage bringing the heat with Orange County metalcore titans Eighteen Visions bringing the fire getting the crowd ready for Vanna to take their final bow.

Now the main reason why everyone was present at The Palladium for the night, Vanna (Davey Muise on vocals, guitarists Casey Aylward and Nicholas Lambert, bassist Shawn Marquis and drummer Seamus Menihane), took the stage to loud cheers from the fans in attendance and got the crowd hyped when they opened with “The Few and the Far Between” going into “The Lost Art of Staying Alive”. Before they even appeared on stage, I had a feeling that not only were they having friends of theirs from other bands do guest spots for them, that they were going to maybe bring back former members to perform with a few songs with them. After a few more songs with one having Lauren Kashan from the band Sharptooth (who performed but I wasn’t really interested) guest on, Vanna had former drummer Eric Gross which would be the possible start of the surprise appearances of former members to perform a couple songs for the fans. The song he performed with the band was “Void” off the album “Void”. It wasn’t until when they were performing the song “Trashmouth” that the hype was real when in the middle of the song that Davey brought out former vocalist Chris Preece to perform the rest of the song that had the crowd singing loud and brought the moshers out of the woodwork. The excitement continued to build when former clean vocalist/lead guitarist Evan Pharmakis was brought out to perform “Let’s Have an Earthquake” off the “A New Hope” album which assured the fans that they mended fences after they had parted ways a few years ago. Then the chance to see the original Vanna lineup reunion took place when Brandon Davis (guitarist of Lions Lions, original/former Vanna drummer) took his place on drums to perform with Nick, Shawn, Chris and Evan along with another former Vanna vocalist Joe Bragel to perform a few classic Vanna tracks from their earlier albums and EPs. The lineup rotations continued throughout the set keeping the fans excited and participation at an all-time high performing songs chronologically from the entire Vanna discography until the emotions sunk in when the final Vanna lineup that we know were about to perform the final song of the night “Flower” off the album “All Hell”. Before they played the song, Davey broke down in tears while making a speech thanking the fans for all the support and the chance to have those involved on stage to live out their dreams, establish the careers and giving them life altogether. After they finished performing the song, Davey finally uttered the words “Thank you. Goodnight!” to loud cheers and “Thank you, Vanna!” chants from the capacity crowd capping off a 13-year career for the band, bowing out gracefully and leaving the fans with memories to talk about for years to come.

Setlist:

  1. The Few and the Far Between
  2. The Lost Art of Staying Alive
  3. Toxic Pretender
  4. Year of the Rat (feat. Lauren Kashan of Sharptooth)
  5. Pretty Grim
  6. Void (with Eric Gross on drums)
  7. Scarlet Shroud
  8. Trashmouth (feat. Chris Preece on vocals)
  9. Let’s Have an Earthquake (with Evan Pharmakis on guitar/vocals and Chris Preece on vocals)
  10. We Ate the Horse You Rode in On (with Chris Preece on vocals, Evan Pharmakis on guitar/vocals, Brandon Davis on drums. Featuring Joe Bragel on vocals)
  11. A Dead Language for a Dying Lady (with Chris Preece and Joe Bragel on vocals, Evan Pharmakis on guitar/vocals, Brandon Davis on drums)
  12. The Alarm (with Chris Preece on vocals, Evan Pharmakis on guitar/vocals, Brandon Davis on drums)
  13. Safe to Say (with Chris Preece on vocals, Evan Pharmakis on guitar/vocals)
  14. Paranoia Euphoria
  15. Mutter
  16. Piss Up a Rope (with Eric Gross on drums)
  17. Digging
  18. I Am the Wind, You Are the Feather (feat. Chris Preece and Joe Bragel on vocals, Evan Pharmakis on guitar/vocals, Brandon Davis on drums)
  19. Flower

 

THANK YOU, VANNA

2004-2017

Stick to Your Guns “True View” Record Release Show

Being that this is their 6th full-length album that just came out, Stick to Your Guns embarked on a few shows: some on the East coast and some on the West coast. Eighteen Visions and Get the Shot supported the East coast show and then for the West coast shows, Eighteen Visions, Stone and Modern Color will support (Eighteen Visions will only play one show though). Personally, I have been listening to Stick to Your Guns for the past couple of years since I first heard “This Is More” and have been following them since “The Hope Division” album came out in 2010 and the single “Amber” became a hit. In my opinion, they definitely hit a mark with the preceding album “Diamond” coming out in 2012 and they had added guitarist Josh James formerly of Evergreen Terrace to solidify their lineup of seasoned vets. For them to have kept going for so long makes them one of the most consistent melodic hardcore bands in recent years and they definitely put all they have into their music. Anyhow, The final East coast show took place October 14th in Amityville, NY in Long Island (the day after the official worldwide album release) and people were stoked for the show including those who were VIP ticket buyers who got their “True View” goodies before doors opened so let’s jump right in.

First band to open the show was a band called Get the Shot from Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. I had never heard of the band prior to the show. But they came highly recommended by Eighteen Visions frontman James Hart after we had talked for a bit before the show started. And thankfully, they never let down whatsoever. Lots of fast, heavy beats and riffs that had people who had never heard of them mosh and a very few people who were up front screamed along with a few songs during the set. After seeing the set, I would definitely recommend peeps check them out if anyone asks what I’m jamming one day. Be sure to check out their album “Infinite Punishment” which came out August 14th on New Damage Records.

Setlist: I Want to Set the World on Fire intro, Purgation, Fake Reaper, Hellbringer, Erase the Scum, Demon Stomp, Absolute Sacrifice, Rotting Idols, Blackened Sun (feat. Jesse Barnett of Stick to Your Guns), Cold Hearted.

Up next were the metalcore veterans from Orange County, California, Eighteen Visions. It was their first show back in Amityville after many years so it was going to be a good set for sure especially after seeing them in California earlier this summer. Opening the set with “She Looks Good in Velvet”, they hit the people hard throughout the entire set full of songs from “Until the Ink Runs Out” and “XVIII” with gems from “Vanity” and “Obsession”. Never missing a beat while James’ vocals are as better as ever, the band which now includes now official rhythm guitarist Josh James (Yeah, I know he’s balancing both STYG and 18V), 18V left the people in attendance very hyped and excited for what’s to come after the ended with a encore consisting of the “Tower of Snakes” breakdown. Lots of moshing and crowd participation and a couple of stage divers toward the end of the set: great set overall!

Setlist: She Looks Good in Velvet, The Psychotic Thought, Vanity, She’s a Movie Produced Masterpiece, Crucified, Underneath My Gun, Oath, Motionless and White, Who the Fuck Killed John Lennon, Tower of Snakes.

Now the headliners, also from Orange County, came and took the stage and celebrated their album’s release in the best way possible: hitting them with the left and right playing songs from what vocalist Jesse Barnett calls the most personal Stick to Your Guns album in their discography. With songs from the albums ranging from “The Hope Division” until now, the band of seasoned vets were just as energetic as the crowd with their jumps on stage, Jesse’s roars and tight drumming provided by drummer George Schmitz. A couple of times during the set before they got into the next song, Jesse would use that time to let people know of the situations the band members were in while writing and recording of the album and how the album was more personal than political like the last couple of albums and how proud he was to be playing music with his band brothers. There was definitely more crowd surfing and stage diving at that time so the entire show ended up the way everybody anticipated it to be. 14 years strong and still going on, much respect to Stick to Your Guns and be sure to buy the new album “True View” out now on Pure Noise Records!

Setlist: 3 Feet from Peace, The Sun. The Moon. The Truth, Against Them All, What Choice Did You Give Us, We Still Believe, Universal Language, Such Pain, Married to the Noise, The Crown, Better Ash Than Dust, Nothing You Can Do to Me, Doomed by You, Empty Heads, The Suspend, Amber, Nobody.

Stray from the Path “Only Death Is Real” Album Release Show

Happy 8-day anniversary to the best album release show I have been to since God (there’s no God) but God knows when!

But yeah, it’s been 8 days and I’m still jamming these two albums that were celebrated in one great night which took place on September 8th in Amityville at Revolution Bar and Music Hall: Stray from the Path’s “Only Death is Real” and END’s “From the Unforgiving Arms of God EP”. It was mainly Stray’s album since it was in their hometown but END was releasing their EP around that time too so it made sense for them to do a few dates together and bring some good music to the masses. As soon as the news came out months ago that a band made up of members of Counterparts, Fit for an Autopsy and Structures was going to be coming out with music, fans of those three bands couldn’t be more excited to see what was going to transpire. As the summer passed by, Stray was getting a lot of hate because of the controversial music video for the song “Goodnight Alt-Right” on YouTube while END announced the release date of the upcoming EP. Once tickets for the show were available online, I bought mine right away because I wasn’t missing this! We, the people, were in for an awesome show and we couldn’t be more hyped!

First band of the night was a local band called Sanction from Long Island. They were dope as fuck as their sound reminded me of a more modernized Disembodied/Martyr AD. Was a great set being that it was my first time seeing this band live and bought their EP at their merch table and I look forward to hearing more from these guys soon! Be sure to support them by buying their EP on Bandcamp at sanctionli.bandcamp.com. Next band to play was Champ, another band from Long Island, which were alright and I didn’t really get. They got a good reaction for the most part and had somewhat of a non-technical August Burns Red feel to them. Pretty tight set and had people anticipating what was to come after.

For those that don’t really know, END is a new band that is made up of members of Counterparts, Fit for an Autopsy and Structures (Brendan Murphy, Will Putney and Andrew McEnaney respectively) with Jay Pepito from Reign Supreme and Gregory Thomas who was in Misery Signals. Their EP came out the night before which was the 7th of September so it was their release show before Stray’s. I have heard the album stream online and was hoping that the live performance would live up to the hype. Once the first note hit, everyone was hooked immediately! As the set went on, few people were up front singing the words back to Brendan and I may have seen a few people stagedive during the set. For me, it was a first time seeing Will Putney play live on stage because of him being a member of his main band that doesn’t really tour with them because of his work as a producer at Graphic Nature. After the set was done, there were one thing I got from the performance aside from everyone sounding good and the performance was tight with lots of movement: that being that Brendan Murphy looked happier and had more fun on stage with END. Not that he is thinking of ending Counterparts anytime soon because their new album is coming out in a couple of days and it sounds like it’s gonna be fucking sick! While I was conversing with him after the set, you can tell that he felt great after performing in a new band aside from his main band. I’ll say this now, 2017 is Brendan Murphy’s year! Two releases from his two bands in the same year? How could anyone not agree?

Setlist: Chewing Glass, Usurper, Love Let Me Die, From the Unforgiving Arms of God, Necessary Death, Survived by Nothing. (Basically their entire EP from front to back)

Up next were the hometown heroes in Stray from the Path. It was my 3rd-4th time seeing Stray live and they always kill it every time! I had become cool with their bassist Anthony Altamura before and it was always good times whenever we run into each other at their shows. With this release, I knew they were going to kill it again and that they did! One minor thing is their drummer Craig Reynolds was unable to play the shows due to work VISA issues since he lives in the UK so their ex-drummer Dan Bourke had to learn the new songs in a matter of hours and he did an awesome job playing the parts that Craig wrote! A set mixed of songs off “Only Death Is Real” and a couple of oldies really made the night what it was. During the set before they dove into their song “Goodnight Alt-Right”, frontman Drew York gives a speech about racism in the scene and how it wasn’t allowed at a Stray show and that people of all colors and races are always welcome at their shows. A tremendous amount of crowd participation, stage diving left and right, a tight performance: all you get when you’re at a Stray from the Path show. After they closed out the set with “First World Problem Child”, everyone was hanging out at the merch table after the show and was going home happy even though there was a fight at the right side of the stage after someone stage dove and landed on someone who didn’t like it. But whatever, stage diving is better than a wall of death. Just a personal opinion so but it was definitely a great night overall!

Setlist: Outbreak, Badge and a Ballet 2, A Day and a Night, Goodnight Alt-Right, D.I.E.P.I.G., Snap, Negative and Violent, Damien, Opening Move, Loudest in the Room, Badge and a Bullet, First World Problem Child.

Hundred Suns at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn.

It’s been a while. (And no, I don’t mean Aaron Lewis of Staind)

Too much has been going on in the Ty_RockCity Productions camp (which is mainly me, myself and I. Haha) and I have been attending shows here and there but haven’t really written about them in forever. This Is Hardcore in Philadelphia was awesome and I had the chance to finally see Martyr AD and Sect live. Other shows I have attended were either pretty decent, was alright but really weren’t something to write home about, or I was too busy taking pics for Ty_RockCity Photography. Well yesterday in Brooklyn, I attended a show at the ever-awesome Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn where the dudes in Hundred Suns were headlining on their first ever tour.

In case you didn’t know, Hundred Suns is a project which was started by Cory Brandan (Norma Jean), Chris LeMasters (ex-Dead and Divine) and Ryan “Legs” Leger (ex-Every Time I Die). The project never fully took off at first because everyone involved were either in full-time bands and projects but it was slowly brewing from the ground up until finally the guys were able to fully create a full-length album in the time that they had and raised money on Indiegogo to record it in the studio. Prior to the album’s release, it was announced that the label New Damage Records signed the band to their label and release the album on August 11th, 2017 and with that, a headlining tour across America and a few cities in Canada. I, along with others who have been fans of their established bands and projects were excited to hear whatever material they had which came in the form of “Fractional”, the first ever single released. A few other singles dropped after that which led up to the tour which started on the West Coast making their way through select cites stopping in Brooklyn on their way up the northeast.

I was one of the people that bought a VIP ticket to the show which entitled you to show up to the venue early and meet with the guys themselves
(Cory I have spoken to a couple of times before when Norma Jean was touring in support of “Wrongdoers”). It was awesome meeting Chris and Ryan for the first time since I have heard Dead and Divine’s music before and was a fan of Ryan’s drum work on Every Time I Die’s “From Parts Unknown” even though I wish he was still drumming for them. Lol. After me and couple of VIPs got the free goodies at the meet-and-greet, which was a flag and a VIP laminate, those in attendance hung out at the bar and socialized with beers until the show started later.

First band to play was the Boston, Mass. based band Actor, Observer. I have previously seen them play live in Long Island with Varsity, Restwell and Call It Home at Even Flow Bar and Grill. They were good and if memory serves me correctly, they are playing Vanna’s last show ever on December 15th at The Palladium in Worester, Mass. so I recommend checking them out. The second band to play was SunnDrug from Virginia Beach. They were pretty good but never really got into them. Then, Hundred Suns came on stage to close out the night playing almost their entire album excluding two songs. It was definitely a energetic set with the band and the fans exchanging energies back and forth making it a good night. Cory after seeing him many times when he played in Norma Jean sounds exactly how he does on recording even though he may look out of breath or tired when you see him but he still gave it all to the performance as well as Chris on lead guitar executing his parts and of course Ryan on the drums playing the way he plays with his gospel style chops, etc. The band also has two touring members playing rhythm guitar and bass while doing back-up vocals respectively, which made for the completely full sound as it was on the album. Great set, everything sounded good, people in attendance knew every single word to the songs and were singing the words back at Cory. What more can you ask of a good set on a tour that has been very well received?

Hundred Suns setlist: The Prestaliis, Partner/Predator, Last Apology, Fractional, Hellelujah, Bedburner, Reversal, December, Amaranthine.

XVIII

10 years ago, a very popular Metalcore/post-hardcore/alternative rock band Eighteen Visions played their last show at Chain Reaction in Orange County, California. 10 years later, the news pops up on the music news sites and other social media platforms that Eighteen Visions will be reuniting and are working on new music. April 20th, 2017, the song “Oath” was released as a single from the album titled “XVIII” and the shit was a fucking banger! Me, along with other people who have been following the band for years, were excited as shit for the heroes of the OC Metalcore scene for coming back at a time when heavy music was becoming stale monotonous shit. June 3rd, one night after the album release show was over, I had to take it all in that I finally got the chance to see the band live in their hometown in front of a super packed venue. What led up to that point? Here’s the story.

First, Eighteen Visions had been a band for 12 years (started in 1995 and disbanded in 2007) with many member changes and 6 albums and an EP. The first time that I have heard of the band was on the Bleeding Through “Wolves Among Sheep” DVD where former guitarist turned Bleeding Through frontman Brandan Schieppati would always talk about how he was originally in the band in their earlier years and how he ended up in both bands at one point. Since BT was one of my favorite bands, I was enticed to see who was the Eighteen Visions that he spoke of. Of course, the internet is everyone’s favorite place of research so I researched the band and I saw that they were a big deal in the OC scene for years and have put out a bunch of albums and were signed to Trustkill Records. Also many of the members were in other Orange County bands such as Bleeding Through and Throwdown. After a while of listening to maybe one song or two, I bought the self-titled album which came out on Epic Records in 2006, that in the end didn’t do so well for them even if it had a couple of good songs on there. The band decided to call it quits one year after and people were obviously upset and sad to see them go but they had a long career and wanted to pursue different projects and opportunities and left us the music to remember them by. Many members started new bands, new careers and families and basically just lived life with one member, that being bassist Mick Morris, passing away in 2013 after many talks of possibly reuniting the band if the other members were willing to do it. After that happened, may thought the chances of the band coming back together will never happen because it wouldn’t be the same without Mick on bass. But eventually, the aforementioned events that occurred 10 years later really made people really excited and wish that it wasn’t fake news. Turns out it wasn’t fake news when frontman/vocalist James Hart, guitarist Keith Barney and drummer Trevor Friedrich all shared the news on their personal Instagrams solidifying the reunion is indeed real and that they were coming out with new material. Once “Oath” dropped, everyone couldn’t wait for more new music and started breaking out the old school 18V shirts and have been playing their music for weeks leading up to the day their  new album would be released.

For me, being a dude that was a fan of the bands that came from the Orange County scene, one of my dream goals was to see a band from back in the day play live. One day at a barbershop, I see the tickets for the album release show for June 2nd go on sale and decided to buy one just to have one thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it out to the show. It was then I decided to save up and make the trip to see Eighteen Visions live for the first time ever! After a month and a half, I had plane tickets to fly out to Orange County to see the band play their comeback show at The Observatory for June 2nd and put out the album on Rise Records the same day. After a long day of finding a place to stay out in OC and 2 flights, I took an Uber out to the venue after settling at a Motel 6. I had been talking with James for a couple of days and I was hooked up with a photography pass to take photos of the show which made me even more stoked to see the show! Hours later after meeting a couple of people in the venue and also some fans who even travelled out to see the show like I did, it was showtime!

Two bands opened up the show, Seizures from Orange County and Retox from San Diego and they were pretty good bands which got a good reception from the crowd. By the time Retox finished their set and got off stage, the venue was completely packed and ready to rock out to 18V’s return. I along with many photographers took our rightful place in front of the stage and watched as the stage crew for the band soundcheck their equipment and set up the stage props. One including a bass cab with a bass guitar once played by late bassist Mick Morris with a lit candle set in front of it to honor him and his memory which become a thing since the “Oath” video. Around 9:45pm, the band entered the stage to Phil Collins’ hit song “In the Air Tonight”. By the time the first note of the song “She Looks Good in Velvet” hit, everyone started rushing toward the barricade in front of the stage to scream the lyrics James was screaming back to him. At that time, the people in attendance were in for a ride of throwback jams and new material! Like I have said before, James Hart must be immortal because at his age, he still sounds exactly the same live like how he does on recording and is full of energy on stage. Same with Keith with his guitar playing and Trevor playing the drums. To fill in the rhythm guitar section, the band had Josh James of Stick to Your Guns play with them for the live performance and he did an amazing job playing the songs. All throughout the set, people were moshing, singing out loud when James stuck the microphone towards the audience and the band never let down at all. Every song sounded good and the setlist was the perfect mix of songs consisting of the bands’ material from the “Until the Ink Runs Out” album all the way up to the new album “XVIII”. At the end of set, they played my all time favorite song “Tower of Snakes” which had everyone going mental. After they finished the song, they decided to end the night by replaying the breakdown of the song to have everyone mosh one more time until the band thanked the fans for supporting them throughout the years and helping them make many memories of their comeback show and that it won’t be the last they would hear from them. It was definitely a great night because after the show was over everyone made a huge line at the band’s merch table to buy merch from the band which I’m sure was more than enough for a successful night. Welcome back, Eighteen Visions! Metalcore is finally great again!

Setlist: She Looks Good in Velvet, The Psychotic Thought That Satan Gave Jesus, Vanity, She’s a Movie Produced Masterpiece, Black and Bruised, Russian Roulette With a Trigger Happy Manic Depressive, Champagne and Sleeping Pills, Crucified, Oath, Live Again, Motionless and White, Victim, You Broke Like Glass, Dead Rose, Waiting for the Heavens, Who the Fuck Killed John Lennon?, Tower of Snakes

For photos of the show, here’s the link: https://flic.kr/s/aHskWxWkXA

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Thursday at Irving Plaza. April 29th, 2017

After counting down the days for over a month, one of the most highly anticipated shows I have been wanting to see had arrived. It has been over 7 years since I last saw Thursday live on stage and when I heard they were going to perform at Irving Plaza with Basement and Touche Amore, I made sure to buy a VIP ticket ASAP. I had previously enjoyed Thursday’s and Touche Amore’s music so I wasn’t expecting anything less by the two but good live performances so I was excited to see what they would do. Alright, let’s talk about it.

First performance I didn’t really care much for. It was a solo performer who goes by the name Cities Aviv who performs electronic-ish hip hop with him and a beat machine. Not what I was expecting to be the opening act as I was under the impression that Cities Aviv would be a full band. After he finished, Touche Amore was next. Touche Amore woke the crowd up by jumping into their first song and having a mini mosh pit going on in the middle of the floor. Funny story is that I thought for some reason that they were Cities Aviv and the first act went by a different name. But regardless, Touche Amore put on a great tight performance and had people singing along to certain parts of songs. Really showed how much their music is loved by many people including myself since their past couple of albums were really good. No bad words about the performance at all. If you haven’t listened to Touche Amore before and are just looking for good post-hardcore music, look no further! Now all I have to do is see Pianos Become the Teeth live soon.

Setlist (courtesy of setlist.fm): Flowers and You, Pathfinder, The Great Repetition, Art Official, Displacement, And Now It’s Happening in Mine, Amends, Benediction, Home Away From Here, Just Exist, Rapture, ~.

Basement, a band from the U.K. was up next. Before I got word of the tour, I have never heard Basement’s music before so when I found out they were playing I had to listen to a bit of their past music just to get an idea of what they were going to offer musically. They have a pretty good sound for themselves and little did I know is that they had went on hiatus for two years and got back together after some time to finish school and work regular jobs. They have just released an album just last year on Fueled by Ramen titled Promise Everything. As far as their live performance goes, they sounded good and was never sloppy. Definitely gives me something to look forward in case they do jump on another tour with a couple of my favorite bands in the near future.

Setlist (courtesy of setlist.fm): Whole, Fading, Aquasun, Spoiled, For You the Moon, Earl Grey, Brother’s Keeper, Promise Everything, Pine, Covet.

Now one of the fathers of the modern day post-hardcore genre took the stage to continuous applause and cheers from the audience before they jumped into the first song of the set “For the Workforce, Drowning”. The crowd was getting wild but was second runner up to the crowd at the Rise Against show I was at previously. With songs spanning across their entire discography, Thursday really held those in attendance by the balls by performing good song after good song without holding back whatsoever. Also at their ages, they still know how to put on a show. What can I say about Mr. Geoff Rickly himself? The famed Thursday frontman is a legend in his own way. During songs he would talk to the many fans that were watching him on stage tell stories of how the songs they were performing came to be and what were the reason behind them. Also he went on to speaking up for the refugees and the immigrants that come to New York City and making it a beautiful place to live that is rich in multiple cultures and opened up about his newfound sobriety and how he became the man that he is and how he is proud of the work that he and his bandmates put out over the 20 years they have been a band. Thankful for the band for providing jams such as “Understanding in a Car Crash”, “Signals Over the Air” and “Counting 5-4-3-2-1” throughout the night and made the show what it was! Word is that they will be performing a free show  with the band PUP that they will be playing in Brooklyn this summer and I know I will be in attendance. Can’t get enough of the legends known as Thursday. 1997 until forever!

Setlist: For the Workforce, Drowning, The Other Side of the Crash/Over and Out (Of Control), Cross Out the Eyes, Beyond the Visible Spectrum, Autobiography of a Nation, Counting 5-4-3-2-1 (featuring Jeremy Bolm of Touche Amore), A Hole in the World, Signals Over the Air, Jet Black New Year, This Song Brought to You by a Falling Bomb, Division St., Sparks Against the Sun, Understanding in a Car Crash. Encore: War All the Time, Turnpike Divides.

Rise Against @ House of Vans in Brooklyn, NY

Before we begin, mind you that this show was the first time being amongst the sweaty fans in the crowd in forever. Never doing it again. Alright, now to celebrate the upcoming release of their newest album “Wolves”, Rise Against decided to play a couple of shows in both Chicago and Brooklyn, New York locations of the House of Vans. After listening to Rise Against since 2006’s “The Sufferer and the Witness” (one of my all-time favorite albums), I was stoked to see Rise Against for the first time. I expected nothing less of a crazy show because Rise Against shows happen to be wild and they have the most dedicated fanbase sing every word and have fun while listening to the words of frontman/guitarist Tim McIlrath. Here goes!

After a opening set by the local New York band Dead Heavens, Rise Against came on stage and the crowd with me in it was pushing side to side, back and forth with a few people falling and busting their asses. To my expectation, Rise Against during the live performance sound exactly like the CD. Very straightforward and no backing tracks and shit. Very punk rock in general. The band managed to perform songs from their past discography and had time to squeeze in 3 new songs from their upcoming album in the middle of the set to a good reception. One in particular that I heard days before they came to Brooklyn titled “The Violence”, I thought was alright but it’s much better live as opposed to recording. For the encore, Tim McIlrath went up on stage with his acoustic guitar and played “Hero of War” as a solo performance before the full band came back and played two more songs for ending the night altogether. In the end, I felt super drenched because of being in the crowd but it was worth it for a good night. Be sure to go and pre-order the album “Wolves” which comes out June 9th on Virgin Records.

Setlist: Give It All, Black Masks & Gasoline, Satellite, Architects, Re-Education (Through Labor), Wolves (new song/live debut), Welcome to the Breakdown (new song/live debut), The Violence (new song/live debut), State of the Union, Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover), Everchanging, Survive, Prayer of the Refugee. Encore: Hero of War (solo acoustic), Blood-Red, White & Blue, Savior.

The American Nightmare Tour. Night 1 in NYC.

Monday, March 20th was the day that the chaos in New York City started. The chaos being the American Nightmare Tour with Bring Me the Horizon, Underoath and Beartooth at Terminal 5. It was a completely sold out show so they added a second show but I was all for the first night altogether. I really was anticipating the show for months now since I bought a ticket in the Bowery area and the plus side was seeing Bring Me the Horizon live at the level they are at now since they have gotten bigger over the last few years. Chaos and a flock of scene kids were expected so I knew what I was getting myself into when going into the show. Here’s what went down.

Ohio’s own Beartooth were the openers and they set the stage for everything that was to come after. This was my 3rd time seeing Beartooth live. Of course there was lots of jumping and loud voices that “made the earth shake” while Beartooth were performing on stage. Everything sounded tight live with no fuckups and Conor Dennis (ex-Being as an Ocean), Beartooth’s touring drummer is always the best to watch live because he makes drumming look so easy. The rhythm section was good too and Caleb Shomo was just being Caleb, having fun on stage while singing and screaming his lyrics to the hundreds of people in the venue who were either seeing Beartooth live for the first time or have been following the band since the very beginning. Good set in the end and even if they played a couple songs off of the Aggressive album (which I wasn’t really big on), it was a good start to the show.

Setlist: Aggressive, Body Bag, Sick of Me, The Lines, Fair Weather Friend, In Between, Hated.

Last time I saw Underoath live was just last year when they reunited and they played both They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line albums from front to back. Great show that was and I was looking forward to seeing them again after a year had gone by and they still haven’t lost a step when it comes to their live performance. Despite a couple of sound hiccups which weren’t on their part but it had to do with the sound system cutting in and out for a millisecond and on one or two songs. Sound hiccups could never stop Underoath as they were troopers and put on a good set. To be honest, the band have never sounded bad at all. They even added two songs from the Lost in the Sound of Separation album and one off of the Disambiguation album (which Aaron Gillespie wasn’t on because he had left the band at the time the album was recorded). Of course, the songs off the aforementioned albums were the top hits of the night that had everyone singing along and just having fun. Before the end of their set, the band had promised to be back in New York City next year to play for their fans again. Definitely going to be there for that because it’s Underoath! No question!

Setlist: Everyone Looks So Good From Here, In Regards to Myself, It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door, A Moment Suspended in Time, A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White, Breathing In a New Mentality, Emergency Broadcast: The End is Near, Illuminator, There Could Be Nothing After This, Reinventing Your Exit, Writing on the Walls.

Up next were the headliners all the way from the UK. Funny story is that I thought that the show was going to be the first time ever seeing Bring Me the Horizon live but I remembered that I saw them back in 2009 on the Taste of Chaos Tour with Thursday, Cancer Bats, Four Year Strong and Pierce the Veil. But years have passed since then and people were in for a treat when the lads took the stage while the gigantic movie screen spelling “SPIRIT” while the people were screaming along with words. Moments later, the confetti string exploded and the set was under way. During “Happy Song” when Oli was singing the verses, his voice was being drowned the voices of the audience singing to the top of their lungs. The venue felt like it was getting too overcrowded at times during set due to the many times Oli commanded that the pit get larger for certain moments during their set. There were one or two moments where just like with Underoath, the sound would be cutting in and out but that would never throw the band off but it kind of was an annoyance to certain people who were trying to watch the band. Obviously the epic moment came when they were performing “Shadow Moses” and the loud voices became deafening: “THIS IS SEMPITERNAL!”. Oli live during the show sounded like his voice was in good condition throughout the night and would even at times bring back the high-pitched shrieks and his deathcore lows from back in the day and still have a good singing voice. As I mentioned before, the band was playing with a gigantic screen behind them and would show movies and visuals that catered to each song as the set went on. Definitely made for a great show and I felt like I was watching the scene version of Coldplay. Even some folks in the audience who were old enough to be my parents were singing along and having fun as well even singing along to “Drown” which was the final encore song of the night. By then I had to exit the venue early because I wasn’t about to get caught in the human traffic like when the Senses Fail show ended.

Setlist: Happy Song, Go to Hell, For Heavens Sake, The House of Wolves, Avalanche, Shadows Moses, Chelsea Smile, Follow You, Sleepwalking, Doomed, Can You Feel My Heart, Antivist, Throne. Encore: True Friends, Oh No, Drown.

 

Show score: 4.5/5