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

 

After the Burial’s Carry the Flame Tour. Live at Webster Hall 3/19/17.

Last time I saw After the Burial live in concert during the Sumerian 10-year Anniversary Tour, it was a 10/10 performance. Now that they’re on their Carry the Flame headlining tour, I was expecting the same result. With a couple of support bands, they made sure that they were going to begin their year the right way and not have their fans leave disappointed. After watching Senses Fail and Counterparts the night before, I was looking forward to this show being that it was Day 2 of my 3-day weekend string of shows and it was the heaviest one in between. Here’s what transpired.

First band that opened the show was Invent, Animate. I have heard a couple of their songs before but never really were into them. They had a pretty good set tonight. Had a few people mosh during their set even had a moment where one person I’ve seen at shows try to cheap shot someone in the pit but looked like it was the lightest punch I’ve ever seen thrown (Lmao). Other than that, there wasn’t too much movement from the rest of the audience. Overall, Invent, Animate sounded good and even had Ryan Kirby of Fit for a King come do a guest vocal spot during a live performance on one of the songs during their set. Even if it doesn’t have me looking forward to seeing Invent, Animate live, it was a decent start to what was a good night.

Setlist: Darkbloom, Naturehold (feat. Ryan Kirby of Fit for a King), White Wolf, Dead Roots, Celestial Floods.

Fit for an Autopsy was up next and being that they were one of the hometown bands (according to frontman Joe Bad), I was looking to forward to seeing their show again after seeing them with Acacia Strain and Counterparts almost 2 years ago. Being that they now have a new album out titled The Great Collapse, I was expecting the set to be full of songs from the new album and their last album Absolute Hope Absolute Hell. Of course, their set never lets down whatsoever. Joe Bad’s pipes are as strong as ever and his band is musically tight during the live performance that had you headbanging all the way through. Just good sounding live deathcore all the way around. Good crowd participation surpassing the reaction during Invent, Animate’s set with people screaming along to the words and pit activity. Afterwards, I got to shoot the shit with Joe Bad and Tim Howley afterwards and talk Blackcraft clothing and congratulate them on their new album. If you haven’t already, pick it up and show support. Good and anti-stale deathcore at it’s finest.

Setlist: Absolute Hope Absolute Hell, Still We Destroy, Saltwound, Heads Will Hang, Iron Moon, Flatlining.

Fit for a King was up next and even after a bad start to the tour due to their equipment being stolen, they still managed to perform a good set. Mixed with songs that spanned from the Creation/Destruction album down to the most recent album Deathgrip, it definitely brought the moshing out of the woodwork. My god. The boys from Texas still sound as good as ever and never losing their energy. Third to fourth time seeing them play live, might I add. Not too much to say about their set except for great crowd participation, good energy being exchanged back a forth between the band and the audience and the songs off of Deathgrip sound good live. Definitely a good set.

Setlist: The End’s Beginning, Pissed Off, Hollow King (Sound of the End), Stacking Bodies, Shadows & Echoes, Dead Memory, Disease, Slave to Nothing.

Now for the band everyone I’m sure was waiting to see. Glass Cloud with Frankie Palmeri on vocals (which is being marketed as Emmure). Now since Frankie Palmeri is the hometown “antichrist”, I’m sure there were very few of his followers present but we all know that people wanted to see the band play live just because of Josh Travis on guitar. There was definitely some talk from the few people in front of me yelling that they were good before and what happened to them and they suck and whatnot. Even if most of the set was just Glass Cloud covering past Emmure songs for the people in attendance, the energy was unreal with much crowd participation. And the songs off the album Look at Yourself which was just released weeks earlier on Sharptone Records sound good live as well as on recording and of course Josh Travis is a monster on guitar with tremendous stage presence. The rest of the Glass Cloud members, which include Phil Lockett on bass and Josh Miller on drums, killed it as well. But of course, Frankie Palmeri’s the frontman so of course people would have to look at him do his usual shit but of course all eyes were on Josh Travis the whole time. It’s basically the “Limp Bizkit Effect” whereas Fred Durst would be doing his thing on stage and people would look at Wes Borland instead. Afterwards, people managed to leave afterwards leaving a lot of people still in attendance wondering if After the Burial would have people left to watch their set.

Setlist: Bring a Gun to School, Nemesis, N.I.A. (News In Arizona), Torch, Sunday Bacon, I Thought You Met Telly and Turned Me Into Casper, Russian Hotel Aftermath, Flag of the Beast, Most Hated, 4 Poisons 3 Words, E, Children of Cybertron.

Need not to worry because After the Burial and they killed it and those who left in attendance show them what their music does for them. The set consisted of lots of chugging grooves, tight musicianship. crowd surfing, stage diving, the whole shebang. All in all, it was nothing short of amazingness and tremendous talent provided by After the Burial. Just for surprise sake, the band incorporated a couple of old songs from their very first album Forging a Future Self prior to releasing the rest of their albums on Sumerian Records. I for one have never heard their older material before so hearing them live was great stuff and had me going home to hear them on recording. For the encore performance, frontman Anthony Notarmaso, addressed the audience who wanted to hear one more song being played that the song that they were going to perform was a very special song that would mean shit ton to them for the rest of their lives and it was dedicated to their late guitarist Justin Lowe and had the audience hold up lighters or cellphones in the air as the very first notes were being played before the madness started. Of course, people went mental at the breakdown after the trendy airhorn part. After the band got off stage, the fans left happy and recovering from a great night altogether. Even if they had a couple more dates on the tour to go but safe to say that the New York show was one of the best shows that ATB and the rest of the bands have had so far.

Setlist: Lost in the Static, Collapse, Anti-Pattern, Your Troubles Will Cease and Fortune Will Smile Upon You, Aspiration, Deluge, Pi (The Mercury God of Infinity), A Steady Decline, Fingers Like Daggers, Berzerker, Cursing Akhenaten, A Wolf Amongst Ravens. Encore: Laurentian Ghosts.

Show score: 4.5/5

15 Years of Senses Fail, Live at Webster Hall

After a few days since the Born of Osiris show was postponed, I was anticipating the Senses Fail show to start off the 3-day weekend string of shows. The tour they were on was to celebrate 15 years of Senses Fail and also to play their 2006 full-length album Still Searching in full. Now my first actual taste of Senses Fail music was in the year 2006 when I first heard the Still Searching album on the way to work or I was heading up to White Plains. But anyways, being a full-blown metalcore kid and was looking for something outside of the norm and Senses Fail was the gateway to post-hardcore music and I haven’t strayed far from that ever since. As soon as I heard they were going to perform the full album at Webster Hall, I had to get my ticket ASAP and relive good music especially when they brought along Counterparts for the ride. Pretty much, the reason for attending the show was to see both Senses Fail and Counterparts on the same stage so let’s jump right in.

First band that played was a band called Like Pacific, a pop-punk band from Ontario, Canada. I have heard their name many times when reading music news or tours and whatnot but never really listened to them. I kept thinking I saw them with Vanna one time but then I realized it was actually Rarity, which I enjoy their music. But first time seeing Like Pacific live, I caught the last couple of songs from their set. They weren’t bad but I don’t see myself listening to them anytime soon. Pretty good set from them with very few people at the front singing along and they ended with a little hardcore improve song that had people mosh for a bit since Counterparts was coming up later and just to have a little fun with the audience.

Up next was Movements from California. This band is also another one I haven’t heard before but if Senses Fail has them as support for their tour, they must be good and hopefully was little better than Like Pacific. Turns out they were better because as soon as I got home from the show, I immediately listened to their EP titled Outgrown Things. Now these guys kind of reminded me a little bit of Trophy Eyes. Their style was post-hardcore mixed with a bit pop punk but not the happy-go-lucky style of pop punk. They blended both really well and the vocalist Patrick Miranda had a pretty good singing voice with a little bit of an edge to it but in between songs he was a laid back guy when he addressed the audience and thanking them for listening and encouraged them to buy their merch if they liked what they heard. Pretty good set by them and they even added a never heard new song that will be on their upcoming release that they recorded and will be released on Fearless Records late this year.

Setlist: Protection, Hatchet, Nineteen, Colorblind (New song), Vacant Home, Worst Wishes, Kept.

After Movements came one of my favorite modern day melodic hardcore bands, Counterparts. Being that it was my second time seeing them, I expected a set nothing short of insane and energetic because last time I saw them with The Acacia Strain and Fit for an Autopsy, they brought it when they played live. They’re supposed to have a new album come out this year so I was anticipating a new song or two and the merch they had was kind of giving a vibe that their new material would have a theme to it or something. Even if I didn’t hear any new music, they still played a great set and not letting down anyone. Songs from the set spanning from their Difference Between Home Between Hell and Home and Tragedy Will Find Us albums with a song from The Current Will Carry Us along with the then fully packed house made for a great set-up for Senses Fail to come up afterwards. Vocalist Brendan Murphy sometime during the set said that the reason he is in a band was because of Senses Fail and that he and his band were excited to be on the tour with them and to help celebrate 15 years of Senses Fail. After their set was finished, I was glad to have been reminded on why I like Counterparts so much musically on album and live performance.

Setlist: Stranger, Stillborn, Witness, Outlier, Ghost, Choke, Collapse, Solace, The Disconnect, Burn.

Then came that everyone in the house was way too excited to see. The Garden State’s own Senses Fail. Just to hear the album that gave me a first glimpse of post-hardcore was going to be great time so I expected nothing less of loud singing from the crowd and Buddy Nielsen and Co. (which consisted of new faces on lead guitar and bass respectively) giving the people of New York City in attendance something to talk about. Still Searching from front to back sounded just as good live as it did on recording all those years ago and they sound so much better in Drop C in my opinion. Remember though, what I may say doesn’t make me right. Hearing my favorites “Bonecrusher” and “All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues” live along with the rest of the album made my night. They also squeezed in about two songs from the deluxe edition of the album before they performed an encore consisting of songs from other past albums and one from their newest acoustic EP release In Your Absence. During songs Buddy Nielsen would talk about how Senses Fail was close to breaking up again because he didn’t know the direction that the band would go in and thought they were finished. Also how he wanted to end his own life while he was in a dark time in his life to many people’s dismay but overtime he realized that being on stage and playing music was his life and it changed his life perspective and they are going to be recording a new album set to be released later this year. Supposedly after the last two great albums which were more on the hardcore side and was dark, their newest full-length is going to be more on the side of the “Let It Enfold You” and “Still Searching” albums, like the old school Senses Fail style making a return but with a modern day twist, of course. Singing along with the songs “Family Tradition” “Buried a Lie” and “Bite to Break Skin” was the perfect end to the night and set. I even managed to purchase a Still Searching flag, which I will hang in my room sometime soon. Amazing set, amazing night!

Setlist: The Rapture, Bonecrusher, Sick or Sane (Fifty for a Twenty), Can’t Be Saved, Calling All Cars, Shark Attack, Still Searching, To All the Crowded Rooms, Lost and Found, Every Day Is a Struggle, All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues, Negative Space, The Priest and the Matador, Stretch Your Legs to Coffin Length, Mason’s Revenge. Encore: Family Tradition, Jets to Peru, Buried a Lie, Blackout, Bite to Break Skin.

 

Show score: 4/5

Silent Planet’s Everything Was Sound Tour 2017. Live at The Studio at Webster Hall

“Music is philosophy. Every chord, every word tells a story. If you listen you will know its meaning.” – Kamanda Ndama

Bottom line, every songs has to tell a story. The songs with stories take place no matter where you are. But in my case, the songs with stories all took place at the establishment known as The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City during the Everything Was Sound Tour. The great guys in Silent Planet from Asuza, California were the headliners bringing the bands Hail the Sun, Dayseeker and Ghost Key along for the ride so a good show was to be expected. So let’s jump right in!

The opening band called Refinement, whom I didn’t really care for, opened the show for the guys in Ghost Key, a melodic hardcore band from Peoria, Illinois whose album “If I Don’t Make It” which just came out February 17th on InVogue Records. I have heard a song here and there from those dudes for some time now before their full-length came out and I was curious to see how they would do performing live. And in the end, I was impressed with their set. Pretty good energy with a good reception from the audience. The vocalist Austin O’Brien in between songs would speak to the audience telling brief stories and brief speeches coming from his personal life experience. Topics ranging from people living their life trying to impress people when they should be loving themselves, politics and treating people with respect even if you may or may not agree with their personal beliefs and still try to love one another. The one major story Austin told before they played the last song of their set which was titled “Downpour” off their new album, was the story of him losing his two best friends to suicide by self-inflicted gunshot and overdosing on a combination of pills and alcohol respectively. After the tragic deaths, he thought about taking his own life because the depression of having to bury them were taking a toll on him until he decided to focus all the energy into music and now is touring the world with his band influencing those who are feeling the same way he did to talk about it to other people and to the band themselves because he is looking forward to writing more stories about how people including himself feel. Overall, their five-song set was definitely one to check out for those who haven’t heard Ghost Key’s music and had people going over to their merch table afterwards and talking with Austin. You can also check out the conversation that Austin had with the homie Ian Hates on the most recent Conversation Edition episode of Ian Hates Music. http://www.ianhates.com/podcasts/ghost-key-austin-obrien-ian-hates-music-78.

Ghost Key setlist: Dismantle, Solstice, Judgement, Ache, Downpour.

Up next was the band Dayseeker from Orange, California whom I wasn’t really a fan of but as soon as I saw they were on the bill, I was eager to see how they did live and they did a good job  and vocalist Rory Rodriguez has a pretty good live voice balancing both screaming vocals and clean singing vocals. Their set started off with a pretty common twist which can occur every now and then: Opening the set with a brand new song that no one has heard before as opposed to past works. The song was titled “Vultures” which was written for a friend of the band that was a victim of sexual abuse and it went over really well with the audience in attendance who didn’t know the words. But for the rest of their set, the four songs they played definitely had a couple of people singing along with the words, created some minor moshing and a guest live vocal appearance by Silent Planet’s Garrett Russell. Dayseeker ended the set with the song “The Earth Will Turn” off the album “Origin”, written about Rory’s mother and her battle with methamphetamine addiction. After seeing them live, I get why people like their music a lot and can relate to it. The musicianship was tight with a good crowd reaction and participation.

Dayseeker setlist: Vultures (new song), Sleep in the Sea (featuring Garrett Russell), The Burning of Bridges, A Cancer Uncontained, The Earth Will Turn.

Up next was Hail the Sun, a post-hardcore band from Chico, California. Before seeing them live, I never heard their music before even if I knew them from being on Will Swan’s Blue Swan Records before moving to Equal Vision Records. Pretty unique band when they played as a five-piece for the couple of songs to start off their set before their drummer went off stage and the band played as a four-piece with the vocalist playing the drums for the next two songs. And let me tell you, those dudes know how to put on a show. Lots of energy and lots of crowd participation including the songs they sang back to them. I couldn’t really tell what songs they played but I did enjoy the song “Rolling Out the Red Carpet” which was the most energetic performance during the set. Was impressed for sure and anyone who likes the Will Swan sound should definitely check them out and see them live!

After Hail the Sun came off stage, the anticipation for Silent Planet to come out and perform was felt throughout the venue while the road crew set up their equipment and lights and sound checked. After a few minutes, the lights dimmed and Silent Planet was ready to go. Mind you, this was my second time seeing Silent Planet live. Before then, they were on tour with For Today, Fit for a King, Gideon and Phinehas at Gramercy Theatre when I last saw them. After seeing them live again, I still stand by my opinion that they should be headlining their tours from now on. Fuck, the energy of the band and the crowd bouncing back and forth was unbelievable! Garrett Russell, to me, is one of the most up close and personal yet humble frontmen in metalcore today. Always with a story to tell and a inspirational message in between songs during the set. Politics, religion, love and respect, you name it! And even when the songs are played he tells the story behind each song from their discography. For example, the song “Darkstrand
(Hibakusha) and how it tells the story of a mother and child bond forcefully broken during the Hiroshima bombing during World War II. Aside from the Code Orange and Darkest Hour headlining shows respectively, Silent Planet’s headlining set was definitely up there with them! Lots of crowd surfing, many guest vocal appearances, and heavy moshing in the pit! And even though we don’t see guitarist Spencer Keene play live on tour, guitarist Mitchell Stark held it down as the sole live guitarist while Alex Camarena pounded away on the drums, bassist Thomas Freckleton did his thing while he provided the clean vocals and Garrett using his mighty voice throughout the night, never gassing out nor having his voice give out. Great, great performance and I was fortunate to meet Alex and talk with him for a bit and most definitely Garrett after the set after many of his fans exchange hugs and tell their stories to him and talk with him for a bit about his conversation with Ian Hates, how much his band’s music means to people and how Silent Planet are always welcome in New York whenever they tour. Definitely respect him for always wanting to take care of his fans and making them feel wanted in the Silent Planet community. Great guys, great music!

Silent Planet setlist: The Well, XX (City Grave), Panic Room, Wasteland (Vechnost), Native Blood, Understanding Love as Loss, Tiny Heads (Au Revoir), Orphan, Nervosa, Psychescape, Depths II. Encore: Darkstrand (Hibakusha).

It was definitely a good night at The Studio at Webster Hall. Every band did their best and gave it their all with no problems or complaints throughout the night. On the way home, I was thinking that the theme of the tour was Silent Planet’s idea of having the bands they brought on the road with them tell their stories through the music because they definitely have stories with their songs as well. And it’s working out really well because at the end of the day, stories should be told through music and we’re always looking for the next story to be told in song and people can establish a connection until the very last note.

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Darkest Hour: Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora Tour 2017

3000x3000pxdarkesthour-resize-720x720-584f597c072a7It’s crazy to believe that after 21 years, Darkest Hour is still making music and touring after they formed in 1995. With their mix of Melodic Death Metal and Hardcore influenced by the likes of At the Gates and Damnation A.D., their sonic assault is still as powerful as ever. Eight full-length albums later and a couple of compilation songs and EPs, they are are set to release their ninth full-length album titled Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora via Southern Lord Recordings and are currently in the middle of their headlining tour and recently made a stop at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn, New York. Perfect place for a good show since Darkest Hour has always been one of the best bands to see live in my opinion so stage-diving, mashing and loud voices was to be expected throughout the night.

I first heard of Darkest Hour back in 2004 when Battle For Ozzfest was playing on MTV and one episode had the contestants play one song on stage with one of the Second Stage bands on the tour. Of course, Darkest Hour was one of those bands and Adair from the band Manntis was chosen to play the song “With Friends Like These” with them. After that, I have watched their videos for the songs “Convalescence” and “Sound the Surrender” of the album Undoing Ruin on rotation on Headbangers Ball and they have gotten my attention since then. By the year 2006, I found out Soilwork was doing a headlining tour and Darkest Hour, Mnemic, and Threat Signal were the support bands so the opportunity to finally see them live was there and I bought a ticket. Seeing them live was really good for the 22 year-old me at that time even if I didn’t know too much of the lyrics to their songs and it enticed me to buy my first Darkest Hour album titled Deliver Us one year after. After listening to Darkest Hour for years and years and keeping track on what they’re up to, Unearth decided to take them out on tour in 2014. At the time their self-titled album was released on Sumerian Records and Travis Robin, formerly of Sky Eats Airplane and Periphery was their official drummer so I had to go see how he did live with them and it was nothing short of good. So good that I filmed the performances which you can watch on my Youtube channel, troz3861. With the new full-length album that’s coming out on March 10th, I read that they were going to be releasing it without a label and are doing a Indiegogo campaign to have their fans donate money to them to record, promote and tour more. I was one of the people that donated to the cause to receive a hard copy of the new album and DVD of the 10 year anniversary of Undoing Ruin live, which isn’t too far from now as they have yet to be shipped out soon.

Now in present day, the Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora headlining tour rolls by and this is my third time seeing Darkest Hour, I was really looking forward to seeing the show and hearing the new songs live for the first time. For this tour they brought out a couple of support bands: Immortal Bird from Chicago (Whom I thought were good. Their drummer is a beast!), Withered from Atlanta, Rivers of Nihil from Pennsylvania (which I didn’t get the hype about) and Rotten Sound from Finland (pretty good Grindcore band). After Rotting Sound came off stage and Darkest Hour was setting up, everyone in the crowd was super excited to see Darkest Hour live and hear new songs along with old favorites from albums before. Being that their set took place in Saint Vitus Bar, a lot of the events that were to be expected took place during the set: Stage diving, moshing, lots of people singing along, guitar solos and riffs provided by Mike Schliebaum and Mike “Lonestar” Carrigan, drum abuse provided by Travis Orbin, Aaron Deal executing the bass lines and the loud barks of vocalist John Henry. Madness! At the end of the night, fans were all exhausted as they witnessed a great set performed by the great heavy metal men from Washington D.C.. Lots of off-stage socializing with many of the band members telling them that the set was great, the merch table being occupied by fans, drinking of beers at the bar and live show recuperation as people exited the venue while people stayed inside. So definitely be on the lookout for the new Darkest Hour album because I have the advanced digital download of the album before the official album release and have listened to it many times already. Trust me, the new album isn’t anything to be taken lightly and isn’t an album to be ignored whatsoever!

Setlist: Knife in the Safe Room, For the Soul of the Savior, Doomsayer (The Beginning of the End), No God, Timeless Numbers, Savor the Kill, Violent by Nature, Those Who Survived, Marching into the Killing Rhythm, With a Thousand Words to Say But One, Rapture in Exile, The Sadist Nation.

August Burns Red: 10 Years of Messengers

img_3258img_3259img_3260img_3261img_3265img_3267img_3268img_3272img_3274img_3278img_3283img_3284img_3285img_3287So last night, I had the chance to relive the age of 22 inside Playstation Theater in Times Square last night by revisiting an album that had me taking notice of a band that was about to become one of the metalcore heavy hitters. The band being August Burns Red and the tour that they are currently on is to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the album Messengers, which is the follow up to their debut full-length album Thrill Seeker. It’s crazy that after 10 years, the album still remains a staple in their career and remains a staple in our lives at very young ages when the album was released back in June 19th, 2007. For me, it still remains one of the best sonically sounding albums August Burns Red has put out in their career and remains a timeless classic in the genre. Not that Constellations wasn’t a masterpiece either but that was when all the bandwagon August Burns Red fans came out of the woodwork.
The first time hearing about August Burns Red goes back to a Metal Injection where Rob Pasbani was interviewing Adam D. of Killswitch Engage while Ozzfest 2005 was going on. When Rob asked him of what albums he was producing at the time since he was always busy working as a producer instead of seeing a lot of the bands that were playing, he mentioned that he was working on August Burns Red’s debut album which came to be Thrill Seeker along with Parkway Drive’s debut album. As a young dude at the name who mainly got into metalcore bands were because of the band name (Weird, I know) and whoever the band was working with at the time since I was so into Killswitch Engage since high school. So I kept up to date with August Burns Red, mind you this was back in the days of Myspace, until Thrill Seeker dropped November 8th, 2005 and I watched the music video for “Your Little Suburbia is in Ruins” for the first time. At that time, that was my very taste of ABR and I give credit to Limewire for existing because I got to hear the complete album for myself even though so many albums came out at that time so I didn’t get to listen to it over and over again like I would’ve wanted to. I went back to the album every now and then while listening to so many good albums over the next year or so until the time I read in Revolver magazine that ABR was coming out with a new album and I was stoked to hear it since I already liked the main single off of Thrill Seeker. June 19th, 2007 came and when Virgin Megastore was still in existence at that time, I bought the hard copy of Messengers and listened to it for the first time on the way home on the train on my old portable CD player and from the first note of the opening track “The Truth of a Liar”, I was immediately hooked. Throughout the album, guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler, drummer Matt Greiner definitely upped the ante with their song structures, riffs and breakdowns along with the two new members at that time, them being vocalist Jake Luhrs and bassist Dustin Davidson little did people know that that was going to be the longest lasting lineup ABR has had in their career up to this day after 10 years since Messengers was released. Them being young dudes at that time working with producer Tue Madsen was the thing that really did it for me because Tue Madsen had done a couple of albums that I loved before like The Haunted’s The Dead Eye, Sick of It All’s Death to Tyrants and Threat Signal’s Under Reprisal. After Messengers, I still followed ABR’s career up to now leading up to last night’s performance.
For the celebration of the 10 years of Messengers, ABR decided to take ’68, Australia’s own In Hearts Wake and Protest the Hero from Canada with them. When the news dropped that they were going to be touring early 2017 to celebrate the album, I knew I had to buy a ticket just to go back to that time in my life by watching the boys play my all-time favorite album from front to back. First up was ’68, the duo of Josh Scogin, formerly of Norma Jean and The Chariot and drummer Michael McClellan bringing their brand of noise/punk rock to open the show. I had already seen them once before opening up for Norma Jean’s 10-year anniversary tour for O’God The Aftermath and they were nothing short of entertaining for those who have probably never heard of them and a good way to open the show for the rest of the lineup to come after. In Hearts Wake was up next and they put on a good live set which I had finally had the chance of seeing because at Warped Tour last year, I couldn’t stay for their set. Really good song choices and a tight performance really had the crowd moving especially when vocalist Jake Taylor brought out an inflated crocodile pool float to crowd surf during one of the songs which was kind of funny. Also, he dedicated one of the songs to Britney Spears for whatever reason. Protest the Hero came on after with their brand of progressive metal with power metallish vocals. I was into Protest the Hero back then and I have listened to their newer stuff but I was more into their older stuff but they still kept the performance tight regardless if I was killing a can of IPA I bought at the bar. In between songs, Rody Walker kept the crowd entertained by telling some funny stories and jokes about being from Canada, pencils and certain moments in his life.
Up to headline were the boys from Lancaster, Pennsylvania who came out to a remixed version of Rozalla’s Everybody’s Free to Feel Good to a light show that got everybody hyped and excited and ready to relive memories, mosh and sing every word out loud. From “The Truth of a Liar” until the final track “Redemption”, the performance of Messengers in it’s entirely was nothing short of greatness. Afterwards some people thought that after ABR got off stage was the end of the show before they came back out to perform an encore or maybe they weren’t into the newer ABR material. But for the encore, Matt Greiner came out and performed a live solo along with bassist Dustin Davidson who performed on a 4-piece percussion set too as well just to give the fans a treat until the band came back out to perform a couple of songs from their latest albums before concluding the set with the jam “White Washed” off of the Constellations album which brought out the loud voices from the audience during the last breakdown of the song which had the fans exhausted but happy that they witnessed a good show and had people talking while exiting the venue.
Just want to say a special thanks to August Burns Red for releasing Messengers because it definitely propelled their career to new heights and kept them guys going as a band. Here’s to many more years because as they put it in between songs that they have a lot more in store for the fans. Can’t wave goodbye to the past in terms of the album even though we do have a whole life to lead.

’68 setlist (courtesy of setlist.fm):
TRACK 3 g, TRACK 8 o, You’ll Miss Us, TRACK 1 R

In Hearts Wake setlist (courtesy of setlist.fm):
Refuge, Healer, Survival (The Chariot), Badlands, Divine, Breakaway, Earthwalker

Protest the Hero setlist (courtest of setlist.fm):
Yellow Teeth, Sex Tapes, Tidal, Sequoia Throne, Nautical, Limb From Limb, Bloodmeat

August Burns Red setlist:
The Truth of a Liar, Up Against the Ropes, Back Burner, The Blinding Light, Composure, Vital Signs, The Eleventh Hour, The Balance, Black Sheep, An American Dream, Redemption.
*Encore: Matt Greiner drum solo featuring Dustin Davidson, Empire, Fault Line, Martyr, Ghosts, White Washed