So 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