Sadly, I didn’t get to see every band on this bill. Certain situations arose unexpectedly, and as luck would fuck me, I missed ERRA’s (the opening band) set; but from what the crowd stated over and over again, they killed it, so kudos to those boys. Aside from that set, I was honestly still surprised by the amount of people that had already showed up for the first band. You never really see that anymore, but this bill was pretty stacked with talented artists, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising.
Around the time I sauntered in and forced my way through the crowd to get as close as I could to the barricade, FIT FOR A KING was taking the stage. Now, as most people around here know, FIT FOR A KING are Dallas natives, so my expectations for this set were high plus, they had the “home field advantage”, so I got as comfortable as I could be with the large man spewing body odor next to me, and opened my eyes and ears. Now, I have to say, their newest release was solid all the way through. Their creativity as a band really came to light and brought a new intensity to their sound, that being said…They’re fucking BORING onstage. Each and every performer was solid, from the clean singing to the guitar parts to the drums, and the screams, it sounded just like an album play through, and they did move every now and again.
But honestly, everyone in the band wearing the same windbreaker doesn’t make you cool enough to just stand there. I’m sure they’re all really awesome people, but for fuck’s sake, just go apeshit while you’re up there. Even after all my shit-talking, the crowd still really enjoyed them, and got very into the set, so I suppose at the end of it all, that’s the only thing that counts.
I wasn’t bummed out by FFAK but I wasn’t impressed either, which kind of scared me for NORTHLANE’s set. This band has been one of my personal favorites for a very, very long time now, so coming out with a new vocalist is always a bit of a scary ordeal, especially considering the fact that the old vocalist sounded like a fucking monster. Both of the guitarists set up their own equipment, and let me be the one to tell you, these guys had more buttons, screens, and dials at their feet than any Best Buy you’ve ever been to. I wasn’t sure if all of that would be necessary; like, do you honestly need a metric shit-ton of technology to make your songs sound good, and if you do, is it really worth playing? Well the answer is yes. A hundred fucking times yes. These boys sounded like an avalanche of ambience and melody, not to mention the new vocalist was SPOT ON. It was excellent from start to finish, and a really fun time for everyone.
Constant moshing, singing, movement from the band, more body odor from that dude, and a kickass set list. You can’t really ask for much more than that out of a live show. Hell, I’d love to see them again on their own, that’s how well that set stuck out to me. So congrats NORTHLANE, I will be seeing you again as soon as I can in the future.
Now umm… this part is gonna be pretty quick…You know that one kid in your 7th grade science class who wore the Monster Energy drink t-shirts, shitty DC shoes, and would NEVER STOP PISSING YOUR TEACHER OFF BECAUSE HE WAS A LITTLE ASSHOLE? That’s who MISS MAY I reminded me of. To be fair, they did play an excellent set, but I just can’t take them seriously with the big chains all over the amplifiers, and especially the fact that the drummer had two kick drums. Seriously dude? No need for that shit. I will say they played “Forgive and Forget”, which is actually a badass song, but overall, not impressed. Definitely should have slipped out to the merch tables to hang at that point BUT, Body Odor Guy was doing a really good job keeping the crowd from murdering my 5’5” frame, so I wasn’t going to move anywhere until the show was over.
That set was finally finished, and I could get ready for what I came here for. Every ounce of nostalgia was about to be blasted back into my ear holes at blistering volumes. My body was ready. AUGUST BURNS RED was setting up. Now, I think it’s important that I mention something here…Every headlining band I have seen so far has had a ridiculously clean stage set up. Minimal amplification set ups, precise drum kit builds, and usually a riser or two for the vocalist, that’s almost always it. I think it speaks to their level of professionalism. Kind of like a “We don’t worry about anything else except for smashing your goddamn faces in with our tunes” sort of thing, and I gotta say, it works. It leaves more room for lighting and crazy shit to go down, so let’s dive into this set shall we? They came out right off the bat and wrecked shop.
AUGUST BURNS RED is known for their intricate writing in their music, and they didn’t miss a beat. It was absolutely mental. Every single breakdown was like a perfectly oiled machine churning out musical staccatos, and every drum fill, guitar solo, and bass line was drenched in precision technique, alongside a very active stage presence. These gentlemen are masters of their craft, and they are not fucking around, and even if they do fuck around, it’s still perfectly executed.
Each song hit progressively harder than the last. There was even a moment where the guitar tech strapped on the bass, and the bassist picked up a guitar, and they all pummeled out a song together, and it sounded monumental to say the least. Nearing the end of the set, AUGUST BURNS RED blasted right into “Composure” which is, without a doubt, the greatest Metalcore song of all time in every way, form, and fashion, and I swear to you…as hard as he tried… Body Odor Guy could not hold back the onslaught of human chaos that erupted from behind us. It was everywhere. Just fucking bodies on bodies. One of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long long time. Then their drummer busted into an awesome solo, which ended with the whole band playing separate drum units as well, and that brought their encore song, which was also a banger.
I think this set did something that most don’t ever accomplish… It left almost everyone satisfied. Like there wasn’t anything that they could have done better, and that is a wonderful feeling. Next time they come through, you bet your candy ass I’ll be up on the front row. So, after a night of a “meh” band, a “DAMN” band, an “Omigod, finish already” band, and a “HOLY FUCK-A-MOLY” band, the real MVP was Body Odor Guy. Dude, you smelled like death shitting out a five-year old fruitcake, but you kept the crowd off of me, and made it to where I could see the entire time. Props to you. If I had some spare cash, I would buy you a metric shit-ton of deodorant to thank you.
LIVE REVIEW: ZALEN CIGAINERO
LIVE PHOTOS: RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD/ARDENT OWL MEDIA