Summer: the time of year when very interesting things can happen; the ideal time to take a vacation, to attend different events, and of course, the time when the big and memorable concerts take place. This year in particular, my schedule seems packed with gigs for the next few months and one that I was very excited for just happened. As they do every year, the Dallas-based rock station 97.1 THE EAGLE hosted its annual concert BFD. The lineup brought more hard rock than metal, but it was very decent from my point of view with bands like ROB ZOMBIE, BREAKING BENJAMIN, HALESTORM, ALL THAT REMAINS, and WE ARE HARLOT performing during the long and hot day.
The show took place at the massive Gexa Energy Pavilion and unfortunately, I was not able to catch all the bands and their sets but I sure arranged and moved mountains to be in time to catch HALESTORM from start to finish. Band members Lzzy Hale, Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger, and Josh Smith brought a great spectacle to the crowd. I heard some comments before from a few concertgoers saying mainly that they had no idea what HALESTORM was all about (and neither did I as far as live performances). Hearing songs like “Love Bites (So Do I)”, “It’s Not You”, “I Get Off” and “I Miss the Misery” gave us an awesome taste of how a big rock band sounds nowadays.
They also designated a big portion of their set to new songs like “Apocalyptic”, “Scream”, “Among the Fire” and others from their newest album Into the Wild Life (out now on Atlantic Records). The entire performance was very enjoyable, they’re worth listening to for relaxation time.
Right after their set, THE moment of the night (from my humble point of view) was about to take place. BREAKING BENJAMIN is a band that has been around for over a decade, and I had only heard the name a few times before. I was mistakenly biased toward the band just from the name and never allowed myself to shut up and listen to what they have to bring onstage until I finally had the chance to check them out in front of a crowd of thousands of people.
With their new album Dark Before Dawn just around the corner (June 23, Hollywood Records) BREAKING BENJAMIN took the stage and drove the crowd insane in a way very few bands are capable of.
Once the lights went off, the intro for “So Cold” sounded with a good dose of goosebumps and the noise the crowd brought to this very first song was the best sensation I felt all day. I remember seeing die hard BREAKING BENJAMIN fans singing their lungs out to the chorus, and then a massive circle pit took over the center of the lawn section. “Break My Fall” continued the set, which is a solid combination of rock riffs that I was slowly digging and enjoying, even though I knew nothing of the band before. Their next song “Failure”, from Dark Before Dawn sounded perfect with an inspiring chorus and melody. It was definitely one of the night’s best.
Up next, another dose of heavy sounds with “Blow Me Away”. By this time, BREAKING BENJAMIN was just halfway through their set and the best was yet to come. THE highlight of the set though was the members of the band led by Benjamin Burnley performing the greatest gift of the show: a medley comprised of STAR WARS’ “Imperial March”, TOOL’S “Schism”, NIRVANA’S “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and PANTERA’S “Walk”. That was one of the best medleys that I’ve ever caught live in my life. After that some familiar tunes came to my mind when the band played “Polyamorous” and by this time there were three enormous circle pits taking over the lawn section. “I Will Not Bow” featured an unusually long intro, but just long enough to classify BREAKING BENJAMIN as one of my favorite rock bands just from seeing their performance.
With their set almost at an end, their last couple of songs featured “Until the End” and “The Diary of Jane”, which were both remarkable songs in the year 2006, and I’m sure I listened to them somewhere.
I loved BREAKING BENJAMIN’S performance from start to finish, and I have absolutely no doubt that this set that they played is one of the best I’ve seen this year. This band is made up of very talented musicians, but most importantly, people who are able to get to my feelings and give me another tool to just put the pleasant background sounds to my everyday life.
To close the night, the only band that I’ve always described as the BEST LIVE BAND I’ve ever seen is ROB ZOMBIE: guitarist John 5, bassist Piggy D., drummer Ginger Fish and of course, singer Rob Zombie. Playing songs like the opening “We’re an American Band”, “Superbeast”, “More Human Than Human”, “Sick Bubble-Gum”, “Meet The Creeper” a couple of cover songs like THE RAMONES’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and ALICE COOPER’s “School’s Out”, was a very enjoyable set.
And they didn’t forget their classic ending song “Dragula”, which is easily my personal favorite and one that I never get tired off. The only “but” that I found this time is the lack of production that ROB ZOMBIE brought to this live show. The performance was still great, but the stage had the same look the entire show, which is rare for them..
Overall, the show was really good; I bumped into a few friends, had a lot of fun, got to know a new band in BREAKING BENJAMIN and I’m absolutely looking forward for next year’s BFD. Until then, enjoy live music wherever and whenever you can.
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE
LIVE PHOTOS: GUZPIX