Three years have passed since I had the opportunity to be right in front of a band that is, among others, at the head of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. KILLSWITCH ENGAGE delivered one of the finest performances back on their 2013 tour, supporting LAMB OF GOD, along with killer bands HUNTRESS and TESTAMENT. That show has been one of the most complete that I’ve ever been to, and ever since that day, I’ve needed to get some more live action from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.
2016 has been a year full of humongous performances in different places, along with new album releases and touring news. KsE didn’t fall behind this time, and recently announced a relatively attractive tour landing at House of Blues Dallas.
With support acts MEMPHIS MAY FIRE, 36 CRAZYFISTS and TOOTHGRINDER, who I unfortunately had to miss due to traffic from Maestro’s beloved Dallas Mavericks‘ home game, I successfully got into the venue, and things were ready to get started.
36 CRAZYFISTS was a first-timer for me, and I have to admit I had no high or low expectations from this band. After all, the only time I had the opportunity to see them before was back at Knotfest Mexico last year and I was more concerned with finding food desperately. Their opening song “Vanish” seemed a little bit slow to get the crowd into their music, but it only took the band a couple more to get everyone doing almost literally what Brock Lindow told them. “I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops”, “At the End of August”, “The Heart and the Shape” and “Sorrow Signs” connected with the crowd tremendously. These are heavier tracks that made the people remember this band, and just before finishing the set, “Also Am I” and “Time and Trauma” were the final tracks for 36 CRAZYFISTS and now it was time for them to go to the dressing room after well-deserved appreciation from the fans.
That was such a better performance that I expected, and before I knew it, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE was ready to show us what they can bring to the table. This was a first-timer for me as well, and the vibe felt very good to get the best mood for some new live music. Matty Mulins’ voice did show the crowd how MEMPHIS MAY FIRE does their thing pretty well and the other band members: Kellen, Cory, Jake and Anthony also make a great fit for the music they play. I was pumped after hearing that this band had the chance to tour South America in the past with the headlining group, so the chemistry makes more sense between fans and musicians.
“Beneath the Skin” was the first track, and it immediately caused a big circle pit to open up (with no hardcore dancers, thank God!).
With “Prove Me Right”, the band played with lots of energy and I loved it. “Legacy” carried on with the musical party, same with “Stay the Course”. Dallas hosted the second date of this tour, and I can’t find enough ways to describe the show that the remaining cities cannot miss if these bands make a stop in your area. The next couple of songs “No Ordinary Love” and “The Sinner” offered more of the band’s vibe and the people’s excitement. Not much changed songwise, but I kept being grateful for staying right in the middle of the floor without getting my face kicked and really digging every note. Finally, “Vices” concluded the set with a huge pit and unusual crowd movement from front to back.
It was a great performance overall, and I was more than ready to welcome back KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.
Incarnate (out now via Roadrunner Records) just released this month, and A&GS told us to file this album under the “stuff I love” category, and proof of that was the overall performance this night. Combining old and newer songs during the set, the performance was outstanding from riff one and the experience of seeing one of my favorite modern metal bands kept giving me a huge load of goosebumps. With seventeen songs in their pocket, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE made part of a memorable night that I’ll be able to remember from now until forever… really.
“Strength of the Mind” punched us right in the face, “A Bid Farewell” was next, followed by “Numbered Days”. More from Incarnate followed, with new tunes “Alone I Stand”, “Hate by Design” (my favorite single!), “Quiet Distress” and “Cut Me Loose”.
We also heard live some tunes from the previous album like “Alone I Stand”, “Always” and “The New Awakening”. I’ve been a fan since 2009, when I first saw them at Mayhem Fest. “The Arms of Sorrow” was one of my favorite songs back then, and such great memories came back to me when it came up. Forming part of the second part of the set, we got some older tracks like “Vide Infra” and “My Last Serenade”. I was startled by the fact that “Rose of Sharyn” came out of nowhere. It’s my favorite song from the band by far, and I could’ve at least done better with a “1, 2, 3, 4” count. “The End of Heartache” marked the end of the main performance before the absolute blasting encore.
“My Curse” started as part one of that dessert everyone loves after a well-served meal. The song means so much to me in terms of where I was in my life during that time, so I couldn’t be more thankful.
Lastly, a song that I rarely would expect to be included in the setlist, but great choice to end the night was “In Due Time”, which made an epic closer for me. It’s a song that I’ve loved since the very first time I heard it and I let myself loose for those few minutes and left with a much bigger smile on my face for the way home.
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE definitely knows what a ticket means, and they made sure their fans received what they wanted once they had those tickets scanned. This was an awesome night, and I hope that all band members decide that one supporting tour for your new album is not enough, and that there are some of us that already missed a hell of a performance. Congratulations to everyone on an epic night, except the dude who can’t take the concept of a circle pit and almost ruined the show for me.
LIVE WORDS: THE ALCALDE
LIVE PHOTOS: FIRST GIRL PHOTOGRAPHY