Gallery: The Frozen Flame Tour (01/23/15)


The Frozen Flame Tour came through New York City on January 23 for the second show of a month and a half run throughout the country. Irving Plaza, a large yet somehow intimate venue, was the host of this show.

Erra opened the night not long after doors as the floor was slowly filling up. The band brought a refreshing yet aggressive blend of metalcore to the show with impressive clean vocals and bone crushing lows. Although Erra had recently lost its vocalist and a guitarist, these guys performed their set without a hitch, and I'm sure they left a good impression on the many first-time listeners in the room.

Fit for a King came to the stage next. Fresh off the October release of Slave to Nothing, this tour is set to be one of the band's biggest yet if this show was any indicator. Vocalist Ryan Kirby seemed to have control of the crowd like a puppet throughout the set, while the rest of the four piece refused to stay still on stage, bringing a constant energy that the crowd seemed to mimic. Fit for a King obviously drew out many fans to this tour, but I am sure the band will make just as many – if not more – before it's over.

Northlane was the set I was most concerned about going into this show. The band recently had a major vocalist change that was a long and drawn-out process, and I wasn't sure if the new vocalist would translate well or if the hype would still be there. That being said, it seems as if Northlane has not lost any momentum at all. Marcus Bridge, the new vocalist, has an amazing range one could argue surpasses the previous vocalist in a live setting. Instrumentally, the band has always been on point and continues to be. The energy was ambient at points and super heavy at others, which made for a roller coaster of a set for the fans. With an even better live sound and a fan base that is still packing venues, I expect Northlane to make some big moves in 2015.

Miss May I was a band I had personally forgot about for a while. After seeing these guys on the bill, I was surprised they were as high up as they were. Apparently, while I was sleeping on this band, a lot of kids got into Miss May I – and I mean a lot. The crowd erupted as the band opened with "Hey Mister" and metal horns were flying all over the venue. Miss May I played a solid amount of old songs I was able to recognize, such as my favourite, "Tides." The band's live sound was just as big as any big venue headliner and vocalist Levi Benton (who ultimately had the best hair in the room) had some of the best stage command of the night.

August Burns Red finished off the night by playing an hour-long-plus set featuring old and new songs. Reaching the end of the most recent album cycle, August Burns Red still had enough hype to sell out this show and I'm sure many more on the tour. The members makes their extremely technical songs seem easy when they play, and you can tell everyone in the band has a lot of fun on stage. Jake Luhrs is one of the most intense vocalists and frontmen in the scene and Matt Greiner arguably IS the best drummer. One thing I loved about the set was the focus on percussion throughout, especially in the beginning and at the end where the band organized a very special feature. I can't spoil it for you, so I suggest going out to these shows to see it for yourself.

Check out some photos from the fun night below.

Erra







Fit For A King







Northlane







Miss May I







August Burns Red







Links: Erra - Fit for a King - Northlane - Miss May I - August Burns Red - Dieter Unrath Photography
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Discovering the Waterfront 10-Year Tour (01/15/15)


Yesterday marked the beginning of Silverstein's 10-year anniversary tour for its second record, Discovering the Waterfront. The London Music Hall (in London, ON) had the privilege of being the first venue of many to host one of the biggest tours of early 2015, and it was the perfect setting and way to kick off a tour like this.

The first band on the bill was California's My Iron Lung. Playing a style of post-hardcore/screamo similar to Touché Amoré, My Iron Lung brought a lot of emotion and passion to the stage. The band played a handful of songs from 2014's Relief as well as two songs from 2012's Grief before closing with "Here's to the Collaborative Effort Made by All Things Under the Sun," which was the most impressive song of the set.

New Jersey's Major League, hot off the release of its second full-length record, was next. Opening and closing the set with the first and last track from There's Nothing Wrong With Me, Major League's set was heavily loaded with newer material that was recorded after the departure of the original vocalist last year. Brian Joyce, who was always in the band as a guitarist, fills the role as lead vocalist quite nicely and gives the band a more mature sound. That being said, the band did play "Homewrecker" from 2012's Hard Feelings and seemed particularly energized while playing that song and the closing "Rittenhouse."

The next band to take the stage was Ohio's Beartooth. Similar to Major League, Beartooth played a plethora of newer songs – and almost ran through the entirety of its debut record, Disgusting. The crowd really started to get into it as bodies were moving (or flying) everywhere, presumably because Beartooth was the heaviest band of the tour package. Excited fans were constantly overstaying their welcome on stage after crowd surfing or before stage diving, but it didn't phase the band; if anything, those interactions were encouraged, as most of those fans received a high-five or the mic for a few seconds.

After taking no more than 10 minutes to set up, Hands Like Houses played next. Playing a unique style of experimental post-hardcore, these five blokes from Down Under rocked the house. Vocalist Trenton Woodley certainly has some pipes; I had chills during several songs because of the notes he was consistently hitting that I didn't think were possible in a live setting. The highlights of the set were "Don't Look Now, I'm Being Followed, Act Normal" and "Introduced Species" – but I think the best part of the set was the fact that the entire band brought a lot of energy and smiles with them across the globe.

Even though Silverstein was headlining and was the whole reason this tour was possible, these locals had some big shoes to fill; every supporting band put on an impressive set and they each seemed to get even better as the night rolled on. Silverstein was up to the task, though. The band played a song or two from nearly every album in its catalogue as well as the newly released single, "A Midwestern State of Emergency," before getting into the whole reason why everyone was here: to see Silverstein play Discovering the Waterfront from start to finish. Experiencing that album live in its entirety was something special and the entire venue was jumping and singing several times throughout the set, but even more so during the last 11 songs.

When Silverstein's set ended, I left with a huge smile on my face – and I'm sure everyone else did, too. Every band that played brought something new to the table, which was a nice change from the typical "four bands playing metalcore" tour package. This was only the first date of many, so you still have a lot of time to plan a trip to see this tour.
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Transit - Joyride (2014)


As I pulled into the city to the Glamour Kills Holiday Festival last weekend, I turned to my friend and said “I basically paid $29.50 only for The Wonder Years,” but I was only half-joking; at 8 PM I decided to go watch Transit. I hadn’t even finished making my way into the crowd when I heard Transit start playing the title track off of 2011’s Listen & Forgive. I completely lost it and rushed my way in because I was immediately reminded exactly why I fell in love with the band. Like a lot of people, I dismissed the release of Young New England last year before the bad reviews could even come pouring in, but when Transit played the new Joyride songs so fittingly live last week, I thought I should actually buy this one – so I did.

“The Only One” opens with strong drumming and has that familiar touch of Transit groove. It is very poppy and repetitive, but it is so easy to love. “Saturday Sunday” comes right after and it’s more repetitive than the former. I would even call it a filler if I had not so shamelessly sang along to it live. Before I even got into the next songs, I already had a general sense of how the rest of the songs were going to be like. Poppy, light and with a hint of cheese. “Rest to Get Better” and “Sweet Resistance” proved that prediction; however, with those two, Joyride finally starts to gain some weight. Both songs are just as feel good as “Saturday Sunday,” but they actually seem to be about something.

That problem is high-lighted in “Nothing Left to Lose,” a track that I know you could play at a friend’s backyard party and no one would ask you why you are not playing J. Cole’s new album instead. Yes, the music is feel good and more along the lines of Listen and Forgive, but what else is there to it? Why does this album matter?

Inferring from the title, this album was never meant to be received as anything more than fun and light. With that, Transit has delivered. Despite that and the fact that Transit has never been particularly strong lyricists, the band previously evoked so much out of just that one “I just wish you would have called” line in “Long Lost Friends” off Listen & Forgive. Hell, even the Young New England title track’s hook (“Boston never drinks alone”) has more heart than a lot of songs on Joyride.

“Ignition and Friction” seems to correct this problem underlined by the previous songs. It still has a really catchy hook, but seems to have a little more old Transit heart in it; however, then we go into the next two, “Fine by Me” – which is barely saved by its catchy chorus – and “Loneliness Burns,” which is so generic and cringe worthy that not even the piano intro could save it. The persistent problem with tracks like the latter then is not that Transit has gone more pop, as you can still make good pop-rock songs and be respected. The problem is that some of these songs, though enjoyable, come off as more contrived than natural. For example, “Summer Dust” and “Pins and Needles” – the growers that follow after – are still each tirelessly just another Joyride song saved by a catchy chorus.

“Too Little, Too Late” is sandwiched between the previous songs and, despite being a bit cheesy, it finally took more than mild emotion out of me. Yet it is the closing track, “Follow Me,” that finally evokes something strong. Just when I was getting tired of listening to Transit save mediocre songs with catchy choruses, I came to realize that the best was saved for last. The intro is sweet, but it is everything that comes after the 1:36 mark that really impresses. The song is still definitely very fitting of Joyride, but it feels far more emotionally provoking than any other on the album. The music and lyrics finally sync up to tell a story and it matters. It was also the track that saved this album for me.

Last Sunday, half the crowd left to go watch Man Overboard as the remaining Transit fans squeezed up to the front. Transit closed with “Skipping Stone” and more heart was given in that last old song than the remainder of the set. Joe Boynton was so high off the crowd afterwards that he stayed on stage to try to give everyone that extended their hand forward a high five. You want that Transit you saw close the stage last week and you want to give that heart back to them at the next show.

Music does not have to be a strong visceral release all the time. Sometimes all music needs to be is catchy and empty, especially when all you’re trying to do is get drunk in someone’s backyard. Joyride definitely succeeds in giving that light summer anthem feeling, but what are we as fans if the only thing we push the bands we love for is to keep writing catchier hooks?


Links: Facebook
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Gallery: Go Down In History Tour (11/19/14)


On November 19, Four Year Strong came to Pittsburgh along with Transit, Such Gold and Seaway to play a show at a small venue called Rex Theater. Doors opened up around 6 P.M., and Initial – a pop punk band from Indiana, PA – took the stage shortly after. Initial, to my surprise, was a kick-ass opener for the other bands, but all the bands brought a lot of fun energy to the stage as they performed. During Four Year Strong's last song, the band openly invited anyone to come up on stage to sing along and join in on the fun. Check out a few pictures of the show below.

Initial








Seaway






Such Gold







Transit







Four Year Strong






Links: Initial - Seaway - Such Gold - Transit - Four Year Strong
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