I trekked down to Branx, located in the industrial district in Portland, OR to see Every Time I Die's spring headliner, with support from: The Acacia Strain, Vanna, Hundredth, and No Bragging Rights.
If you're not familiar with No Bragging Rights, don't worry, so are a lot of people, especially with this type of crowd. The band initially got a flat response from the small crowd in attendance that had shown up early. But you know what, as the band made it explicitly clear with their performance that they REALLY wanted to be there, people started to warm up to them and get a bit more enthusiastic. The band has the potential to really go somewhere big, and I think they're just started to realize their identity as a band - what is more interesting is that this band started to get serious around 2005. Keep an eye out for vocalist Mike Perez, as he can not only scream, but can also sing quite well.
Hundredth...where to begin with Hundredth? This was not the band I had seen 3 or 4 times before in the last few album cycles. For a positive Christian band, a few things caught my eye: vocalist Chadwick Johnson now says "fuck" on stage, and the band now sells merch with the American flag upside down with the word "Revolt" on the back - is this band the official voice of the Tea Party movement or something? Not exactly, I suppose. The thing that hasn't changed is the band's overall message to be positive and not be discouraged by people in the world making money off of negativity.
I then proceeded to meet up with Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain in their band wagon, they had just gotten back from a dinner with Rise Records. Also in the bandwagon was Larry and His Flask guitarist (and local Oregonian) Dallin Bulkley; they're definitely one of the best bands for your dollar when you're looking for a good time, trust me on this one. Anyways, Vincent and I proceeded to talk about Valentines Day, Rise Records, Death Is The Only Immortal, etc. Look for it in a few days or so.
I came back inside to catch the second half of Vanna's set, and they TOO wanted to be here. In fact, they wouldn't take not moving around for an answer, you were going to move whether you liked it or not, regardless if you knew the words. They played a new song from a record that comes out in a few weeks that sounded pretty good, enough to where I'll have to check it out at least. I'll admit, I don't really think I ever really gave Vanna a fair shot, mainly because I noticed a lot of scene kids obsessing over their single "Trashmouth" at the time it was released...my bad!
Not too soon after Vanna left, the room went black, and The Acacia Strain hit the stage, coming back to using "Beast" as an opener. Now, if you're not familiar with The Acacia Strain, you'd be better off knowing that it's a bad idea staying anywhere close to the pit if you don't want to get hit - in fact, you'll probably end up getting hit even if you aren't near the pit. Deal with it. Now that we've established that it gets extremely violent during their shows, you should probably know that if you're super religious (or can't agree to disagree), you're not going to have a good time either; "I don't care about Jesus Christ, God, or The Devil, because there IS no Jesus Christ. There is only YOU, and ME, and I, and I will steal your fucking soul", says vocalist Vincent Bennett. The band proceeded to rip through fan favorites like "Ramirez" and "Woah! Shut It Down", and added new songs such as "Dust And The Helix", a quick ripper that's fast and to the point. The band ended their set with "Tactical Nuke", and transitioned into "JFC", as the entire room bellowed "I AM THE END OF THE WORLD".
But I got a few questions for you: do you like to CIRCLE PIT? do you like to STAGE DIVE? do you like to hit the PIT and mosh? do you like to SING ALONG with your friends? YOU DO? That's good man, REAL good, because I just found the right band for you to watch - Every Time I Die.
Now I don't know what's up with people shouting 'Let's go Buffalo" before the band walks on stage, but let me tell you, not only are we not in Buffalo, but the Seattle Seahawks are 10 times better than the Bills - are you gonna tell me the Bills defense is going to find a solution to Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson? DIDN'T THINK SO. Next observation.
The band kicked off their 70 minute set with "Floater", off Hot Damn, which will surely please older fans of the band. Whether you're a fan of the band's older material or new material or both, you're in for a good time, they're here to please. Classics such as "Apocalypse Now And Then", "No Son Of Mine", and "The New Black" got the crowd excited and eager to sing along. Newer ass-kickers like "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space", "Holy Book Of Dilemma", and "Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow" compelled people to stagedive at a consistent pace; even a few hooligans were inspired by vocalist Keith Buckley and jumped off the speakers near the ceiling, some real Circus De Soleil shit right there! Oh, but don't get caught on stage near the end of the song, because you're gonna be STUCK there, in a game ETID affectionately likes to call "Vanna has to drink as long as you're on stage" - throughout the set this happened numerous times. I've had a number of excellent experiences with Every Time I Die over the last 6-7 years, and this one was certainly for the memory books. The band ended their set with "We'rewolf" and "Indian Giver".
After the show I had to leave for an appointment with Dr. Keith, because I'm a terrible human being.
2010 - Sum 41 is booked on a side stage for the Vans Warped Tour. Big crowds appear every day. 2 days before the tour ends, the band drops off, due to vocalist/guitarist Deryck Whibley's back injury. Disappointment, but with understanding.
2011 - Sum 41 returns to play a small amount of dates for the Warped Tour. Again, right before the band was scheduled to hit Portland, they cancel again. Frustration sets in.
Would they EVER play Portland, OR again? When the initial tour dates for the 10th Anniversary of Does This Look Infected? dropped, it sure didn't look like it. But alas, a west coast leg appeared not too soon after the conclusion of the first leg, and it included a Portland date...but would the band bail on us once again?
Nope. Not only did they play, but they gave us a late night 90 minute set that was so much more than was expected.
The band stepped on stage at 11:20 pm and kicked off with "The Hell Song", and proceeded to jam their way through the rest of the record, sans the last few tracks. I will admit it was a slight disappointment to not hear "Billy Spleen", but I'm sure it was to make room for other songs. Most of the songs went into extended jam or banter sessions, which still made for a good time, but at the same time, I would've loved to save those 15 minutes and hear 3 more songs instead. Songs such as "No Brains" and "My Direction" sounded excellent, on par with the level of excellency that I had in mind.
But you know, my favorite part of the show came after the Infected? set. The rest of the songs were dedicated to fan favorites that you might've heard on Warped Tour, and whatever else the band felt liked playing. They played one new song, the title track off their newest album Screaming Bloody Murder, and it sounded excellent - it was a shame that they couldn't squeeze another track or two off the album in the mix - "Jessica Kill" would've been cool to hear. Fan favorites "Motivation", "In Too Deep", and "We're All To Blame" received a great response from the crowd. I was particularly surprised to "Underclass Hero" and "Walking Disaster" in the set.
At the end of the day, Sum 41 focused on putting on an actual show. While watching them, it was highly evident that they were interested in making sure you had a fun time and wanted to come back to see them again - because that's what it's all about, right? A lot of bands rip through their sets, wave goodbye, and dash off stage.
Personally, I cannot wait for the band to come back to Portland. Hopefully next time they'll come back with a set mixed up with songs that they haven't played in years, such as: "Some Say", "Welcome To Hell", "The Bitter End", "Makes No Difference", "Nothing On My Back", and "Handle This". But that's the thing with a band like Sum 41, no matter what they play, you're still going to have a great time. Let's hope the band is back in the Summer or Fall on another headliner. If the band hits your city soon, do what you can to make it out and have a good time, even if you've considered yourself a very casual fan of the band in the past.
These were the albums I had been slowly adding to a list for the last 3 months or so. It's definitely not a complete list, but it's not bad either - I can't possibly think of every album I'm looking forward to. Most of my picks missed the staff deadline since I waited until the last minute to finish them up, and got pretty sick for a few days (it wasn't pretty). But hey, If I'm forgetting something, then be sure and let me know why you think it should've been on my list, or the very well done overall staff list.
Be sure and follow me on Twitter, @Jake_Denning, as well as the official Absolutepunk twitter, @absolutepunk
A Day To Remember - Common Courtesy - I have absolutely no doubts this will be A Day To Remember's best record to date. The growth in all the members, especially Jeremy in the last few years will become highly evident.
Bring Me The Horizon - Sempiternal - This could very well be the band's final record, as guitarist Jona Weinhofen has recently left. However, other guitarist Lee Malia is still an integral part of the "sound" that BMTH has been known for since the beginning, so perhaps we'll see a 5th album after all.
Mychildren Mybride - TBA - Free agents after being on Solid State for 3 records, the band looks to utilize new addition Nelson Flores on bass (ex-Sovereign Strength). The band can still bring it live, so we'll see what they have up their sleeves for album #4.
The Color Morale - Know Hope - Very excited for this record. They put out a stellar sophomore effort, this will either be on par with the last record, or not good at all. Rise Records seems to be very excited about it, so I'm probably not going to be let down.
TRC - Untitled - No Sleep took a big risk with signing TRC, an abrasive hardcore outfit form the UK. It'll pay off though.
Fences - The Internal Diving Board - You might only know of singer/songwriter Christopher Mansfield from his guest spot on Macklemore's throwback "Otherside" remix. But don't be deceived, that track is a very small sample of the overwhelmingly brilliant level of talent that he (and his friends) possess. Death Cab For Cutie drummer Jason McGerr is also playing on the album? I'm down.
Hatebreed - The Divinity Of Purpose - One of the "giants" of 2000's era hardcore music, expect the band to smack you in the face harder than you'd get hit at one of their shows. I don't condone fighting at shows, but things inevitably get wild real quick at a Hatebreed gig. Expect to be inspired and motivated to do the right thing.
Mike Posner - Sky High - Hate him or love him, Mike Posner will dominate Top 40 once again in 2013, alongside giants like Timberlake and Drake. Posner spent 2012 hanging back, mainly enjoying the success of his late 2011 mixtape, The Layover, as well as dropping features for his friends (Blackbear, MGK, etc.). Thank me later when you're bumping this former Duke grad's sophomore effort in your car.
The Almost - Fear Inside Our Bones - It's another Aaron Gillespie record. I'm sure people will whine about the inevitable "churchy" feel to it, but whatever.
Chiodos - TBA - Craig Owens is back, and from what he tells me, it's the best Chiodos record yet. I'm not calling him a liar, so I'm definitely excited. I recently spoke with Owens, and he told me this about the album: "Lyrically it's less forward, and it's more metaphorical, but also blunt when it needs to be".
Cartel - Collider - A lot of my fellow staffers, as well as Property of Zack's Zack Zarillo have heard this record, and unfortunately, I have not. But you know, I can wait, because Cartel has established themselves with a strong back catalog that will tide me over. When I last spoke with vocalist Will Pugh, he had this to say about the record: "I think it's going to be more focused on being a person, which is what our music was based upon in the first place".
Silverstein - This Is How The Wind Shifts - Another album from Silverstein already? Well, I'm not kicking or screaming about it...well, actually I am, just in a positive way. The band has a whole smorgasbord of great songs that aren't even played live (Vanity & Greed, anyone?), but what can it hurt to add some more to the lottery?
Terror - Live By The Code - Although they're now on the now infamous Victory Records roster (just ask Hawthorne Heights, Bayside, or A Day To Remember), look for them to put out what looks to be the most empowering album to date. Terror always encourages you as a listener to look back at the roots of hardcore and appreciate what the genre is all about, and Live By The Code doesn't seem to stray from that formula. Very excited for this record.
Switchfoot - Fading West - This is exciting because this is quite different than any other record that Switchfoot has done in the past. Drummer Chad Butler told me not too long ago that "I think there’s going to be room to breathe on the album that we haven’t allowed ourselves in the past. You know, I think there’s that cinematic idea in the back of your mind that your creating something that doesn’t have to be a 3 minute pop song". With that in mind, I think there's a lot of mystery behind this album, but also a lot of excitement. Summer couldn't come any faster.
Breathe Carolina - TBA - Breathe Carolina dropped a massive dance album, Hell Is What You Make It, in 2011 and has seemingly taken the world by storm since then. Singles "Blackout" and "Hit and Run" have been quite successful on the radio, YouTube, as well as on their main stage slot on 2012's Warped Tour. Vocalist David Schmitt told me on Warped that they're "Constantly experimenting, you know? That's the way we grow, trying new things and getting into different directions, but keeping what we do in mind". I'm pretty excited for what the duo have to offer this year.
Northlane - TBA - These Aussies are ready to hit, and they're ready hit HARD. Think Parkway Drive, Confession, The Amity Affliction. THAT type of hard. They haven't hit America yet, but when they do, they will blow up QUICKLY.
It Prevails - Perdition - Yep, they're still around, and they still have the tools to bring the tasteful melodic hardcore vibes they've been known for in the past. Don't sleep on this record, it'll be out this Spring.
The Wonder Years - TBA - You what I like about The Wonder Years? They're EXCITING. When was the last time you could say that a band REALLY excited you and made you want to yell lyrics back at them? Augh, just thinking about another record this soon already makes me excited. Be right back, gonna run through a screen door, Thomas Nassiff will be doing slam dunks next door.
We Came As Romans - TBA - This is a band that gets better and better as time goes on, and with three new songs on the re-release of Understanding Of What We've Grown To Be that has grabbed many people's attention, the band's upcoming third record has the potential to be one gigantic rallying cry. Any time the band has something to offer fans, you know it's going to be something good - always uplifting, and always catchy. 2013 is going to be a gigantic year for We Came As Romans, and this record is only a small part of what they're up to.
Issues - TBA - We're not sure what we'll be getting from Issues, but you can be sure it'll be bigger, catchier, and groovier than their debut release, Black Diamonds. Swerve.
Tyler Carter - Leave Your Love EP - Tyler's been working on this for awhile, and you can bet it'll be Top-40 influenced and less Rock n' Roll than Issues Black Diamonds EP was. If you liked Carter's first single, Side to Side, you'll DEFINITELY like this EP.
Deez Nuts - Bout It - JJ Peters is still pulling double duty, between touring full time with DN, as well as slamming on the drum kit for big Australian metalcore outfit I Killed The Prom Queen. Bout It looks to stick to the formula the band has gone with in the last three releases - do what makes you feel good, don't let anyone bring you down, and take your friends along for the ride. Band of Brothers is the first single from the record, and it features an extremely catchy hook from Architects (UK) vocalist Sam Carter. Expect for nothing but a good time from this album, especially when it's time for "shot after shot after shot after shot". DTD step in the club like...
Tyler, The Creator - Wolf - Tyler's abrasive personality and lyricism is not for everyone...in fact, it's not for 90% of people, because they'll be turned off within the first minute on any handful of his tracks (Bill O' Reilly certainly isn't listening). Tyler mentions via his meticulously updated Formspring account that he'll be rapping less, and let the instrumentation/production do most of the talking. Take it for what it is, toss it in the trash if you don't like it, he doesn't care.
Relient K - TBA - This album is going to be completely out of left field. First off, I didn't expect Blackbear (Mat Musto) to be working with the gang on this record. Second off all, this is coming off the depressing Forget And Not Slow Down.
Stray From The Path - TBA - I'm not even sure what to expect from this record except for the lone factor that it'll be very in your face. Be warned.
Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience - Timberlake's solo discography is solid, deal with it. His third full length will be nothing but solidarity. He will dominate Top 40 radio alongside Drake, Mike Posner, etc.
On Sunday, January 13th, I caught the 2nd day of the Of Mice & Men headliner with Woe, Is Me, Texas In July, Volumes, and Capture The Crown. The show took place at the Hawthorne Theater in Portland, OR, on an unusually chilly evening. Enthusiasm was at a high point, as many people camped outside the front of the venue in hopes of either scoring any extra tickets released (this show had been sold out for 2 weeks), or meeting someone from one of the bands.
Capture The Crown is a newer band from Australia that Sumerian Records has been pushing almost every single day via social media outlets; no matter how many times they post a video, the comments are overwhelmingly negative. Perhaps Sumerian should have taken notice when Make Me Famous quickly fizzled out in part to it's mediocre lyricism and egotistic attitudes - too late, I suppose, since they signed Capture The Crown only a few months ago and released Til Death in December.
This band takes everything you hate about music, puts it in a blender, and throws it right back at you. Guitars often sit on open-note chugging, the drummer can barely keep up with what's going on, and the vocals are average at best. Lyrics? "Your time is up,
look me in the eyes, you slut. Your time is up bitch, you filthy fucking cunt" or "You say that shit to me, and I don't give a fuck. Say it to my face, I'll end you" - what makes things worse is that these types of lyrics are thrown on bright colored t-shirts for kids to buy. When in America, gotta recoup those travel fees, right? In the end, I really hope Capture The Crown stops being a band immediately and does something more productive with their lives - because at the end of the day, they were polite off stage, which says a lot.
Volumes was fantastic. They raised the bar so many notches compared to the last time I had seen them (100 cap room w/ It Prevails and Betrayal in 2010), it's unbelievable. Songs like "The Colombian Faction" and "Wormholes" help showcase the band's technicality, as well as get the crowd moving. Lead vocalists (yes, two vocalists) Micheal Barr and Gus Farias sound absolutely ferocious, creating an extremely powerful duo. Being on a large tour like this is a huge deal for the band, as they're able to showcase what they can do to a sold-out crowd every night, allowing them to have their sound mixed professionally, leaving no doubt about the band's potential. One should note that Volumes is not only the heaviest sounding band on the tour, but clean vocals generally never make an appearance on any song. That being said, be on the look out for the band to mix in "Edge of The Earth" on rare occasions with Hance Alligood of Woe, Is Me doing the clean vocal part - I would've loved to see that, but I still had a great time regardless.
It's always great seeing Texas In July live, because each member takes the attitude of being the best they can be, regardless of what they do. Seriously, this was the 5th time seeing the band in the last 2 years, and they've gotten better and better after every performance, and this one was no exception. Bassist Ben Witkowski flung himself all over the place and jumped into the crowd with his bass in tow, he definitely had the most fun out of anyone in the band - maybe he watched some YouTube videos of The Chariot playing or something. Vocalist Alex Good sounded stronger than ever, and drummer Adam Gray is still one of the most impressive drummers I have ever had the pleasure of watching, next to August Burns Red's Matt Greiner and Miss May I's Jerod Boyd. Unfortunately the set was cut off 2 songs early, but "Cry Wolf" and "Hook, Line, And Sinner" were memorable tracks that got my head banging.
If you recall the review that Woe, Is Me's sophomore effort Genesi[s] got from fellow staffer Jack Appleby, you'd probably also consider it got mixed reviews. In fact, other than the fantastic closer "Family First", I didn't care for it much either. But you'd also consider whether or not the band can still put on a good performance, right? Spoiler alert: Yes, they still can.
If you've seen the band recently and you weren't into it, give them another shot, I think you'll be caught a little bit off guard. I remember the last time I had seen this line-up, vocalist Doriano Magliano was thrust into the spotlight last minute on the We Came As Romans "Fire & Ice" tour - wouldn't it be plausible to consider that it takes some time for everyone to gel with each other? I think so - Magliano undoubtedly looked more confident and gave a much stronger performance, he's here to stay. Meanwhile, clean vocalist Hance Alligood sounded spot on during "Fame > Demise" & "Mannequin Religion", while still singing the way he wants to. And sue me, but I loved watching drummer Austin Thornton play during the band's cover of Ke$ha's "We R Who We R" - where's Betrayal guitarist Sean Chamilian when you need him? He would've loved that shit!
"I got that war paint on my eyes, [s] Army standing by my side" - I hope people hang in there and take that line to heart, because I have good word that the band has a few tricks up their sleeve to make their mark on 2013. If you're going to write them off for good, perhaps you'd better check them out on this summer's Warped Tour and give them another go.
Of Mice & Men's live performance is really a lot to take in all at once, especially at a venue like the Hawthorne, that doesn't employ a barricade. One minute a kid knocks over fill-in bassist Aaron Pauley (formerly of Jamie's Elsewhere)'s mic stand, another gives vocalist Austin Carlile a hug before flinging himself into a sea of people. It's just madness right from the get-go.
Once the band kicks into opening song "O.G. Loko", they're not going to let up or take any significant breaks - once the train has left the station, it's coming full force at an alarming rate. Each time the band passes Portland, they never let up until they're all drenched in sweat and can't go any longer. The longest pause came near the end of the set, when Carlile expressed that people need to go home and learn all the words to their song "The Great Hendowski". Aaron Pauley shined bright throughout the set, and I would love nothing more than for him to become a full time member - he fits in very well with the other members in the band. Pauley absolutely nailed his vocal duties on every song, most notably on "Let Live". Drummer Valentino Arteaga was absolutely spot on with his drumming and was really entertaining to watch, it almost was as if he was in friendly competition with Adam Gray from Texas In July; when the last note hit on "The Depths", I could instantly tell that Arteaga had given everything he had to us that night.
One of my favorite things about the set was the inclusion of all 4 new tracks that appeared on the re-release of The Flood - The Calm, The Storm, The Flood, and The Depths; as most would know, The Depths has quite the violent build up (and quite the compelling bridge), and when it breaks into the first verse it felt like you got punched in the face. If you're not exhausting every ounce of your energy you have while Of Mice & Men are on stage, you're doing it completely wrong. The inclusion of these four tracks was a real treat, and may not be included in future tours.
Of Mice & Men are on fire right now, and if you're still able to grab a ticket for any of the remaining tour dates, you'd better get on it now while you still can.
Record of the Year - Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You" Album of the Year: Mumford & Sons - "Babel" Song of the Year: Ed Sheeran - "The A Team" Best New Artist: Frank Ocean Best Pop Solo Performance - Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger" Best Pop Due/Group Performance: Fun. - "We Are Young" Best Pop Vocal Album - Fun. - "Some Nights" Best Dance Recording - Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo - "Let's Go" Best Dance/Electronica Album - Steve Aoki - "Wonderland" Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Michael Buble - "Christmas" Best Rock Performance - Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait" Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance - Lamb of God - "Ghost Walking" Best Rock Song - Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait" Best Rock Album - Coldplay - "Mylo Xyloto" Best Alternative Music Album - M83 - "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" Best R&B Performance - Usher - "Climax" Best R&B Song - Trey Songz - "Heart Attack" Best Urban Contemporary Album - Frank Ocean - "Channel Orange" Best Rap Performance - Kanye West - "Mercy" Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - Kanye West/Jay-Z Feat. Frank Ocean & The-Dream - "No Church In The Wild" Best Rap Song - Wale Feat. Miguel - "Lotus Flower Bomb" Best Rap Album - Drake - "Take Care" Best Country Album - Zac Brown Band - "Uncaged" Best Comedy Album - Jim Gaffigan - "Mr. Universe" Producer of the Year - Diplo
I was informed that this tour was happening at the end of Warped Tour in the summer, and I couldn't have been more stoked. The Ghost Inside is one of my favorite bands, but I also really like The Amity Affliction as well, not to mention Miss May I and Like Moths To Flames have put on good sets as of late. Also, Glass Cloud would be making an appearance for the first time, fronted by Jerry Roush, who actually lived in Portland for awhile.
Glass Cloud is a band that intrigued me right from the initial press release informing me of their existence. Half of the band graduated from Berklee School of Music, arguably the most prestigious music school in the United States. As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, Jerry Roush lived in Portland for a brief period of time after his time in Of Mice & Men, so people were excited to see him come back for a performance with his new band. Roush came out in an American Me t-shirt with a pretty well established beard, and proceeded to rock the fuck out for entirety of the band's 25 minute set - he threw his body around the stage, swung his mic clear across the stage, etc. It was a great thing to see, as things just seemed to be going right for him, and this is where he belonged, where he fit in. I'm excited to see where the band goes from here on out.
The Amity Affliction is an australian metalcore band that has toured the states a few times (once opening for Pierce The Veil/Miss May I a year ago, and opening for Asking Alexandria/Trivium not long after), but I feel most people here in America have slept on them until now. The band hit #1 on the Australian charts with their brand new full length, Chasing Ghosts, and it's starting to pick up some steam here slowly but surely. The band ripped through two new tracks, "Chasing Ghosts" and "R.I.P. Bon" before launching into older tracks like "Youngbloods" and "I Hate Hartley". The band ended with "Open Letter", which boasts a catchy chorus with the line: "I'm not searching the sky for a reason to live, cause I've found beauty right here and found the passion to give". I think the thing I love most about the band is their attitude, and how it carries over in a live setting, they really get after it and make their time on stage a memorable one. Joel Birch and Ahren Stringer make a fantastic scream/sing combo. If you missed them this time around, you'll definitely be seeing them around here sometime in 2013, so don't miss out.
Like Moths To Flames was a band that I previously had a hard time understanding because of vocalist Chris Roetter's prior Christian band Agraceful, and the significant contrast in lyrical content ("The Great I Am" vs "GNF (Give No Fucks)"). But you know, as one of the seemingly few people that have seen Chris perform in both bands, I know that he pours himself into whatever he's doing, regardless of what people think. The band took the stage and kicked things off with "The Worst In Me", and immediately the band had the entire floor bouncing off their feet. I was surprised at how rabid the response was for the band, because when I had previously saw them earlier this year, the response was minimal at best; however, it's great that they're becoming more well-known and people are showing them support. "GNF", "Faithless Living", and a few songs appeared on the setlist before the band ended with "You Won't Be Missed".
The Ghost Inside is one of my favorite bands, and I was happy to see them finally come back to at least a direct support slot on a club tour, thus giving them a slightly longer set than what they've been playing lately. One of the biggest treats about this particular setlist was the inclusion of newer material - "This Is What I Know About Sacrifice", "Outlive", "The Great Unknown", "Thirty Three", and "Engine 45" all made an appearance on the setlist. Past favorites like "Chrono", "Faith or Forgiveness", "Greater Distance", "Unspoken", and "Between The Lines" joined the mix as well. I think the most gripping in the setlist came right before "Thirty Three", when vocalist Jonathan Vigil dedicated the song to his recently deceased father - the amount of respect I have for Vigil for wanting to continue to tour amidst much adversity is through the roof. Look for The Ghost Inside to swing through the U.S. in the spring on their own headliner with a truly salivating line-up.
Miss May I without a doubt has earned the "most improved" award in recent years - from being a completely abysmal live act covering Savage's "Swing", to maturing into a powerhouse that can hold their own in the metalcore scene. From the second the band touched the stage, I was absolutely blown away - their live set is truly an experience that anyone that is a casual fan of the metalcore genre would enjoy. To be honest, I'm not much of a fan of the band's past material; I am however, a huge fan of their newest effort "At Heart", and enjoyed seeing a setlist that leaned more towards that album. Songs such as "Hey Mister", "Leech", "Opening Wounds", and "Bleeding Out" had me satisfied, as well as had the crowd bouncing off their feet, and crawling on stage for stagedive after stagedive. Aside from frontman Levi Benton's ferocious showmanship, I was particularly impressed with drummer Jerod Boyd's pure skill - in fact, I'd say he is one of the more skilled drummers I've had the pleasure of watching this year, along with August Burns Red's Matt Greiner and Texas In July's Adam Gray. In fact, Boyd performed an absolutely jaw dropping drum solo near the end of the band's set. To my pleasure, the band ended their set with "Ballad of A Broken Man" and "Day By Day" before doing an encore, "Relentless Chaos". I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the band grow and take over 2013, I have absolutely no doubts that their next record will be just as massive as "At Heart" is now.
"What a difference a year makes" -- that was the thought I've had over the past week when I reflect back on this summer's Vans Warped Tour. I had a blast seeing how just 12 months time has treated various different bands, such as Yellowcard, Breathe Carolina, Of Mice & Men, and Memphis May Fire, to give a few examples. This year's Warped Tour had an absolutely stacked line-up, one that you couldn't help but have a blast the entire day, regardless of who you saw (well, except if you accidentally stumbled near Blood On The Dance Floor's atrocious display).
The Seattle date took place at the White River Amphitheatre, specifically in Auburn, WA. After dramatically altering my schedule to make it on time, I was able to get where I needed to go with relative ease -- the venue staff couldn't have been more helpful, they saved me a good amount of valuable time, especially when I found out via twitter that Memphis May Fire would be going on at 11:30am, 30 minutes after gates opened.
After quickly checking in with the very helpful Bethany Watson at the press area (which was in a nice air conditioned room, with Wi-Fi access!), I decided to start my day off with a bang and catch Memphis May Fire at the Monster Energy Stage. If there was any band that has gone through a tremendous amount of growth over the past few years, it's definitely this band. I remember the last time I had seen the band was at The Pit in Jacksonville, FL, when the band was touring on their new album, Sleepwalking. Fast forward to summer 2012, and the band sounds far from similar, much more to what you'd expect from a "Rise-core" band, not that there's anything wrong with that though. For being so soon after gates, the crowd was quite significant, definitely filling out a large majority of the viewing area. Vocalist Matty Mullins had the crowd bouncing for most of the set, but that's about as active as the crowd got, as they loudly sang along to songs such as "The Sinner" and "Prove Me Right".
After puttering around for a good 30 minutes checking out merch, I headed off to the Kia Soul Main Stage to watch Of Mice & Men, eager to see what they had to bring to the table since the last time I had seen them. This was the first time seeing them since clean vocalist/bassist Shayley Bourget left, and they've had fill ins since then, such as Joel Piper (Confide, Olivia The Band), and currently Aaron Pauley (Jamie's Elsewhere). I can confidently say that Of Mice & Men have never sounded better, everything has been elevated to a higher level -- vocals, instruments, the works. The highlight of the set was one of the new tracks that surfaced on the re-release of the band's sophomore release The Flood, "The Depths" -- the madness and intensity of the track came through in a bigger way live, and the crowd ate it up. The band's upcoming third full length record is already on my "most anticipated" list for 2013, I have no doubts that this will be their finest work.
From there, I went back to interview Matty Mullins of Memphis May Fire, and then catch up with David Schmitt and Kyle Even of Breathe Carolina. It was great speaking with them.
Rushed over to catch A Loss For Words in the Acoustic Basement, something that definitely was worth getting there early for -- it was packed! Vocalist Matty Arsenault was in good spirits, and even whipped out a cover of Miguel's "All I Want Is You". Throw in "Hold Your Breath", "My Girl" (The Temptations), "So Contagious" (Acceptance), "Pirouette", and "Mt. St. Joseph", and you got yourself a great time.
Went rushed back to cut a short interview with newcomer band Oh No Fiasco. If you're a fan of Pierce The Veil, you might recognize their vocalist on the last track of their new album, which is what most people associate with when they hear of this new band. Interviewed Machine Gun Kelly, who was about a foot and a half taller than I thought he was going to be -- he's super lanky, but super cool at the same time. I never got a chance to see a large majority of his set over the weekend, but I heard him cover Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff" as I was passing by to catch another set.
Every Time I Die mercilessly took the Monster stage by the throat, and ripped through crowd favorites such as "Wanderlust", "We'rewolf", and "No Son Of Mine". Seeing ETID is always a good time, and if you're not banging your head the entire time, you're doing it completely wrong. My only disappointment was with the amount of people that showed up, there should have been ATLEAST a couple hundred more people punching each other, having a good time. I can't wait for the band's headlining tour in the fall, especially since Letlive. is on it, who knows what sort of shenanigans will go down?
After snagging a tiny snack, Yellowcard took the Kia Soul Main Stage. I would be absolutely lying if Yellowcard wasn't one of the tightest and most entertaining bands on the tour, they sounded just as incredible as they did when they supported All Time Low last year, if not more. The band treated an extremely enthusiastic crowd to hits such as "Breathing", "Only One", and "Lights and Sounds". The highlight of the set was not their closer, which was obviously "Ocean Avenue", but it was "With You Around" -- the call and response part was absolutely MASSIVE, nearly everyone in the crowd sang along and rocked the venue. I cannot convey how disappointed I am in the fact that the band's fall headliner (with The Wonder Years!) doesn't come to the Northwest, just doesn't seem fair! But I'm pretty sure it has to do with the Warped Tour touring clause.
I rushed and barely made it in time to hop side stage to see the first half of Breathe Carolina's set at the Kia Rio Main Stage, which was located inside the actual Amphitheatre. As mentioned in the first paragraph of this entry, "what a difference a year makes" -- the amphitheatre was filled with fans jumping and singing along to the words. Out of all the bands on this tour, Breathe Carolina definitely had the biggest production -- lots of fog, lights, banners, etc. People seemed to respond best to their current single, "Hit and Run", which bodes well for the band's continued Top 40 Radio dreams, which they first achieved with "Blackout".
After watching Breathe for 20 minutes, I took off to the Monster stage again to catch The Ghost Inside, which arguably is one of my favorite bands. But don't think I didn't stop for 5 minutes and cut a rug to MOD SUN/Pat Brown perform on the House of Marley stage -- it was nice to those guys get a decently sized crowd, especially after the work he's put in over the last 3 years.
Ended up at the Monster stage just in time to graciously be allowed sidestage, and enjoy The Ghost Inside's set. I think it's fair to say I'm extremely biased towards this band, so I'll hold off on the praise. They came out to the ol' "California Love/Anchorman Cannonball" intro, and ripped into "Unspoken". Vocalist Jonathan Vigil wasted no time with stage banter, except to tease Vancouver Canucks fans, and to praise his beloved L.A. Kings (He was wearing a Jersey at the time). "Faith or Forgiveness", "Provoke", "Greater Distance", "Outlive", "Chrono", and "Between The Lines" all were fit into the band's 30 minute action packed set. 7 Songs!
I then went off to team with I Call Fives and hit the "End of the World" party, featuring one of the coolest bands from Oregon, Larry And His Flask -- those guys are so cool!
Woke up way too late, and rushed to get to the press area in Portland, barely got there in time.
It only took me about 10 minutes to appreciate the previous day's venue, and immediately feel the deepest amount of contempt for the day's venue, the Rose Quarter Riverfront, which was just barely large enough to fit everything inside it. The walkways to the bathrooms and Monster/Tilly's stages were extremely narrow, which made for a good 10 minute trek to one's desired destination, no matter how much pushing and shoving you did.
I started my day off with Falling In Reverse on the Kia Soul Main Stage, and my first thought was "How in the hell did this many people get here in time for an 11:45 time slot?". It was a PACKED (and rabid) crowd. Say what you'd like about the band and whatnot, but they sounded crisp. They were about 10 minutes into their set when someone walked on stage and told them they needed to stop playing immediately. I figured it was a gimmick to rile the crowd up some more...it wasn't. Turns out, it was someone sent to inform the band that the Fire Marshall is having a fit right now, and could pull the plug on the entire day. After 15 more minutes of waiting, the band came out and finished their set, without any cutting of songs. The band's final single from The Drug In Me Is You, "Good Girls Bad Guys" closed out the set, which seemed to be the crowd favorite. As for the Fire Marshall, he laid down the law and canceled some signings.
I Call Fives were playing acoustically at the DigiTech stage, and it was cool to finally get to see a set in some way, shape or form. The band's new self-titled album is definitely one of my favorites so far this year, and it's cool to see people show them some love. It was cool to hear songs like "Elevator Music" live, one of the first songs I had heard from the band.
I caught the second half of Four Year Strong's set on the Kia Soul Main Stage. I enjoyed the set for what it was, but I still couldn't help but feel some serious nostalgia for the days when Josh Lyford was in the band, it just wasn't the same. That being said, they're still a great band, and I'm sure I'll continue to come out to support them, they're much better than a majority of the bands on the tour anyways. I thought "Heaven Wasn't Built To Hold Me" was a nice touch to their set.
Senses Fail then took the stage on the Kia Rio stage, directly next to the Soul stage. Vocalist Buddy Nielsen sounded absolutely powerful, as the band tore through hits such as "Buried A Lie", "Shark Attack", and "Calling All Cars", and even threw in the massive new single "War Paint". Nielsen's stage banter was in full swing, as he entertained a couple of recent high school graduates in the front row, responding to their sarcastic comments. Near the end of the set, Buddy also mentioned putting out an expensive comedy CD -- whether he was serious or not, I'm not actually sure. What I DO know, is that Senses Fail sounded excellent, and would do well on a co-headliner with a band like Silverstein or Bayside.
Grabbed some water in the tent over, and then walked a few yards back to the Kia Rio stage for Breathe Carolina's full set. I had a great time watching them run through their set, and judging by the size of the crowd and how active they were, I'd say they did too. "Wooly" and "Blackout" rounded out the last portion of their set, before their DJ dropped into a 90 second (or so) dance portion to close things out. Breathe Carolina is definitely an artist to lookout for in the rest of 2012, and onto 2013; every year there's an artist that blows up from the line-up (Past artists include Katy Perry, Mike Posner, Yelawolf), and this year might be the first where said artist is one people are already generally familiar with.
Went to go chat with MOD SUN and do an interview. His work ethic is incredible, and the things he's been able to accomplish on this tour have been great. It really seems like yesterday when he saved the day on Jonny Craig's solo tour in early 2010, when Jonny was too intoxicated to perform at Midnight. Kevin Lyman was excited about having him out on the tour, so at the very least, he's got that going for him. He has Absolutepunk bookmarked, did you know that?
Went to catch most of Title Fight's set before The Ghost Inside were about to go on. Good band, but not necessarily something that I'd listen to everyday. They ended with "Shed", and a lot of people were into that, evidenced by hardcore dancing, which I never quite understood with a band playing like Title Fight.
The Ghost Inside hopped on next, and I was blessed to be invited to watch them from the side again. There's nothing better than seeing your favorite band twice in a row, especially knowing that they're excited to play, and the crowd is absolutely buzzing as well. As the band ripped into "Unspoken" again, that's the point when the dog was let off it's chain -- Portland flat out lost the plot. Now, you can say "Oh, you're just biased because it's your scene, blah blah blah", but I'm making no exaggeration here, they went twice as hard as Seattle did. They played the same set as yesterday, except they replaced "Provoke" with "Shiner", much to the delight of the older fans (from 2008-09, when they used to play the Satyricon in downtown Portland). The Ghost Inside will be direct support to Miss May I, alongside Like Moths To Flame, The Amity Affliction, and Glass Cloud in the fall.
Speaking of Miss May I, as I was making my way across the venue, I caught the last three songs of their set -- "Hey Mister", "Ballad Of A Broken Man", and "Masses of A Dying Breed". Miss May I has pulled a complete 180* since I had last encountered their set in early 2010. I couldn't beg more for Miss May I to get off the stage a few years back, as they performed an awful rendition of the already awful "Swing". Fast forward to now, and I'm excited to see what kind of headlining set they'll put together in the fall, it's obvious they've put in a tremendous amount of work in, and have tried to pull away from their beginnings a little bit.
There's not a whole lot of bands that can flat out command a stage like New Found Glory can, and I was ready for them to take over again on the Kia Soul Main Stage. When I spoke with vocalist Jordan Pundik back in June, literally a few days before he left for this tour, he described the band's set as a "30 minute aerobics workout" -- he wasn't lying! It was absolutely impossible to not get into it, let everything go, and sing along to hits such as "All Downhill From Here", "Something I Call Personality", and the inevitable closer, "My Friends Over You". When we talked, Jordan also confirmed the Sticks and Stones 10th Anniversary Tour, which will happen early on next year -- everyone is super stoked for it! The "Pop Punk's Not Dead" tour was something cool, so I can't wait for this headliner.
I was super hungry, so I did the responsible thing and made the only meal of the day a good one -- A gigantic snowcone for $5. Worth it? YOU BET! It's almost mandatory to get a snowcone every summer.
I went to hang out and check out MOD SUN on House of Marley stage, as a decently sized crowd started to show up. Hate him or love him, he puts as much energy he can into his set. He's consistently jogging, jumping, and shouting at the top of his lungs to the people he considers his friends. 2011 was big year for him, as he did well in the Rolling Stone unsigned artist contest, and 2012 has been an even bigger year. Lookout for big things in the fall, as 2013 approaches.
From there, I had a friend get really sick due to the heat, so I was unfortunately unable to see All Time Low or Pierce The Veil close out the tour as I had planned.
- Kleen Kanteen: Please, keep providing water, but don't lay on the guilt trip when we don't buy your overpriced canteens.
- I bumped into Skinny Lister on numerous occasions over the two days, and every time they were extremely polite and fun to be around! I hear they drew quite a crowd too!
- Two Mainstages (Kia Rio/Soul) were really cool -- I'd like to see the main stages return to 40 minutes, and some smaller stages knock down to 25 minutes (Kevin Says)
- For the love of everything good and holy, continue to have the Acoustic Basement every year. It's too good to not have every year.
- Bands/Artists I'd like to see for next year: Steel Panther, Story of The Year, P.O.D., The Cool Kids, Trapped Under Ice, Take Offense, Grave Maker, The Classic Crime, Bring Me The Horizon, Stick To Your Guns, Silverstein, Terror, First Blood, August Burns Red, The Ghost Inside
- Every artist that plays on Mainstage should have to earn it, no exceptions. Most bands that were on the stage this year definitely earned it, but some definitely did NOT (looking at you, Blood On The Dance Floor)
- Monster Energy should definitely still continue to sponsor the tour. Not only are their "Rehab" flavored drinks incredible, but their truck giving free full-sized cans to fans in an air conditioned area is amazing every-single-year. THANK YOU.
- Less bands on the Tour
- Earlier gate times to help with schedule -- Numerous fans on both dates were upset because they didn't get inside the gates in time for an 11:30 time slot, even though they were near the front of the line. Even cutting gates back by 30 minutes would help a lot.
- Give the First-Aid personnel a significantly larger area to work with. There were FAR too many people dropping in the Portland heat, and I know for a fact that we weren't the hottest date on the tour.
SPECIAL THANKS to: Bethany Watson (Warped Press Coordinator), Amy Willard (Pit Reporter), The entire I Call Fives camp, Jonathan Vigil & Jim Riley of The Ghost Inside, and Kevin Lyman.
The Everpassing Moment by MxPx was one of the first albums that I really fell in love with. Check out lead vocalist/bassist Mike Herrera perform one of the songs off that album, "Never Better Than Now"
Here in Oregon, I've been blessed with lots of great shows over the last few years, thanks to the hard work and dedication of local promoters King Banana and Mike Thrasher Presents. Shows are often where I can kick back and relax, drink some coffee or soda with everyone before doors, and then have a blast rocking out to some great bands. I'm usually at 3 or 4 shows a month in the Portland area, so as you can imagine it's hard narrowing down some of my favorite moments of 2012 so far.
I'd love to hear from the rest of you, as to what YOUR favorite shows have been this year. Also, what shows coming up are you looking forward to?
(In no set order)
1. Andrew W.K.'s "I Get Wet" 10th Anniversary tour (Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR) w/ The Evaporators. -- Andrew W.K. was my first large interview, and I was really excited to catch up with him again a few years later and rock out to his iconic album "I Get Wet" from front to back, with more party favorites thrown in for good measure! His backing band was even more ferocious than when I first saw him at Warped Tour 2010, everything was kicked up 110%. You know what made my night even MORE special? Meeting my all-time FAVORITE interviewer, Nardwuar The Human Serviette! His band The Evaporators opened the show for 45 minutes, and it was by far the most entertaining set I've seen in a long time. This was definitely not a tour that I'll forget, and I'm looking forward to my next party with Andrew W.K.!
2. G.K. Tour featuring The Wonder Years, w/ Polar Bear Club, Transit, The Story So Far, and Into It. Over It. (Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, OR) -- This was a show I was looking forward to since Patrick (RockTheWalls) leaked it. Everyone on this tour was so cool, I definitely appreciated getting to see everyone again. Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) was hilarious, and crafted a fine live performance, weaving in various stories that inspired particular songs. The Story So Far got an incredibly massive response, and turned the venue into stagedive city for brief moments in time. I enjoyed getting to know Will and Kelen, and seeing how awesome and down to earth they are; this band will go so many places in the future, because they're in it for the right reasons. Transit was the dark horse of the tour, as many kids didn't show much appreciation for the heavy "Listen & Forgive" setlist, which really bummed me out. "Listen & Forgive" was such a heartfelt record and honestly has a great deal of lasting value, and I really hope kids take the time to sit down with it and appreciate it for what it is. Polar Bear Club is the band that always shows up on every tour package and gives everyone a fantastic time. Jimmy Stadt is one of the best showmen in the genre, and I'm really glad to hear that they're getting a great response on this year's Warped Tour. The Wonder Years once again came back to Portland to show everyone a good time, and boy, did we have a blast! Coffee Eyes, Melrose Diner, and Logan Circle all caused me to yell out, and eventually kill my voice. It was without a doubt my favorite experience watching the band, and I'm itching to see them again! I'm really stoked we have a great Official Thread that backs the band hard.
3. August Burns Red w/ Silverstein, Texas In July, and I, The Breather (Hawthorne Threatre, Portland, OR) -- August Burns Red is one of my favorite bands, I haven't missed them since I first saw them in early 2006. I was really looking forward to seeing a proper headlining set with more "Leveler" material showcased, as opposed to their set at Warped 2011. Silverstein never lets me down whenever I see them, it always amazes me the abuse Shane subjects himself to in order to give everyone a memorable experience. Texas In July had never sounded better and more crisp than they did on this tour, everyone was on point. I, The Breather also made a lot of new fans that night, as they were on the cusp of releasing their sophomore effort, "Truth and Purpose", which is a significant improvement from their debut.
4. Enter Shikari w/ Letlive., and At The Skylines (Branx, Portland, OR) -- Living in America is great, but sometimes it's difficult when great bands from "across the pond" aren't as popular over here, and are limited to short sets. So when I found out Enter Shikari would be coming back here to do a proper headliner with full production and everything, I was extremely excited. Letlive. is always great to have around as well, all those guys are super genuine and hilarious guys. At The Skylines showed some promise, but nothing close to ground breaking.
5. Set Your Goals w/ Cartel, Fireworks, Mixtapes, and Super Prime (Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, OR) -- I never gave Super Prime a chance, although they were extremely nice, and after talking to Jordan Brown (SYG) about their story, I have a WHOLE lot more respect for the band. There's some people on here that really like Mixtapes (including Thomas Nassiff), but as cool as they were to talk to, I just didn't really get them at all. Fireworks really left me wanting a longer set from them, they were so solid live. Cartel absolutely blew me out of the water with their live performance, Will Pugh has one of the strongest voices in the scene. Set Your Goals were great as usual, even though Dan had to go home again to attend to his ill father. The good news is, they have a really good friend in Justin Ksionzek (@giglife), who filled in once again (as he has over the last year or so), and did an excellent job. Great mixture of Mutiny, This Will Be The Death Of Us, and Burning At Both Ends material, and an excellent time overall.
Ed Sheeran has sold over 1 million copies of his debut album, "+" outside of the United States; not a bad accomplishment for a 21-year old fella from the United Kingdom. It's my opinion (as well as other artists such as Enter Shikari and letlive.) that Sheeran will be one of the biggest acts to explode this year in the United States; his connection to fellow act One Direction couldn't hurt either, could it?
I went to see Sheeran on a blustery Wednesday evening as part of Snow Patrol's U.S./Canada headlining tour. After watching the live stream of his SXSW Nikon Showcase, I knew I had to make it out to see him in person.
One of the things that sets Ed apart from other singer/songwriters is his utilization of the loop pedal, and boy, does he know how to use it; he uses it to create multiple harmonies/effects to make it seem like he's not the only one standing on stage. Crowd participation was well encouraged, as he had the room form a 'choir' of sorts for his opening song, "Give Me Love"; the all-ages section was far more eccentric and willing to get rowdy, as opposed to a large majority of the older folks in attendance for Snow Patrol, who seemed to have no clue what was going on. The lyrically fast-paced and closing song "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" also encouraged crowd participation, as simple as the chorus was; shouts of "Hell yeah!" and "Yeah Motherfucker Yeah Motherfucker Yeah!" were also part of the call and response shenanigans.
His set was 30 minutes long...but he only played 4 songs. While most people reading this would think that it's absurd that he wouldn't play atleast one or two more songs, they also don't realize that 3 of the 4 songs in his set were dramatically lengthened. And I can appreciate that he would care enough to put such an emphasis on his live set to do that; some artists drone through a few songs and promptly leave the stage.
Sheeran later came out during Snow Patrol's set to perform the song "New York" with vocalist Gary Lightbody; afterwards, he made his way outside of the venue to sign autographs and take pictures with everyone that wanted one.
As mentioned, I believe that between the success he's accumulated throughout this long tour, as well as appearances on Carson Daly, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O' Brian, Ed Sheeran is ready to explode in the United States. Only time will tell how fast his growth will be -- as more and more people check out his debut album, as well as his EP with Yelawolf, his growth is imminent. He mentioned to me that he will be back on a U.S./Canada headliner in the Fall; he also confirmed to me that Portland is a tour date on that headliner, so I definitely will plan on coming back out for a longer set.
At The Skylines opened up the show, and it’s another band that does the two vocalist sing/scream combo with the shredding guitarist – not particularly something that we haven’t already seen a million times before. That being said, out of all the bands that I’ve seen play that style, At The Skylines performed quite well; the intensity and fervor shown by the band isn’t often matched. Vocalists Mark Barela and Chris Shelley are both talented at their respective vocal styles. Although he might not like it, Barela screams are closely similar to that of Austin Carlile, vocalist for Of Mice & Men; Shelley has some serious pipes, something I didn’t expect to translate well live. The lead guitarist of the group shredded like his life depended on it, and was fun to watch throughout the set. My only complaint is that I heard the same breakdown over and over and over again; it seemed so formulaic and lazy.
At The Skylines have the right tools to really go places; if they utilize more of Shelley’s vocal abilities and reduce the number of breakdowns, they have some serious potential to release a great sophomore record.
letlive. took the stage next, and I was excited! I had missed this band a grand total of 5 times due to bad luck. I’m going to be blunt – if you haven’t seen this band play, you need to do whatever it takes to see them. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler is an incredible performer live, you’ll be glued to his antics the entire set; examples include him pulling his shirt over his face, shove the microphone into his mouth, and climbing on top of tall speakers. Aside from that, the band understands the importance of dynamics; they kicked into overdrive for “Renegade 86”, and understood when to flip the intensity on and off for “Day 54”. Their entire set was such an experience, I was cutting a rug the entire time – it would’ve been a crime not to.
It’s so hard to write about the band, because they speak so well for themselves with their performance; they easily fit into the upper echelon of live bands such as The Chariot and Grave Maker. I am extremely excited to see where their upcoming sophomore album takes them. If you’d like to hear a particular song from them, be sure and ask them, they don’t bite!
After a bit of delay, the lights dimmed; in fact, this was the darkest the venue had ever been in the many times I’ve been there – Enter Shikari was ready to go on. Two rotating spotlights made a slow creep around the walls, occasionally stunning a few people in the crowd; a large upside-down triangle fixed to the wall began to shine a bright hue of red, mixed with powerful shots of white light. “System” was the first and definitely most appropriate song to start this set; we all shouted along with vocalist Rou Reynolds before the song abruptly flowed into “Meltdown”, in which all hell broke loose. The fixed triangle violently emitted red and white light, blinding all hardcore dancers that immediately broke out to tear up the dance floor.
The band then proceeded to run through songs such as “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi” and “The Feast”. Long time crowd favorite “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” made an appearance early on in the set, as the majority of the crowd knew exactly when to clap along.
In spite of other big tracks making an appearance such as “Search Party” and “Arguing With Thermometers”, the set hit its most epic point right before the encore. Enter Shikari ended a initial 15 song set with “Enter Shikari”, which left the crowd rattling the venue with “AND STILL WE WILL BE HERE, STANDING LIKE STATUES”; they continued to roar this line until the band came back for a two song encore.
The encore consisted of two songs – “Return to Entergiser” and “Sssnakepit”; while you might think that this would be a fairly quick punch to end the night, the band refused to let people go home without dancing. The two songs were both extended to allow people to let loose and shuffle their feet, myself included.
One of my favorite things about Enter Shikari’s live sets is that they mix things up for people that come out; you’re going to get various extended introductions and remixes by artists such as True Tiger and Ram, which are even more of a treat for long time fans of the band.
It was highly evident that everyone who was in attendance was there for Enter Shikari, which made things far more enjoyable than past experiences; the band really got a chance to shine and show America how they execute a headlining set. Without a doubt this tour was Enter Shikari’s biggest moment in America; they weren’t held back by a limited set time, the spotlight was on them for once. Although the production and crowds are a far cry from what one would experience in the U.K., what WAS here was incredible to soak in.
Enter Shikari is a band that mixes hardcore elements with dubstep/drum ‘n’ bass, which has a large appeal to a few demographics of people. I look forward to the band growing in popularity, and coming back to America in early 2013 for another rowdy and memorable performance.
The following are a collective list of other albums i'm excited for this year in addition to The Ghost Inside, Stick To Your Guns, and Pierce The Veil that can be found on the main AP.net collective list. Sorry if you disagree....actually, no i'm not.
Bring Me The Horizon – TBA
Release Date: Fall
Record Label: Epitaph Why I’m Anticipating: Bring Me The Horizon continually evolves into a bigger and better band with every release. With each member’s eclectic musical inspirations guiding the writing process, expect the band to put out one of 2012’s most original sounding albums.
Letlive – TBA
Release Date: Fall
Record Label: Epitaph Why I’m Anticipating: Letlive is one of the freshest sounding bands in the rock scene today. With a non-stop touring schedule and wild live performance, don’t expect this band to be stopped anytime soon, as they put out their sophomore effort.
Big Chocolate – TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Independent Why I’m Anticipating: Cameron Argon (aka Big Chocolate) is one of EDM’s best kept secrets. Argon continually pushes the envelope with his odd sense of inspiration, which result in nothing but great originals and remixes. His next project is already confirmed to have a guest spot from Tyler Carter (ex-Woe, Is Me)
Whitechapel – TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Metal Blade Why I’m Anticipating: There’s very few bands that can measure up to the heaviness and brutality that Whitechapel brings – don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Andrew W.K. – TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Steev Mike Why I’m Anticipating: Andrew is the father of “Party Rock”, and he’s going to really show why it’s in the house tonight.
MxPx – Plans Within Plans
Release Date: April 3rd
Record Label: MRI/Rock City Recording Why I’m Anticipating: With plenty of time to “charge the batteries” and spend time with family, MxPx felt charitable and decided to set their sights on yet another full length, something we haven’t seen since “Secret Weapon”. Legendary pop-punk at it yet again.
Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour
Release Date: January 16
Record Label: Hopeless Why I’m Anticipating: With a great mix of Electronics and Rock, Enter Shikari have a potent formula for one of the best albums this year. Spoiler Alert: It is one of the best so far.
Fences – TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Onto Entertainment Why I’m Anticipating: Nobody has made a folk/indie that’s hit me as hard as Fences did in 2010 with their self-titled debut. Since then, a split with Mansions and collab with rapper Macklemore has proven that a sophomore effort from Fences is worth drooling over.
Your Demise – The Golden Age
Release Date: Spring
Record Label: Rise Why I’m Anticipating: Nobody seems to be able to get as rowdy as Your Demise, and this new album looks to serve as yet another continual reminder.
Mychildren Mybride – TBA
Release Date: March 13th
Record Label: Solid State Why I’m Anticipating: Mychildren Mybride will have a monster year, as they release their 3rd full length album, produced by Zeuss (The Acacia Strain, etc.).
Tyler Carter – TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Independent Why I’m Anticipating: With the large backlash that occurred when Carter left Woe, Is Me, it’s seemingly all-or-nothing for him, no turning back. He’s making the music that he loves, and with confirmed guest spots with vocalists such as Kellin Quinn (Sleeping w/ Sirens), it’s going to be hard to stop Tyler in 2012.
American Me -- III
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Rise Why I’m Anticipating: Craig Ericson over at Rise Records isn’t stupid, he knows worthwhile talent when he sees it, which is why American Me continues to stay on the label. With a very underrated sophomore effort that was praised by people such as Vincent Bennett (The Acacia Strain), look for American Me to move from the great scene of Portland, OR, and onto the National circuit once again.
Project 86 – TBA
Release Date: Fall
Record Label: Independent Why I’m Anticipating: This has been one of the bands I’ve loved for such a long time, and I’m glad they’ve managed to stay together so long – 16 years and counting. With a Kickstarter that raised over $30,000, who knows what Andrew Schwab and gang will pump out? Team Black rises once more. MOD SUN – Untitled Mixtape
Release Date: Late Spring Why I’m Anticipating: MOD SUN works his rear end off to always release free music, and 2011 was a fantastic example of that. His mixtape “Blazed By The Bell” was hosted by DJ Ill Will and sponsored by DatPiff. His next mixtape boasts contributions from Adam Ivy and Don Cannon, so who knows what sort of
Terror – TBA
Release Date: Fall
Record Label: Good Fight/Reaper Why I’m Anticipating: Terror is one of the best hardcore bands out there, no doubt about it. They keep the faith in Hardcore music, you ought to as well. P.O.D. – TBA
Release Date: Summer
Record Label: Razor And Tie Why I’m Anticipating: It’s been a long while since 2008’s “When Angels And Serpents Dance” – with a first single “On Fire” released to the masses, P.O.D. is back and better than ever.
The Classic Crime – TBA
Release Date: Late Summer
Record Label: Tooth and Nail Why I’m Anticipating: The Classic Crime makes some of the most honest, straight-forward rock music that I’ve had the pleasure of following since their debut, “Albatross”. Anything short of incredible will be grounds for the band to think elsewhere about their future.
Gordon Bombay – S/T
Release Date: February 3rd, 2011
Record Label: Independent Why I’m Anticipating: A collective group of MOD SUN, Pat Brown (ex-Sing It Loud), up and coming R&B crooner B Rolla, Zachary Garren (ex-Dance Gavin Dance), and producer JCW, look for this upcoming release to make you get off your feet and dance. Naysayers may not be on the dance floor with the rest of us, but atleast they’ll have a hard time denying success.
Periphery – TBA
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Sumerian Why I’m Anticipating: Responsible for some of the most technical and tasteful metal I’ve heard in quite some time with their debut album, look for an absolutely brilliant sophomore effort – it’ll likely force people to create more titles such as “djent”.
Misery Signals – TBA
Release Date: Late Summer
Record Label: Ferret Why I’m Anticipating: Before taking a hiatus, Misery Signals was at the top of their game in the Metalcore world. 2011’s fall tour “Crush em’ All” saw the band return to the stage for the first time in a few years – and they haven’t lost a single step. Look for people to be absolutely surprised at the monster of an album Mis Sigs puts out.
Solace – Call And Response
Release Date: TBA
Record Label: Independent Why I’m Anticipating: Karl Schubach is not only the vocalist for metalcore outfit Misery Signals, but also a great overall artist. This is his debut solo effort he’s been working on for a few years – expect guest vocals from Jonathan Vigil (The Ghost Inside), and Josh Silbernagel (Hands).