Bullet for My Valentine, Trivium and Toothgrinder give the Casino Ballroom a war while rocking in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Author and Photographer – Ian Urquhart
Time to get the aloe out in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. The summer sun decided to show up while bringing a metal concert with it. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom fell home to a Toothgrinder, Triviumand Bullet for My Valentineshow on May 11th, 2018. If you were lucky and early enough, a few fans had the opportunity to greet some of the bands that were cruising the boardwalk before set time. Nevertheless, all of Hampton Beach was ready to rock.
Leading it off, Toothgrindergraced the presence of the Hampton Beach faithful while Justin Matthews (lead vocalist) rocked an impressive, three-piece suit. Owning the stage with energy and excitement, Toothgrindernot only provided a heavy metal experience, but also found ways to become one with the crowd. Quite literally. With stage-dive after stage-dive, Justin Matthews joined the strong & brave who control the mosh pit while belting out songs alongside vocally-gifted fans. “The Shadow” off of The Phantom Amour (2017) initiated the majority of the crowd movement and participation. Overall, Toothgrinderprovided the electricity needed to jump start this metal-induced evening.
Regardless of where Triviumlies on any show line up, you already know what to expect. Incredibly technical drum fills, head-banging guitar riffs and tongue-exposing solos. Triviumcertainly could have been considered the headliner for this event. However, they were asked to play second and just as everyone expected, they did not disappoint. With eight studio albums to choose from, fans heard a wide variety of songs. With Triviumrockers ranging into many different age groups, having a diverse selection of songs helped connect with the hardcore, dedicated fans while also pleasing the newer ones. This was seen during “The Sin and the Sentence” off of The Sin and the Sentence (2017) while the old-school fans thrashed to the “Pull Harder on the Strings of your Martyr” off of Ascendency (2005). Trivium always does an incredible job connecting with the fans while also providing an entertaining experience. One can only hope that theywill be rocking stages for many years to come.
With Trivium being a hard act to follow, many seemed curious if Bullet for My Valentinedeserved the headlining spot on this tour. Within seconds of their opening song, “Don’t Need You,” it was evident that they were right where they needed to be. A fresh mixture of songs was played during Bullet’s set in order to capture the attention of new fans while pleasing the dedicated fans of the years past. This was also the first time that New Hampshire was given a chance to officially welcome Jason Bowld as Bullet for My Valentine’snew drummer. Which had zero effect on how well excited Bullet’s performance was. The crowd was sent into a frenzy as the intro to “Tears Don’t Fall” off of The Poison (2005) followed by an overwhelming “Let’s Go!” to kick the song in. Concluding the evening involved one of Bullet for My Valentine’sheaviest songs, “Waking the Demon” off of Scream Aim Fire (2008). It’s possible that the Casino Ballroom floor is still shaking form the circle pit that was created during this track.
The Casino Ballroom always provides an incredible experience as a concert goer. Whether you enjoyed some oysters on a seaside dock or played arcade games for a couple hours before heading the venue. Hampton Beach can be home to some incredible concerts. To have the opportunity to see two legendary bands perform back to back is something many will take home with them as a one of a kind experience. Although this tour may be over, Bullet for My Valentine will be hitting the road again this fall to tour their most recent album that will be released this month, Gravity.
Until then, see you next time.
Our Last Night came home to New England with I The Mighty, Don Broco and Jule Vera at the Worcester Palladium
Author and Photographer: Ian Urquhart
There is always something special about a homecoming show. Family comes to visit. Old and new friends spread the word throughout their communities. Memories begin to accumulate of shows from the past. It could be assumed that this is what Our Last Night was going through before their show at the Worcester Palladium on March 24th, 2018. But before we get to the final act, there were some impressive performances put on beforehand.
First Up: Jule Vera
Although this group may not fit in with the rest of the Rock community, their presence in the Alternative music world is well known. Backed by a blissful piano, Ansley Newman (lead vocalist) displayed her wide vocal range while the rest of her bandmates followed suit. Songs like “Scarlet Letter” off of Friendly Enemies (2015) and “Bad Company” off of Waiting On The Sun (2017) were soft enough to set the mood to “chill”. On the other hand, they were also upbeat enough to get the floor jumping in harmony. Overall, Jule Vera was a wonderful band to listen to as well as a great opening act to initiate the evening’s festivities.
Second Up: Don Broco
Like many European artists and bands, when traveling abroad and performing in different counties, you probably never know what you’re going to see or expect. That being the case, bringing nothing but 100% to the stage is almost required. Which is exactly what Don Broco did. A Bedford, North London party was brought across the pond to the Worcester, Massachusetts. A Don Broco performance is a mixture of cowbells and poppy riffs while also throwing a wall of death in the mix. Rob Damiani (lead vocalist) had everyone in the crowd take of their shirts and swing them around their heads in a “European” fashion during the performance of “T-Shirt Song” off of Technology (2018). This set was a wild and unexpected experience if you have not seen Don Broco perform live before. Also, kudos to Simon Delaney (lead guitarist) for practically swinging his legs up and over his head while rocking out – which did NOT look easy.
Third Up: I The Mighty
If only Jule Vera and I The Mighty went on tour together, they would be a match made in heaven. The progressive/indie/alternative vibe that was being projected from the stage was strongly apparent. Simply put, the most popular songs played by the San Francisco natives were “Speak to Me” off of Satori (2013) and “Where the Mind Wants to Go” off of Where the Mind Wants to Go/ Where You Let it Go (2017). Something special about I the Mighty was that their songs were easily relatable. The lyrics behind each track passionately resonated to those listening in some way. Which was the feel that many fans were receiving during their set. Some attendees were getting emotional while singing alongside their concert neighbor. This is a talented group with the ability to do big things with their creative, collective minds.
Last but not least: Our Last Night
Appropriately timed, Our Last Night waited until ACDC’s “Back in Black” finished playing over the PA before taking the stage. According to Trevor Wentworth (lead vocalist), this performance was the largest of their career. What a feeling that must have been. To be playing at the same venue they spent so much time at as kids watching other bands live out their dream. Originating from southern New Hampshire, families of the band and crew huddled on the stage to watch their loved ones be embraced by their home crowd.
What a show. Our Last Night took a concert and turned it into an evening full of surprises and cooperation. How might this be the case? By having the pit attendees carry Woody Woodrow (bassist) from the stage all the way to the bar and back. During which, Woody took a shot of Jägermeister and brought back five Miller Lights for the rest of the fellas on stage. Which was executed perfectly. However, one thing for sure is that Our Last Night provided a wide variety of tempos, breakdowns, singalongs and melodies during their set. Heavier riffs were heard during “Ivory Tower” off of Selective Hearing (2017) while cell phones lit the venue during the ever popular “Sunrise” off of Oak Island (2013). Another aspect of Our Last Night that has been received overwhelming well is their ability to cover pop songs and turn them into their own metal renditions. Example of this was seen during their performance of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You.” So far, almost every show has been sold out for Our Last Night on their Selective Hearing Tour.
Seeing bands return home to where they started is always a heartwarming experience to witness. To see their hard work payoff right in front of their eyes. And quite honestly, not too many New Hampshire bands can say they sold out the Palladium.
Overall, incredibly satisfying and exciting evening filled with passionate musicians.
Until next time,
15 years in the making – A Day To Remember, Papa Roach, Falling in Reverse and The Devil Wears Prada rock the Tsongas Arena
Author and Photographer: Ian Urquhart
Normally on a Thursday night, the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts is home UMass River Hawks. However, there was metal to be played. First up, The Devil Wears Prada.
Regardless of where TDWP plays, havoc and sore necks are reoccurring themes when showing up to one of their shows. Setting the tone was necessary for the remaining artists to play that evening. Lead by Mike Hranica (vocalist) and all his hair, The Devil Wears Prada broke the metal-ice to get the blood pumping. Popular tracks like, “Worldwide” off of Transit Blues (2016) and “Danger Wildman” off of With Roots Above and Branches Below (2009) left people off their feet, signing along and bulldozing those to their left and right. The Devil Wears Prada is certainly talented enough to have a headlining tour, themselves. When it happens, it’ll be madness.
Next up, Falling in Reverse. Chatter throughout the crowd indicated some resentment towards Ronnie Radke (lead vocalist) after his legal accusations in 2017 (that’s for another article). Although many have their own opinion, at the end of the day, they put on an energetic set. For starters, Ronnie is beyond expressive on stage while performing. This may be the appeal to the Falling in Reverse crowd.
Although the genre is a bit different compared to The Devil Wears Prada and A Day to Remember, it gave the evening a sense of variety. Many of their songs were a bit upbeat and almost “poppy.” In the same breath, you could also sense a hip-hop vibe when they performed “Alone” off of Fashionably Late (2013). Having those varying tempos made the performance by Falling in Reverse to feel more dynamic. Overall, this was a well-rounded set with lots of light, energy and voices.
Hop of your time machine. Next stop – the high school years. Papa Roach came up next and they were not messing around. Throughout the duration of Papa Roach’s set, you saw: a mosh pit, a circle pit, a wall of death, everyone jumping at the same time, injuries, laughs, smiles and SO much nostalgia. Lead by Jacoby Shaddix (lead vocalist), the Papa Roach faithful blew the doors off the previous Baltimore show (said Jacoby). Newer singles including “Born for Greatness” off of Crooked Teeth (2017) and “Falling Apart” off of F.E.A.R (2015) set them apart from what they previously have recorded. But to address the elephant in the Tsongas Arena, everyone wanted to chant, “CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES. THIS IS MY LAST RESORT,” at the top of their lungs. Once everyone had a chance to sing along to “Scars” off of Getting Away with Murder (2004) and “Last Resort” off of Infest (2000), a little piece of everyone listening felt more complete than they did before.
With fifteen years recording, touring, on the road, rocking and moshing, A Day to Remember took over the stage. Straight out the gate, “Sticks and Bricks” off of What Separates Me and You (2011) caused an eruption of CO2 cannons, confetti and screaming voices. A Day to Remember concerts are not just concerts. They are parties. Large beach balls get thrown into the crowd. Fans were told (asked) to participate in a competition which involves surfing on the body of another fan crowd surfing themselves. Large LED screens displayed Sonic the Hedgehog while “You be tails and I’ll be Sonic” off of What Separates Me and You (2011) rocked the house. There were themes for every song. And who can’t resist belting along to “If It Means a lot to You” off of Homesick (2009) with your best friend or significant other next to you.
But don’t let all of these party favors distract you from A Day to Remember’s ability to bring the heavy. Classic example of these can and will always be found in “2nd Sucks” off of What Separates Me and You (2011). With the overwhelming surge of voices screaming, “YOU’RE AFRAID,” Jeremy McKinnon (lead vocals) corralled the entire city of Lowell to sing and mosh. It was also normal to see bass guitars be slung across the stage in replace of, say, a football.
Fifteen years down and hopefully many more to come for A Day to Remember, Papa Roach, Falling in Reverse and The Devil Wears Prada. Rock on.
Until next time.
Author and Photographer: Ian Urquhart
Before lines started to accumulate, everyone knew this show would be special. Special in a sense that the amount of passion pouring off the stage could very well overtake the volume pumping out of the speakers. Gathered at the Worcester Palladium on February 18th, 2018, were three, talented and emotionally driven bands. Bands who spoke about the overwhelming sadness being felt by those spread across the globe. War. Bloodshed. Self-centered politicians. Death. Loss. Greif. You name it. But one thing was certain, music brought everyone together on this evening.
Counterparts were first to bring the angst to the limelight. As a general rule of thumb, you do not want to get on Counterparts’ bad side. They will write a song about you. They will orchestrate a breakdown about you. They will let the crowd know how much you hurt them in order to awaken the beasts within them. There was so much passion being exuberated by every member of this band throughout the entire set. Guitar flips by Blake Hardman (guitarist) and chord whips from Brendan Murphy (lead vocalist) were key to Counterparts’ performance. Showcasing their most recent album You’re Not You Anymore (2017), “Thieves” sent the pit into a frenzy. So much technicality was found in this track. It truly displayed the talent in this group.
Plain and simple, a Stick To Your Guns show is an energetic, exciting and pulse pounding experience (just watch out for the ridiculous amount of crowd-surfers potentially kicking you in the face). One could assume that this band spends more time in the air than standing on stage. Chris Rawson (guitarist) and Jesse Barnett (lead vocals) have famously been known to get their jump on while rocking. Although Stick To Your Guns played many crowd favorites such as “Amber” off of The Hope Division (2010) and “Against Them All” off of Diamond (2012), they had a stronger message to convey. Jesse passionately addressed the Worcester crowd to speak about human values. About how these values make you unique and unlike anyone else. How this concept is much more accepting to those who don’t fit in or feel as if they will never fit in. To remember that no matter what you do in life, you only have one to live. This monologue transitioned beautifully into “We Still Believe” off of Diamond (2012). Bands such as Stick To Your Guns do the metal community justice. They provide a moral compass that many choose to follow. Be yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Stay metal.
It’s hard to back up such a powerful and emotional performance given by Stick To Your Guns. However, this is why Architects, Stick To Your Guns and Counterparts tour together. They all have stories to tell and messages to pass forward. This is exactly what Architects achieved.
Loss and grief rarely disappear. People begin to accept their altered reality in a positive and beneficial way. This is done in order to continue on their paths in life to achieve happiness. One could assume this is what Dan Searle (drummer) and the rest of Architects do every day to make their late guitarist proud – Tom Searle. Tom passed away in August of 2016 due to cancer. The record All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (2016) was said to be dedicated to Tom and the rest of Tom’s family. This heavy weight traveled to the Palladium while Architects took the stage. Fans showed their support to the band with Tom Searle posters and chants. Nevertheless, the show must go on. Architects showed incredible precision in every song they performed. Timing was spot on. Not a note was missed. Sam Carter (vocalist) took a few moments to express his deep appreciation for all those who have stuck with Architects through everything that has transpired. Sam spoke about the last time they played at the Palladium and how, maybe, there were 50 people. They played in front of over one thousand fans on this evening.
Their most recent single Doomsday (2017) seemed to offer a sense of acceptance to all the fans who expressed grief for Tom alongside Architects. Other songs such as “Gone With The Wind, A Match Made in Heaven and Memeto Mori,” off of All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (2017) also carried a message to show how special Tom was (and is) to this band. How his music is still living and carrying on. This performance was much more than lights, sound and instruments. In a way, any Architects concert is a tribute to anyone who has lost a loved one or dear friend. How it’s possible to push forward when the tide is against you.
This evening was special and most likely meant a lot to many people. Tom would have been proud.
Until next time.
August Burns Red, Born of Osiris, Erra and Ocean Grove bring the house down at the Worcester Palladium
Author and Photographer: Ian Urquhart
The first guitars and amps to be tuned and warmed up belonged to the gentlemen from the down-under. Ocean Grove – an Australian band from Melbourne introduced a style of music that could remind one of a Linking Park feel. Specifically, the use of voice modulation and scratch-table effects. An effect board was used throughout the set by Luke Holmes (lead vocals) to nail the electronic additions to his performance. Ocean Grove provided a wide range of creativity in their songs. These weren’t your typical breakdown-blasting and hair-whipping rockers. In a way, they gave off a P.O.D. vibe with their heavy hitting choruses accompanied by their hip-hop feeling bridges. Ocean Grove certainly blended well with the rest of the bands on The Phantom Anthem tour. If this band isn’t on your list of “need to see,” be sure to add them.
It would be interesting to know how many times JT Cavey (lead vocals) from Erra has gotten mistaken for Jake Luhrs (lead vocals) from August Burns Red. Both have golden pipes and impressive beards. But this is beside the point. Erra proclaimed the stage theirs after Ocean Grove. The technicality displayed during their set was truly inspirational. Jesse Cashe might be from another universe with the amount of talent this human being possesses. The ability to effortlessly sweep pick while nailing his high octaves is nothing short of incredible. But this is how Erra has made their name over the years. By being so technically orchestrated, their performances speak for themselves. They certainly did not fall short on this evening. “Seven” off of Impulse (2011) also ripped off all of Palladium’s floorboards.
Wait. who’s up next? Born of Osiris? Time to party.
The breakdown, djent and double-bass gods have spoken. All must go see a Born of Osiris set. If you decide to partake in this experience, you’ll hear a fulfilling synthesizer, shredding guitar fills, and double kick-drum beats for days. And just for kicks, David DaRocha (bassist) and Lee McKinney (guitarist) cut off all the tuning heads to their instruments. Why? No one knows... but it’s awesomely unique. What’s also awesomely unique is how well all of these instrumental progressions blend so well together. Vibes of Children of Bodom could be felt with the finish guitar style and synth combination taking over. Every now and then, you can also hear a dash of death metal with Jashka Raatikainen’s (drummer) blast beats. Not a soul in sight was seen stationary while Born of Osiris was on stage. Be ready to move, jump and headbang when seeing these boys live.
With a flaming “U” lingering above Matthew Greiner’s (drummer) set, August Burns Red greeted the New England (anti-Philadelphia) crowd with the intro music to “King of Sorrow” off of Phantom Anthem (2017) bellowing into the Palladium walls. Jake Luhrs (vocalist) has this indescribable ability to sound like three vocalists performing at the same time while on stage. The amount of practice and precision Jake puts into his craft is visibly noticed during ABR’s live sets. JB Brubaker (guitarist) and Brent Rambler (guitarist) effortlessly demonstrate their ability to play in sync with each other while Matt Greiner hits seven cymbals at once with ease (joking… but it seriously sounds like he hits at least four cymbals with one swoop of his drum stick). One unique detail of an August Burns Red concert is that you can go from a thrashing breakdown to a salsa dance within moments of each other. An example of this was seen during performance of “Provision” off of Rescue and Restore (2013).
Although the Phantom Anthem Tour has come to its completion, keep all of these bands on your radar (if you haven’t already). The next time you’re in town when these groups are performing, you have to go!
Until next time.
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