Tag Archives: live review

LIVE SHOTS: Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Cryptopsy, Abysmal Dawn

­Cannibal Corpse, one of if not the the most popular death metal bands of all time, sold out New York City’s Irving Plaza on February 16th with guests Obituary, Cryptopsy, and Abysmal Dawn. If you’ve never been to a metal show before, one of the biggest stereotypes about the metal scene is 100% true: There is a LOT of hair.

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LIVE SHOTS: The Acacia Strain, Counterparts, Fit For An Autopsy, Kublai Khan

In the cozy, dim, musty room known as The Studio at Webster Hall, a frenzied soldout crowd gathered on December 12th to let loose and blow off steam to the varying hardcore sounds of Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, Counterparts and The Acacia Strain on their Tune Low Die Slow Tour. Leaving out the inefficiency of the venue’s staff, which kept concert goers waiting to enter for over forty five minutes, The Studio is the perfect host for shows like this. There was no shortage of stage climbers, crowd surfers and mic grabbers. The low, crowded stage and the lack of barricades help make shows here intimate, family affairs…

Continue reading LIVE SHOTS: The Acacia Strain, Counterparts, Fit For An Autopsy, Kublai Khan

LIVE REVIEW: The Acacia Strain, Counterparts, Fit For An Autopsy, Kublai Khan

Fit For An Autopsy
Fit For An Autopsy

In the cozy, dim, musty room known as The Studio at Webster Hall, a frenzied soldout crowd gathered on December 12th to let loose and blow off steam to the varying hardcore sounds of Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, Counterparts and The Acacia Strain on their Tune Low Die Slow Tour. Leaving out the inefficiency of the venue’s staff, which kept concert goers waiting to enter for over forty five minutes, The Studio is the perfect host for shows like this. There was no shortage of stage climbers, crowd surfers and mic grabbers. The low, crowded stage and the lack of barricades help make shows here intimate, family affairs.

My night began with Kublai Khan, although local New York band Newcomer was supposed to have played ahead of them. I will never know. The opinionated Texan band named after a merciless Mongol emperor blasted their hopeful message of change and togetherness without over-the-top showmanship. As much as I love watching manic stage antics, Matt Honeycutt’s (vocals) onstage presence is enough to hold anyone’s attention without it. This band is about what needs to be said, and Honeycutt says it well. Bodies went flying and when Kublai Khan performed “Color Code” there could not have been more energy flowing through The Studio.

Fit For An Autopsy came on next and the room could not have felt smaller. The eclectic combination of deathcore blast beats and melodic death metal grooves saw the pit expand and consume the vast majority of the space. You could feel the anger radiating from it and the stage. There was no room in The Studio for anything other than the palpable disgust in humanity that is a mainstay in FFAA’s music.

Fit For An Autopsy’s endurance is remarkable. Joe Badolato (vocals) steadily released thunderous low growls as his bandmates furiously played their speeding instrumentals through the set with minimal pauses, one of which was to call a fight that had broken out as “pussy shit” that no one wanted to see, and another to announce “Out to Sea” to a cheering crowd.

Counterparts
Counterparts

The cheers continued as the lively, bouncy Counterparts excited The Studio with their relentless energy and upbeat sounds. I didn’t know what to expect from the Canadians, but I wasn’t disappointed. Their metalcore sounds were in cheery (well, cheerier) opposition to the lower, heavier bands before them. The most impressive aspect of their set was the crowd’s insanity. I can’t remember the last time I saw a band that wasn’t headlining make the entire venue move.

The crowd turned it up almost to the ceiling when Massachusetts deathcore veterans The Acacia Strain unleashed their hopeless, godless and ruthless auditory punishment. Vincent Bennett (vocals) lugged around the stage with an empty, crazed stare spitting up and down, throwing water on the crowd. When he spoke between songs he sounded honest and caring. During songs, he was the embodiment of hate. When he bellowed, “I am the end of the world,” he was surrounded by fans on stage shouting it as rabidly as he was. Other songs played were recent and old favorites including “JFC” and “4×4” as well as songs from Coma Witch. When you’re only playing hits the crowd, will always lose their shit.

Bennett walked off stage leaving the rest of the band to cool down the crowd with instrumentals. As I walked out I passed a guy with a blood-covered fist showing a friend, claiming none of the blood was his. That’s what an evening in a cramped room with hardcore bands will do to you. The tour is now over, but three out of the four bands are on the rise. Keep an eye out for Kublai Khan, Fit For An Autopsy, and Counterparts while you continue enjoying The Acacia Strain.

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by David Marulanda 

Aiden, Wil Francis, Thank You and See You in Hell

Photo Credit: Nicole Spangenburg
Photo Credit: Nicole Spangenburg

Now I’ll flat out say it: I wasn’t around for the hype period of Aiden. I am 18. I remember being younger, though, and having older friends who were into Aiden. I remember being in my friend’s room, during the time when the band was on hiatus, and falling in love so fast with their 2006 Rain In Hell EP, especially the song “We Sleep Forever.” I kept hoping Aiden would return one day, but settled on seeing their former vocalist and frontman Wil Francis (a.k.a. William Control) do his solo act.

Aiden went on hiatus after their 2011 album Some Kind Of Hate, when the members decided the band was no longer sustainable. “Towards the end it was clear that punk rock wasn’t going to pay the bills,” stated William Control on his Facebook page nearly a year ago, “which is why both Angel [Ibarra] and Jake [Davison] left the band initially.” But some months ago, Wil announced that he was writing a new, final, and self-titled Aiden record in an open letter to his former bandmates. Word was then put out that Aiden would be playing a final tour, The Last Sunrise Tour, on which they would play their beloved 2005 record Nightmare Anatomy in full.

Finally, the day I wished for came. The show was a small basement show on November 7th at Backroom Studios in Rockaway, New Jersey. I know most of my friends had seen Aiden before this tour and just wanted this one last time. For me, it was going to be the first and the last.

I was packed in a small room filled with people. There was a 70 person cap at the venue, and there were no less than 70 people there for Aiden. There was no barricade, no stage. I was offered nicely to stand up in the front by a girl who I wish now I could find again. When the stage was being set up for Aiden, I realized the mic stand had been placed at my feet. “If this is how I’m going to see Aiden one last, first time,” I thought, “then this is perfect.”

Finally, with no other way to enter, the members came in through the crowd, with Wil being the only original member. I looked to him and saw William Control become Wil Francis of Aiden one final time. He came in front of me, grabbed the mic and screamed, “This is Aiden!” All of a sudden, my face was in the chest of leather and smoke.

“What a beautiful way to see the last Aiden show. This is the reason I started a band, to play basement shows,” William screamed out to us. It made me feel like he didn’t want this to end ever; he wanted Aiden to still be a part of his life. Due to bitter ties and bad behavior, it had been ended. But that was in the past now. This tour was about making the fans happy. No matter when it was that you discovered Aiden, this show was about making all 70 people in the room feel special.

I had many friends who went to Aiden shows before the hiatus. They used to say that Wil didn’t treat them right and that he just never looked interested to meet fans. It left a bitter taste in some people’s mouths. I knew people who met him later as William Control and said he seemed different; more open. This was the Wil that appeared that night, and for a lot of people, it was personal and lovely.

At the beginning of the set, before they played Nightmare, Wil fell on top of me by mistake. He looked at me, pulled me in for a hug, and kissed my cheek. I couldn’t stop smiling at him that whole night. He took a break to drink and a girl jokingly asked him if she could have some, too. “Please, I’m dying,” she said. He came to her, laughing, and poured water down on her. He screamed, “We’re all dying, darling.” I never saw a woman more happy in her life.

When the last song of the set came (“World By Storm”), Wil thanked us all while the crowd poured him all their love, physically and emotionally. What I saw next was the most powerful thing. Wil pressed his hands against people’s heads and kissed their foreheads. When he walked off the stage, he hugged every single human being in that room. This included myself, upon which he told me, “Thank you for coming and loving me, darling.”

While it sucked–really, still does–to see a band like Aiden go away, I know this was the best way of seeing them. And as a fan, I wanted to leave a small open letter of my own to end this:

Wil,

Thank you. For making that whole room feel something. For letting that whole room wish you goodbye in one good fashion. I hope this made you realize we do care. You treated us like we were your friends. You let us become really personal with you in that hour. I met some new friends and became closer with my old ones during that show. Thank you for letting Aiden touch my life once again and the lives of the 70 people in that small room. You were right. It was the most beautiful place to see Aiden for the last time.

by Liz Rainey 

Live Review: The Amity Affliction at Irving Plaza 10.23.15

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Photo by Justin LaMot

A show like this can only be described in one word, and that is “phenomenal.” The lineup was diverse, yet also appealing as all the bands fit perfectly together despite their differences in sound and genre. These bands included The Plot In You, Cruel Hand, Secrets, Chelsea Grin and, of course, The Amity Affliction. Ranging from hardcore to metalcore and even deathcore, this show was entertaining throughout every set played.

Unfortunately I missed the opening band, The Plot In You, but talking with some fans and other concert goers I gathered their performance was nothing less than amazing. Although many said that TPIY’s set was way too short and wish they were able to play more, I spoke with Landon Tewers (vocalist) and discussed news of a headlining tour that will be announced soon! So don’t worry, their longer sets will come. Following them was Cruel Hand. I felt as if I was thrown back into 2007 listening to hardcore music while being angsty in high school. I mean that in every positive way. Cruel Hand had an old school hardcore vibe yet one that still fits in today’s scene. Definitely a blast from the past, yet a pleasant one!

Photo via Justin LaMot
Justin LaMot with The Plot In You

Next up was Secrets, who follow a similar pattern and style to other bands in the metalcore genre, but they nailed their performance. The crowd went wild and it was definitely one to remember. With a new album coming out in December (Everything That Got Us Here), they definitely gained many fans and followers with their set. Whether it was the powerful screams or pleasant cleans, the balance seemed just right. But when it comes to deathcore, Alex Koehler of Chelsea Grin knows just the perfect balance between lows and highs. CG destroyed with their set and the pit went berserk. The idly standing viewers in Irving Plaza quickly transformed into an ocean of destruction. It was an incredible sight to not only witness, but to also be part of. They definitely paved the way for The Amity Affliction by getting us all pumped with classic and new Grin songs, even covering Korn’s “Right Now,” which got plenty of love from the fans.

It was the set everyone had been waiting for as the whole venue filled to the brim–in terms of capacity and excitement–as The Amity Affliction took the stage. The crowd constantly sung along while the vocals switched between Joel Birch’s piercing screams and Ahren Stringer’s cleans. It was a perfect set covering old and new songs, yet no matter what was played the crowd remained in harmony with each other and the band throughout. The Amity Affliction showed us why they deserved their position as the headlining band. Overall, the concert was an incredible experience and one to look back on in hopes that the next show attended will be just as amazing, yet will probably be hard to top. But for now, we will dwell on our smartphone videos and pictures reminiscing on how great The Amity Affliction was until they return back to the U.S.

By Justin LaMot

Live Shots: ERRA, Polyphia, Invent Animate at Amityville Music Hall

Invent, Animate
Invent, Animate

Long Island’s Amityville Music Hall could hardly contain the excitement on September 6th for ERRA’s headlining tour. For a cramped venue, it felt like a festival. The crowd was fueled with energy as fans pushed their way toward the stage, reaching for the mic to scream their favorite Invent, Animate lyrics. Lead vocalist Ben English put on one of the most powerful performances I have seen this year, sending chills down my spine and even making me yell the lyrics while taking these photos. Impressive and inspiring, Polyphia mellowed the crowd with their sweet progressive instrumentals. Yet the main attraction was of course ERRA who delivered massive force inside the small venue. The strength of vocalist Ian Eubanks’s screams sent everyone to the stage, while Jesse Cash’s cleans guided everyone to sing along before tearing everything apart in the pit.

Photos and text by Justin LaMot

Against Me! Play The Fillmore Silver Spring 06.21.15

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Photo by Abby LeNoir

Laura.

Laura.

Laura.

Laura.

Usually when you go to shows and the headliner walks off stage you hear people chanting “Encore!” or “One more song!”  But that’s not the case for the punk quartet Against Me! When you hear a packed club venue as large as The Fillmore Silver Spring screaming the first name of vocalist Laura Jane Grace in unison for minutes on end it’s not about over excitement for the face of a band, it’s about acceptance.

Walking out on stage with a black tank top that read in bold white letters “Gender Is Over,” Grace put her foot down to prove that everyone can be who they want to be and find a way to be accepted for it.  Not only was this proven in her total ownership of the stage, but in her mindbogglingly talented vocals as she opened with “I Was A Teenage Anarchist,” throwing the crowd into a frenzy as they packed on top of one another to get closer.

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FrnkIero andthe Cellabration; Photo by Abby LeNoir

Melding fan favorites such as “Thrash Unreal” and newer jams such as “Black Me Out,” Against Me! showed they are just as strong as ever, and still highly influential in the punk scene.  Because yes, as long as someone still wants to give punk a voice, punk will remain alive, and kids from all over the DC and Maryland area will flock to watch it take place.

Against Me! is fully aware of this, as they brought two of the most punk-influenced bands of today on tour with them. With the prog punk rockers that made up Annie Girl and The Flight and the New Jersey legend that is FrnkIero andthe Cellabration, the crowd erupted from the first chord of the night.  Annie Girl and The Flight displayed that sometimes being technical can translate well into the underground with tracks like “Bodies,” while Frank Iero and his crew created more of a basement show vibe with hits like “Weighted,” and the ever out of place but always fun, “Xmas Sux.”

Photo by Abby LeNoir
Photo by Abby LeNoir

When LJG and company arrived back on stage to perform their encore it wasn’t the acoustic jam sesh or three following songs that made the crowd ignite, but the collective look on the band’s beaming faces as they realized that music does still mean something to kids, whether they are the 15-year-old watching her first show on the sidelines or the 28-year-old going berserk all night in the pit.  Punk is clearly still alive, it comes in all shapes and forms, and it still has something to say, you just have to know where to look.

Alesana Play Webster Hall 04.09.15

Photo by Alexander Chan
Alesana; photo by Alexander Chan

Dear Capture The Crown, we’re glad you’re still alive.

But let’s start from the beginning. Alesana hit NYC’s Webster Hall on April 9th, almost a year to the day since the last time they played The Studio with Get Scared in 2014. Taking the larger Marlin Room upstairs this time with support from Capture The Crown, The Browning, Conquer Divide, and Revival Recordings mates The Funeral Portrait, the headliner’s cult status was never more obvious. Translation: Alesana don’t need space. No matter how many albums the sextet record, they will always be better suited to claustrophobic basement dens, partially because they’re such a niche band and because their live performance feeds off of the intimacy between artist and fan. Unfortunately, some indie folk band needed The Studio that night, so all the hardcore kids had to deal with awkwardly spacious mosh pits, which was essentially like popping a balloon with too much air.

Despite the yards of empty floor, openers The Funeral Portrait were able to get the crowd moving. In a peculiar but striking brand of showmanship, vocalist Lee Jennings fled the stage like he was wanted in four states before the last note could hold up a search warrant. But before making his hasty exit, Jennings hopped onto the floor to sing a chorus or two with the crowd and held “story time” with his “readers” on bended knee. While many bands in the scene like to put the audience on their knees to reinforce some sort of power dynamic (Asking Alexandria, BMTH, and *ahem* Capture The Crown), Jennings lowered himself alongside his audience to engage in the art of storytelling. We were all in on a fantasy, a secret, and I prefer that over bowing down to Your Royal Band-ness any day.

Alesana; photo by Natasha Van Duser
Alesana; photo by Natasha Van Duser

Conquer Divide came next, and while I’m thrilled about the idea of an all-girl post-hardcore band, the set fell flat. The songs were good enough, but the only two who had any semblance of stage presence were the unclean vocalist (Janel) and the drummer (Tamara). Here’s an example of a band that could afford to lord a little power over the crowd.

The Browning’s electronically infused metal was what really revved the fans into gear. Epic, danceable beats melded with As I Lay Dying-style vocals for killer, bouncy moshing–which isn’t as oxymoronic as it sounds. Maybe not everyone knew who The Browning were, but that didn’t stop them from partying and punching to each track. It was a set done with too soon.

Capture The Crown took the stage afterward. And if you think this is all happening a bit too quickly, you’re not wrong. Webster Hall was unnervingly punctual that night to a fault, imposing rapid set changes and even a 10pm curfew. The time restriction wasn’t the worst news of the night, however, as CTC bassist Maurice Morfaw announced that vocalist Jeffrey Wellfare wouldn’t be performing. In a dangerous turn of events, the band’s tour vehicle had put the members through some carbon monoxide poisoning, making vocal duties difficult for Wellfare (a name now slathered in irony). They brought on a friend to do replacement vocals; or rather, to pretend to do replacement vocals. The audio engineer essentially muted his mic and backtracked the vocals, which is disturbing on many levels for a live performance, but especially for a hardcore/metalcore show. After watching his band tank for two songs, Wellfare ran to the rescue and pushed past his initial coarseness to save the set. The old adage “the show must go on” held true, or how we at HXC like to phrase it, “STILL ALIVE!”

Finally, there are only so many ways to describe what it’s like to watch the frighteningly charismatic Alesana play live. The best way I can think to put it is this: When you watch Alesana live, you get the sense that you are watching modern day poets; artistry at its finest. They’re not just generic band dudes that win the crowd with ego. It is a much deeper, more transcendent experience than that. Like mad scientists in their laboratory, the band members laugh wide-eyed and maniacally, loving every minute of their intricately woven insanity. From creepy fan-favorite “The Murderer” to brand new “Oh, How The Mighty Have Fallen” to the reigning “Annabel”, Alesana filled the too-spacious room with passionate presence. Perhaps no one has ever hated curfew more. Until next year, boys. Same time same place? We’ll be there.