Amon Amarth ft At The Gates, Arch Enemy & Grand Magus | Berserker World Tour 2019

Grand Magus | Arch Enemy | At The Gates | Amon Amarth

Photos courtesy of Laura Lateralus | Instagram

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Stand Atlantic & The Faim Tour 2019 ft Hold Close & WSTR

Hold Close

 WSTR

The Faim

 Stand Atlantic

Photos courtesy of Angel Haines

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Erra & Northlane w/ Currents and Crystal Lake | Neon Alien Tour | Photos + Review

Erra and Northlane Invade Anaheim, CA and Bring Forth The Neon Alien Tour

Venue: Chain Reaction on 9/14/19

When this insane tour was announced, I was thoroughly excited. I am a big fan of Erra as a band, with their style mixing progressive metal with metalcore and post hardcore, which is why I am similarly a fan of Northlane. Knowing these two bands would be co-headlining was nuts. Supporting these two bands were Currents and Crystal lake, two amazing bands who also slay it on stage. This show ranked as one of the best I’ve been to this year so far.

First up was Crystal Lake from Tokyo, Japan. The best way I could describe Crystal Lake is progressive metalcore mixed with metalcore and nu-metal. Although their albums sometimes have clean vocals, the band played a heavier set for this tour. They played seven songs in their 25-minute set, 5 of which came from their newest album “Helix”, which was released in 2019 via SharpTone Records. I have had the opportunity to see Crystal Lake twice this year and they were absolutely insane both times. Their stage energy is absolutely nuts, with vocalist Ryo Kinoshita full on running and jumping into the crowd. The rest of this five-piece consists of guitarists Yudai Miyamoto and Shinya Hori, drummer Gaku Taura, and bassist Bitoku Sakamoto. Major props to Gaku for holding down the fort on drums and playing some of the fastest drum parts I’ve ever heard, which is especially showcased in the band’s song Aeon. Crystal Lake delivers a truly stellar performance each time I see them and sound even better live than on record.

SETLIST

  1. Hail to the Fire
  2. Six Feet Under
  3. Machina
  4. Helix
  5. Aeon
  6. Lost In Forever
  7. Apollo

Next up was Currents from Connecticut. The best way I could describe Currents is a mixture of metalcore and progressive metal. But their sound is diverse enough for them to even tour with a few deathcore lineups in the past as well. This was my fourth time seeing these guys and they certainly did not disappoint. The band played a mixture of songs from their 2017 release “The Place I Feel Safest” and their 2018 release “I Let The Devil In EP”, which were both released via SharpTone Records. The band played a total of 6-songs, showcasing the diversity in their sound. With more melodic songs like Weathered, to heavier songs like Apnea and In Despair, Currents proved just how much of a force they are in the scene as an up and coming band. This five-piece consists of vocalist Brian Wille, lead guitarist Chris Wiseman, bassist Christian Pulgarin, rhythm guitarist Ryan Castaldi, and drummer Matt Young. This band has grown a lot in the short two-year span since I first saw them, and I cannot wait to see them again next time they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Into Despair
  2. Apnea
  3. The Rope
  4. Withered
  5. Forever Marked
  6. Night Terrors

Next up was the first of the two co-headliners, that being Erra from Birmingham, Alabama. This band has been one of my favorites since I heard their 2016 album “Drift”, which was released via Sumerian Records. For their co-headliner, the band had programmed lighting for the first time and prepared a mixed set that showcased a lot of songs from 2018’s “Neon” and 2016’s “Drift”, as well as showcasing a couple songs from the band’s older records and even played their newest single “Eye of God”. They put together a truly incredible set, with songs rooted in deep emotion and issues ranging from depression, loss, and mourning. Erra has a deep part of my heart, as they were the first band that shared one of my photos back in the day before I even considered doing this for a living. It meant the world to me and to this day I am forever grateful for this band to give me the motivation to continue forth. Erra’s stage presence is dynamic, with intricate and dynamic lighting matching the complex guitar parts and rhythm patterns the band is very well known for. JT Cavey is the ultimate frontman, engaging the crowd with his intense vocal abilities you can tell are rooted in the deep emotions of the songs. The rest of this five-piece consists of guitarist and clean vocalist Jesse Cash, guitarist Sean Price, drummer Alex Ballew, and bassist Conor Hesse. Their set was incredible, but insanely hot in the room; So hot in fact that vocalist JT had to run off the stage midset to catch his’ breath due to the intense heat. Erra made this show truly surreal for me, and I highly recommend listening to their music and seeing them at a show near you!

SETLIST

  1. Irreversible
  2. Dreamcatcher
  3. Ghost of Nothing
  4. Drift
  5. Orchid
  6. Luminesce
  7. Eye of God
  8. Breach
  9. Monolith
  10. Dementia
  11. Hybrid Earth
  12. Skyline

Finally, Northlane from Sydney, Australia came to the stage. This five-piece is best described as a mixture between progressive metal, metalcore, and nu-metal. This was the band’s first time touring North America since their tour with Architects (UK) in 2016, and they surely did not disappoint this time around. Their setlist mostly consisted of songs from their newest album “Alien” which was released in 2019 via UNFD Records, as well as songs from their 2017 album “Mesmer”, their 2015 album “Node”, as well as a couple of songs from their first two albums “Singularity” and “Discoveries”. The band came out swinging with “Talking Heads”. From the moment they hit the stage, the crowd was going nuts, with the entire crowd turning into a mosh pit with the addition of crowdsurfers galore. The heat that had been accumulating in the room rose even further during their set. Being practically a sauna in the room, the band continued on with their 13-song set, which blew me away. They are musically talented, and their stage presence was stellar as well. Using the same lighting set up as Erra, the programmed lighting worked perfectly to convey the atmosphere of the songs. This five-piece consists of vocalist Marcus Bridge, guitarist and programmer Jonathon Deiley, guitarist Josh Smith, drummer Nic Petterson, and bassist Brendon Padjasek. Northlane put on a stellar set and closed out the night of performances brilliantly.

SETLIST

  1. Talking Heads
  2. Intuition
  3. Details Matter
  4. Obelisk
  5. Rot
  6. Bloodline
  7. 4D
  8. Freefall
  9. Vultures
  10. Eclipse
  11. Citizen

ENCORE

  1. Dispossession
  2. Quantum Flux

The Neon Alien Tour was amazing from the moment Crystal Lake entered the stage to the moment Northlane finished their set. This mixture of bands was honestly perfect and kept the night of music flowing amazingly. Erra especially put on an amazing set and was the highlight of the night for me. Make sure to check out each of these bands out when they play a city near you!

Northlane | Erra | Currents | Crystal Lake

Photos + Review Courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Jinjer w/ The Browning and Sumo Cyco | Fall North American Tour | Photos + Review

Jinjer Sells Out The Legendary Whisky A Go-Go On Their First North American Headlining Tour

Venue: Whisky A Go-Go on 9/12/19

Since I found out about Jinjer a year and a half ago, they have quickly become one of my favorite bands in the scene. Their music perfectly blends together progressive metal with metalcore, with slight elements of technical death metal as well. With their breakthrough song “Pisces” from their 2016 album “King of Everything”, which was released via Napalm Records, the band quickly took off like a storm, selling out venues worldwide. After touring North America twice before as direct support for Cradle of Filth and then DevilDriver. For their first ever North American Headlining Tour, they embarked on a 2-month long tour spanning across the United States and Canada with support from The Browning and Sumo Cyco. With such a stacked lineup, this tour proved to be one of the best this year thus far. This date in particular sold out 3 months prior, so it was bound to be a truly insane show!

First up to hit the stage was Sumo Cyco from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I previously saw Sumo Cyco when they toured in 2018 with Butcher Babies, Nonpoint, and Islander, but they were even better this second time around than before. Sumo Cyco is a mixture of alternative metal, punk rock, and post-hardcore. The band was truly on fire, with vocalist Skye Sweetnam truly being a hype woman and getting the crowd going nuts. From jumping into the crowd and getting the first moshpit of the night started, to jumping around like crazy, Skye really has a powerful stage presence, which is matched perfectly by guitarist Matt Drake, drummer Matt Trozzi, and bassist Oscar Anesetti. The band is fully independent and have raised money for recordings through crowd funding. They have two albums so far with a third on the way. They played songs from both their 2014 album “Lost in Cyco City” as well as songs from their 2017 album “Opus Mar”. They all together played an eight-song set and played new single “Run With The Giants” as well as a System of a Down cover of “B.Y.O.B.” which got the crowd going completely nuts. Sumo Cyco is truly a ton of fun to see live with their wild stage presence. Make sure to get there early to check out their set!

SETLIST

  1. The Ugly
  2. Undefeated
  3. Free Yourself
  4. Sleep Tight
  5. Y.O.B.
  6. Run With The Giants
  7. Love You Wrong
  8. Move Mountains

Up next as direct support was The Browning from Kansas City, Missouri. The Browning’s sound is very unique in the scene, blending together metalcore, deathcore, and EDM. Typically categorized by some as electronicore, I categorize the band as one thing: stellar. This was my second time seeing these guys this year alone and they did not disappoint. They set the stage with dark lighting and smoke machines and obliterated that stage with a ten-song set that showcased songs from their 2018 album “Geist”, which was released via Spinefarm Records, as well as three songs from their 2016 album “Isolation”. I personally love hearing their song “Carnage”, as it perfectly blends together metalcore with EDM and even has a slight trap influence in a section of the song. This four-piece consists of vocalist Jonny McBee, guitarist Brian Moore, drummer Cody Stewart, and bassist and clean vocalist Collin Woroniak. When you go see The Browning, get ready for a party that’ll consist of headbangs, moshing, and lots of jumping. This band honestly deserves more recognition than they get so go give them some love when they play near you!

SETLIST

  1. Beyond Stone
  2. Final Breath
  3. Carnage
  4. Pure Evil
  5. Disconnect
  6. Awaken The Omega
  7. Optophobia
  8. Dragon
  9. Skybreaker
  10. Geist

Finally up to the stage came Jinjer from Donetsk, Ukraine. This four piece went all out for their first North American Headlining Tour, bringing a full on lighting rig with them and preparing a whopping 15-song set, which covered songs from 2016’s “King of Everything”, 2014’s “Cloud Factory”, which was reissued in 2018 via Napalm Records, 2019’s “Micro EP”, and even a couple of brand new songs from their upcoming full length album “Macro”, which will be released in October via Napalm Records. They came out swinging with songs “Teacher, Teacher” and “Sit Stay Roll Over”, two of the bands heavier tracks that truly got the mosh pit moving like crazy. The band has incredible stage presence and sound identical live as they do on record. The key to the band’s incredible stage presence is vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk, who has impeccable crowd control and demands that stage with ease. Bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov also have incredible stage presence, with head bangs and grooves perfectly in sync with the music and Tatiana alike. Holding down the tightness and togetherness of the music is drummer Vladislav Ulasevich, who’s drumming skills are a stand out and keep the songs interesting with constantly changing time signatures and fast parts that are prominent in progressive metal and metalcore alike. If it seemed the set couldn’t get any better, the band came out for their encore with their most popular song “Pisces”, which at the time of writing this review is sitting at 26 million views on YouTube on their music video. Jinjer is a force to be reckoned with and are continuing to slay the game.

SETLIST

  1. Teacher, Teacher
  2. Sit Stay Roll Over
  3. Ape
  4. Judgement (& Punishment)
  5. I Speak Astronomy
  6. Dreadful Moments
  7. Who’s Gonna Be The One
  8. Retrospection
  9. Perennial
  10. Captain Clock
  11. Bad Water
  12. Outlander
  13. No Hoard Of Value
  14. Cloud Factory

ENCORE

  1. Pisces

Jinjer’s Fall North American Tour was perfection from the moment Sumo Cyco hit the stage til Jinjer finished their set. The lineup featured a variety of styles. Sumo Cyco slayed, The Browning turned the crowd into a moshing dance party, and Jinjer demolished the stage with grace and force. This is definitely a tour to check out when it comes to a venue near you!

Jinjer | The Browning | Sumo Cyco

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Black Label Society w/ The Black Dahlia Murder and Alien Weaponry | Fall North American Tour 2019 | Photos + Review

Black Label Society Starts Their North American Tour in Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater on 9/11/19

With 10 studio albums and millions of fans, it was a pleasant surprise to see Los Angeles founded band Black Label Society to choose The Majestic Ventura Theater to not only be the sole California date for their North American Tour, but they scheduled it to be the very first date of the tour. Many fans lined the street waiting for doors for this nearly sold out show to open. Along with them as support was The Black Dahlia Murder and Alien Weaponry. With all three bands bringing different styles of metal to the stage, this show was amazing from start to finish.

The first band up was Alien Weaponry from Waipu, New Zealand. I did not know what to think of Alien Weaponry prior to the show, as I had not heard them before. But man did they start the show off on a high mark. This three-piece band mixes together thrash metal and groove metal, bringing the perfect blend of melody and chaos. The band consists of brothers Lewis de Jong and Henry de Jong, with Lewis on vocals and guitar and Henry on drums, as well as touring bassist Bobby Oblak. The band played a five-song set, four of which came from their 2018 release “Tu”, which was released via Napalm Records, and their 2019 single Ahi Ka. I was blown away by the amount of energy this three-piece had, headbanging and shredding like crazy. Definitely make sure to get there early to see these guys!

SETLIST

  1. Holding My Breath
  2. Ahi Ka
  3. Kai Tangata
  4. Raupatu
  5. Ru Ana Te Whenua

Next band to obliterate the stage came The Black Dahlia Murder from Waterford, Michigan. In all honesty, The Black Dahlia Murder is the main reason I went to the show and wanted to photograph. Their genre bending music that blends together melodic death metal with elements from metalcore and death metal is perfection. This was my third time seeing these guys and they always deliver. They opened with “Widowmaker” and “Jars”, two of the most popular songs from the band’s 2017 album “Nightbringers”, which they released via Metal Blade Records. I personally always love when they play “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse” from their 2007 album “Nocturnal”, as that was the song that got me into them when I found it on the Rock Band Downloadable Store back in the day. This band truly slays on stage and truly gets the crowd going wild from the moment the first note hits. This five-piece consists of vocalist Trevor Strnad, rhythm guitarist Brian Eschbach, bassist Max Lavelle, drummer Alan Cassidy, and lead guitarist Brandon Ellis. From a photographer’s stand point, this band is truly fun to photograph, as they are constantly moving and have such a vibrant stage presence. Their lighting they brought added to the experience as both a concert goer and a photographer. I thoroughly enjoy seeing The Black Dahlia Murder every time I get the chance and definitely recommend checking them out when they hit a city near you!

SETLIST

  1. Widowmaker
  2. Jars
  3. Contagion
  4. What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse
  5. Statutory Ape
  6. Nightbringers
  7. As Good As Dead
  8. Kings of the Nightworld
  9. Everything Went Black

Finally, Los Angeles natives Black Label Society hit the stage. I will say, I was surprised the band took over an hour after The Black Dahlia Murder got off stage to finally set up, but when they did, the venue lit up like a firework. With bright lights and a wall of speakers behind them, Black Label Society tore the roof off the building. This four-piece has legendary heavy metal guitarist Zakk Wylde, who used to be the guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, as their front man doing lead vocals and lead guitar. The rest of the band consists of bassist John DeServio, rhythm guitarist Dario Lorina, and drummer Jeff Fab. The band played a whopping seventeen-song set, playing songs from seven of their ten albums: five songs from 1999’s “Sonic Brew”, three from 2018’s “Grimmest Hits”, three songs from 2003’s “The Blessed Hellride”, one song from 2001’s “1919 Eternal”, 2014’s “Catacombs of the Black Vatican”, and one song from 2006’s “Shot To Hell”. The band showcased a wide variety in styles throughout the songs, blending together heavy metal, groove metal, and good ole fashioned biker metal. They were truly a blast to see and I’m glad I finally got to photograph the legendary Zakk Wylde.

SETLIST

  1. Genocide Junkies
  2. Funeral Bell
  3. The Beginning… At Last
  4. The Rose Petalled Garden
  5. Heart of Darkness
  6. Suicide Messiah
  7. Trampled Down Below
  8. Seasons of Falter
  9. Peddlers of Death
  10. Spoke In The Wheel
  11. In This River
  12. The Blessed Hellride
  13. Bored To Tears
  14. A Love Unreal
  15. Fire It Up
  16. Concrete Jungle
  17. Stillborne

Black Label Society’s North American Tour meshed together 3 different styles of metal, which made for an entertaining show. Alien Weaponry was a stellar opener, The Black Dahlia Murder obliterated the stage as the direct support, and Black Label Society took it home. I will say that The Black Dahlia Murder truly stole the show with their phenomenal performance, but the whole show as a whole was incredibly entertaining and a thrill to experience!

Black Label Society | The Black Dahlia Murder | Alien Weaponry

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Free Throw ft Chris Farren, Youth Fountain & Macseal | Fall 2019 Tour

I’ve heard a lot about Free Throw over the past couple of years through the albums they’ve released and tours they’ve been apart of, but really became a fan of them this year when they released their third album, “What’s Past Is Prologue.” The band began a headlining tour in support of this record, with support from Chris Farren, Youth Fountain and Macseal, which I attended the Denver date of.

Macseal kicked off the night. The emo/alternative quartet played songs that spanned their discography as a band so far, from playing “Cats” and “5:45 AM (Not Fun)” from their 2015 self-titled debut EP, to “Harry” and “Next To You” from their 2017 release “Yeah, No, I Know,” and “Golden Hour” and “Sure, Thing Shelly” (which was a great choice to open the set with) from their most recent EP to date, 2018’s “Map It Out.” Their set also included music from their upcoming debut LP, “Super Enthusiast,” – the lead single “Always Hazy,” and another new song from the record. Macseal put on a very fun and energetic set and started off the show very well.

Speaking of energy, that’s easily a word I’d use to describe the set from the next band, Youth Fountain. The Canadian pop punk band played several songs from their recently released debut album, “Letters To Our Former Selves,” an album that has also quickly become one of my favorites of this year so far. I love the band’s more emotional and slightly aggressive take on pop punk, and that all shows even more through their incredible live show. From the set opener (Rose Coloured Glass) to the song that not only closed out their set, but also closes out their album (“Blooms”) and the many songs in between (“Letters To Our Former Selves,” “Complacent,” “Worried,” “Moody,” “Deadlocked,” and “Grinding Teeth”), the crowd was singing and shouting along with them, bringing as much energy and passion as the band did throughout the entire set.

 

Next up was Chris Farren, who’s been releasing music under his own name for a few years now. He opened with the very catchy “Search 4 Me,” one of two singles that he’s released so far from his upcoming record, “Born Hot.” (The other single of the two is “Surrender,” which he played later on in the set). He also played a lot of previous material, including the singles “Where U Are” and “The Way That I Love U Has Changed,” and three songs from his sophomore album “Can’t Die” – “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Human Being,” and “Say You Want Me.”

Closing out the night was Free Throw. Throughout their hour long set, they played eleven songs, also spanning from throughout their entire discography, including a handful of tracks from “What’s Past Is Prologue” (“The Corner’s Dilemma,” “Tail Whip, Struggle,” “You Don’t Say That” and the title track), as well as some older favorites, such as “Better Have Burn Heal” and “Randy, I Am The Liquor” from their sophomore album “Bear Your Mind,” and “Tongue Tied,” “Two Beers In,” and “Good Job, Champ,” from their debut LP, “These Days Are Gone.” With each song they played, the band brought so much energy and so much emotion, putting on a great live show overall.