In Flames with Red and Arrival Of Autumn | Winter North American Tour | Photos + Review

In Flames Set The Observatory On Fire On Their Winter North American Tour

Venue: The Observatory Orange Country on 11/6/19

            In Flames has been a band on my radar for quite some time. I got into them later than most when their 2016 album “Battles” hit the shelves. I was stoked when their North American Tour was announced, as I had still never seen them live. Along with the band came support from Red and Arrival of Autumn, giving the evening a mixture of metalcore, post-hardcore, hard rock, and melodic death metal. This night was truly amazing.

First up was Arrival Of Autumn from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. This was my second time seeing and photographing these guys, the last time being a little over a month prior on the last date of their tour with Soulfly, Incite, and Prison. The band is the perfect mixture of metalcore and melodic death metal. Unfortunately, due to traffic, I was only able to photograph and catch the last song and a half of their set at The Observatory, but something that is evident about Arrival of Autumn is just how strong and together they are as a band. From their riff heavy instrumentals, courtesy of Ryan Sorensen and Brendan Anderson, to their thick basslines, thanks to Kevin Student, technical drumming from Ty Fox, and the mixture of a wide array of singing and screaming from vocalist Jamison Friesen, the band has a very strong sound that have blown me away both times I’ve seen them. The band played a 7-song set, most of which came from their debut 2019 release “Harbinger”, which was released via Nuclear Blast. Arrival Of Autumn is truly an amazing band and I cannot wait to catch their set again next time they’re in Southern California!

SETLIST

  1. Hurricane on the Horizon
  2. Witness
  3. Better Off Without
  4. The Endless
  5. Apocalyptic
  6. Old Bones / New Blood
  7. The Horror

Up next was Red from Nashville, Tennessee. This was my second time seeing these guys, with my last time being in March of 2018 when they co-headlined The Regent with Lacey Strum. I didn’t know much about them the first time I saw them but became a big fan after seeing them the first time. I now own every one of their six albums on physical copy and was happy with the songs they chose for their 9-song set. They mixed songs from their albums, along with songs from their 2019 EP “The Evening Hate”, which they released via The Fuel. I would best describe their sound as a mixture of Nu Metal, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, and Hard Rock. Their sound is dynamic, blending each of these songs into their diversified discography to perfection. When you go see Red live, the first thing you will realize is just how energetic vocalist Michael Barnes is, truly engaging with the crowd and owning every inch of the stage. Guitarist Anthony Armstrong, and twin brother and bassist Randy Armstrong own their sides of the stage with ease, slaying those guitars with ease. In the back of the stage, you’ll find drummer Dan Johnson drumming with force with his double bass drums on point. The band was a joy to see, and I especially liked them more now that I actually know the music they were playing. I cannot wait to see Red again in the future.

SETLIST

  1. Fight Inside
  2. Death of Me
  3. Confession (What’s Inside My Head)
  4. Let Go
  5. From The Ashes
  6. Already Over
  7. Feed The Machine
  8. The Evening Hate
  9. Breathe Into Me

In Flames from Gothenburg, Sweden finally hit the stage last. The band really went all out in terms of choosing their setlist, putting together 21-songs that showcased songs from ten of their thirteen albums. What blew me away was hearing the band’s change in sound over the span of their 30-year career as a band. Their musical style mixes together melodic death metal, metalcore, alternative metal, and heavy metal. The band played the perfect mix of the heavy, with some of their more melodic songs, to make both old school fans and newer fans alike very happy. Of the 21 songs they played, 6 of those songs came from their newest album “I, The Mask”, which was released in 2019 via Eleven Seven Records in North America, and via Nuclear Blast throughout the rest of the world. One element to the band’s sound that is iconic when many think of melodic death metal is their heavy use of guitar solos and dueling guitar parts, courtesy of Björn Gelotte and Chris Broderick. Both Gelotte and Broderick had great stage presence and interacted a lot with the crowd. The band’s older sound was strictly melodic death metal, but as time went on, vocalist Anders Fridén started incorporating more clean vocals, which truly helped bring the band in a different direction. Fridén told jokes between the band’s songs and was very active on stage. Bassist Bryce Paul headbanged like crazy and was also very big on crowd participation while he slammed out those bass notes. Drummer Tanner Wayne closes out the band’s lineup, playing an intricate drum patterns with ease. Wayne was previously in post-hardcore bands Chiodos and Scary Kids Scaring Kids but has since joined the metal greats of In Flames and helped them create “I, The Mask”, which has truly become my favorite record from the band to date. Just like their live set, the new record mixes together elements from melodic death metal with elements from metalcore, alternative metal, and heavy metal. They played a truly amazing set that left a lasting impression on me. I cannot wait to see them next time they come out to Southern California!

SETLIST

  1. Cloud Connected
  2. Only for the Weak
  3. Take This Life
  4. Clay Man
  5. Where the Dead Ships Dwell
  6. Call My Name
  7. Behind Space
  8. Follow Me
  9. Monsters in the Ballroom
  10. All for Me
  11. (This Is Our) House
  12. The Hive
  13. Wallflower
  14. Here Until Forever
  15. Burn
  16. Voices
  17. Everything’s Gone
  18. Colony
  19. The Truth
  20. I Am Above
  21. The End

The Winter North American Tour was an amazing spectacle to attend. I was finally able to see In Flames, who completely obliterated my expectations out of the water. It was great to see Red again, who were insane at this show and tore that stage up. And it was great to see my new friends in Arrival Of Autumn tear up that stage again, even though I was only able to catch a couple of songs. Truly an amazing night!

In Flames | Red | Arrival Of Autumn

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Blessthefall & Escape The Fate w/ Islander | This War Is Ours To Witness Tour | Photos + Review

Blessthefall & Escape The Fate Close Out Their “This War Is Ours To Witness” Tour in Southern California

Venue: The Glass House on 10/10/19

When I think of the two albums that influenced my musical taste the most, it would have to be Escape the Fate’s “This War Is Ours” and Blessthefall’s “Witness”. When they announced that both bands would be doing a co-headlining 10-year anniversary tour, where they would each play said albums from start to finish, plus additional songs, I was ecstatic! Along with these two bands was Islander, who is on the same record label as Escape the Fate. This was a stellar tour!

First up was Islander from Greenville, South Carolina. If I could describe Islander’s sound, it would be a mixture of nu metal, alternative metal, and rap metal. I last saw the band in June of 2018 when they were direct support for Butcher Babies & Nonpoint on the Kings & Queens Co-Headlining Tour. This time around, I feel like the band was fully realized. They were off the walls in terms of energy and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their on-stage antics. From vocalist Mikey Carvajal bringing a flatbed cart and riding it across stage, to guitarist Eric Pedersen sitting down mid-song to eat a sandwich, the band is insanely entertaining live and were the perfect way to open this show up. The other two members of this four-piece are keyboardist Chris Carvajal and drummer Michael McClellan. The band was truly entertaining and set the stage for the co-headliners to come.

SETLIST

  1. Lucky Rabbit
  2. Green Slime Man
  3. Counteract
  4. Darkness
  5. Cold Speak
  6. My Friends
  7. Coconut Dracula

The first of the co-headliners was Escape the Fate from Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, before I go on, I must say that I’ve seen this band 10 or 11 times now, so having seen them so many times, I hold their performances to a certain standard. Unfortunately, their performance this night was a bit lower energy than usual, but they still did pretty damn well. This was my second time seeing the band play through “This War Is Ours” in its entirety, as they did a special anniversary show at the Whisky A Go-Go in December. At that show, they brought their own lighting and had some special merch for the event. However, for the full U.S. run, they only used house lighting and used merch from previous album cycles, with limited options of newer merch. As for their stage performance, Craig Mabbitt obviously had the shining stage performance in the band, with touring bassist Erik Jansen coming in at a close second. The rest of the band seemed like they were kind of just going through the motions, and overall, I just wasn’t wowed like I have been seeing their shows in the past. To be fair, the band was under the weather, so taking that into consideration, they played a solid set. The full lineup for Escape the Fate consists of vocalist Craig Mabbitt, guitarists Kevin Thrasher and TJ Bell, drummer Robert Ortiz, and bassist Erik Jansen. The band played a solid set but were upstaged once Blessthefall hit the stage next.

SETLIST

  1. We Won’t Back Down
  2. On To The Next One
  3. Ashley
  4. Something
  5. The Flood
  6. Let It Go
  7. You Are So Beautiful
  8. This War Is Ours (The Guillotine II)
  9. 10 Miles Wide
  10. Harder Than You Know
  11. It’s Just Me
  12. Do You Love Me
  13. Empire
  14. Broken Heart
  15. Gorgeous Nightmare
  16. One For The Money

Finally came Blessthefall from Phoenix, Arizona. Now of the two co-headliners, Blessthefall was by far more prepared and slayed the stage hard. The band brought a lot of lighting and special anniversary tour merch, which was what I’d expect from a 10-year anniversary tour for such an iconic album in the band’s discography. The band was extremely high energy, which is very consistent of the band. Just like Escape the Fate, I have seen them 10 or 11 times, and they always find a way to blow me away. Hearing the album that helped me get into metalcore being played in its entirety was absolutely mind blowing. Along with them playing the full “Witness” album, the band played 5 other songs, 3 of which came from 2018’s “Hard Feelings” and 2 from 2013’s “Hollow Bodies”. The band’s additional setlist was perfect and made their set truly one of the best I’ve ever seen them play live. Vocalist Beau Boken is always a joy to capture live, as he is so lively and is great at controlling the crowd. Guitarists Eric Lambert and Elliot Gruenberg were very lively and slayed those guitar parts. Bassist and screaming vocalist Jared Warth absolutely demolished the stage with his strong vocals and basslines. Touring drummer Conor White held down the fort and played previous drummer Matt Traynor’s parts to a t, while incorporating perfectly timed drum fills. Blessthefall stood out on this tour and ended the night by smashing out an amazing set.

SETLIST

  1. 2.0
  2. What’s Left Of Me
  3. To Hell and Back
  4. God Wears Gucci
  5. Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted
  6. Witness
  7. Last Ones Left
  8. Five Ninety
  9. We’ll Sleep When We’re Dead
  10. Skinwalkers
  11. You Deserve Nothing And I Hope You Get Less
  12. Stay Still
  13. Wishful Sinking
  14. Cutthroat
  15. Hollow Bodies
  16. You Wear A Crown But You Are No King

ENCORE

17. Sleepless In Phoenix

The This War Is Ours To Witness Tour was a truly special night with two influential bands celebrating the 10-year anniversaries of some of the most impactful albums of the late 2000s. I am truly grateful that I was able to attend and witness this beautiful celebratory concert.

Blessthefall | Escape The Fate | Islander

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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