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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Blessthefall w/ Slaves and Glass Houses | Hard Feelings Spring Tour | Photos + Review

Blessthefall Brings Out the Hard Feelings in Anaheim

Venue: Chain Reaction on 6/8/19

Blessthefall is one of those bands I must see whenever they come out on tour. They were one of the first three bands I got into in the scene in 2008, with Escape the Fate and The Used being the first two. With their Hard Feelings Spring Tour, Blessthefall brought along with them Palisades, Slaves, and Glass Houses. Unfortunately, Palisades had to drop from the last third of the tour, as they had prior commitments out of country. But, the tour continued on and the remaining three bands came through and slayed the stage at Chain Reaction.

The first band was Glass Houses from Fargo, ND. The band came in swinging from the start of their set to the end. They played 6-songs, 5 of which came from their debut 2016 album “Wellspring”, as well as their new single “Lost Choices”. They are a perfect blend of metalcore and post-hardcore. This five-piece consists of vocalist Joshua Haider, guitarists Robert Whiteside and Tanner Leier, bassist Mark Sands, and drummer Lucas Chayne. Josh spoke about depression and the toll it can have on the psyche, which has been a common theme being brought up lately. It makes me happy to see more people talking about it so openly. Their lyrical content dives deeper into the concept of depression and coping, and you can feel the passion and drive through every instrument and lyric. I was thoroughly impressed by Glass Houses and will certainly be seeing them again when they return to California next!

Up next came Slaves from Sacramento, CA. This band has gone through a lot of struggles throughout their time, but they continue to use that pain to drive and catapult them to new heights. With many lineup changes, with the most notable being the loss of their vocalist and founding member Jonny Craig, the band had to move forward. They currently have Matt McAndrew, who was a finalist on the voice. Matt brought new renditions of the Slaves’ songs, which was cool to hear. The rest of the current lineup consists of bassist Collin Vieira, guitarists Weston Richmond and Felipe Sanchez, and drummer Zack Baker. The band played 7-songs, all from their 2018 record “The Beautiful Death”, which was released via SBG Records with critical acclaim. I was thoroughly impressed with their performance and recommend seeing Slaves when you get the chance.

SETLIST

  1. I’d Rather See Your Star Explode
  2. Back To The Roots
  3. Petty Trappin
  4. True Colors
  5. Warning From My Demons
  6. Patience Is The Virtue
  7. I Know A Lot of Artists

The final band up was the all mighty Blessthefall from Phoenix, Arizona. For this tour, the band prepared a 16-song set, with songs from every album from 2008’s Witness and beyond. The crowd was going nuts, especially when fan favorite songs like “Cutthroat”, “To Hell and Back”, “You Wear A Crown But You Are No King” and “Wishful Sinking Were Played”. The band always has a continuous amount of energy, which is catapulted by vocalist Beau Boken’s showmanship. Beau loves to make you wet and soaks the crowd with water throughout the whole set. The room became a hot and sweaty cesspool and everyone from members of the band to almost everyone in the crowd were covered in water by the end of the show. Blessthefall knows how to get the crowd hyped and sound identical on album as they do live, which is such a beautiful thing to see. I cannot recommend this band enough and will keep seeing them every time they come out to California on a tour.

SETLIST

  1. Wishful Sinking
  2. Cutthroat
  3. Hollow Bodies
  4. Youngbloods
  5. 0
  6. What’s Left Of Me
  7. Melodramatic
  8. Up In Flames
  9. Dead Air
  10. Sleepless In Phoenix
  11. 40 Days…
  12. To Hell and Back
  13. You Wear A Crown But You Are No King
  14. Sakura Blues
  15. Welcome Home

ENCORE

  1. Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted

The Hard Feelings Spring Tour was a masterpiece with a trio of bands that meshed beautifully together. Glass Houses were such a kickass way to start out the show, and Slaves fit perfectly as the night’s next act, and Blessthefall took the roof off the venue. If you ever get a chance to see a Blessthefall tour, be prepared for one hot and wild show filled with lots of energy and lots of water.

Blessthefall | Slaves | Glass Houses

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Icon For Hire – Turn Your Pain Into Art Tour 2/23/18

When a band uses all their might to push forward and promote self-acceptance and love, I am all for it. For the powerhouse band Icon For Hire, this was my exact feeling. Coming from having to declare bankruptcy, due to a bad record deal, to now being independent and being able to play over several countries, this band has impressed me a lot. With Makeout on the tour with them, I knew this would be quite a night.

Although there were two locals that night, the night truly didn’t start for me until Makeout hit the stage. These four gents surely awoke the crowd, bringing good vibes of pop punk and pop rock throughout the venue. Playing a 7-song set, all coming from their debut album “The Good Life”, released via Rise Records in 2017, these dudes turned it out. I am so glad I was able to buy a cd and have them sign it as well.

As I said before, I’m a big Icon For Hire fan. In fact, when they did the go fund me for their newest album, both my Dad and I pitched in a sum of about $30 to make sure they had our support. They wound up raising $126,000 from that. Their newest tour is named after the lead singer Ariel Bloomer’s new book titled Turn Your Pain Into Art. The book is all about her experiences of her journey from being an insecure individual into a grown woman with self-confidence and poise. Their set list did just this as well. They played songs from each album and threw a few covers in there as well. The order of the songs was strategic, as they went from that dark place and gradually became more upbeat and happy. I was so happy to be able to go see one of my all-time favorites once again and I hope to see them again soon.

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Review courtesy of  Jamie Kaufman

** photos to follow **