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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Lacuna Coil & All That Remains w/ Bad Omens, Toothgrinder, and Uncured | Disease of the Anima Tour | Photos + Review

Lacuna Coil and All That Remains Infest Los Angeles with the Disease of the Anima Tour

Venue: The Regent Theater on 10/1/19

When I saw that the all mighty Lacuna Coil was coming back to Los Angeles, I was ecstatic. And when I saw that they would be co-headlining with All That Remains and would have tour support from Bad Omens, Toothgrinder, and Uncured, I was beyond thrilled. This tour is stacked with bands I have been listening to and watching for quite some time. Lacuna Coil was one of the many bands I got into back when I was obsessed with guitar hero and rock band, as was All That Remains. It was definitely an exciting experience and one hell of a show!

First up was Uncured from New Jersey. I last saw this four-piece in May, when they opened the Chaos & Carnage Tour and set a high bar for the rest of the bands. They did even better this time around at The Regent. While they only played 5 songs, they truly banged those songs out. Uncured would be best described as Progressive Metal, with influences from metalcore, death metal, and deathcore. With such variety in their music, they have been able to mesh well with bands of many genres of metal. This four piece consists of co-lead vocalist and guitarist Zak Cox, co-lead vocalist and guitarist Rex Cox, drummer Liam Manley, and new bassist Micah Smith. They played an incredibly tight set that was honestly perfect from the moment they hit the stage to the moment they left the stage. They truly set a high bar for the rest of the bands to hit.

SETLIST

  1. Desecration (Outro only)
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Myopic
  4. Death Valley
  5. Blinded By Demise

The second band up was Toothgrinder from Asbury Park, New Jersey. I last saw this five-piece in March of 2018 when they opened for the all mighty Norma Jean. I would best describe them as Progressive Metal that mixes in metalcore and post-hardcore. They put on a super tight set, playing 5 songs that showcased at least 1 song from each of their 3-albums, including their 2019 release “I Am”, which was released via Spinefarm Records. Since the last time I saw the band, they seemed to have strengthened their aesthetic, all performing in suits. With dark yet colorful lighting, the mood was set perfectly for each of their songs. I was personally stoked when my favorite song from Toothgrinder, “Blue”, was played. The song is the perfect mixture of progressive metal and metalcore, and truly is what got me into the band from the start. The band consists of vocalist Justin Matthews, drummer Wills Weller, guitarists Jason Goss and Johnuel Hasney, and bassist Matt Arensdorf. The band was truly strong that night and blew away my expectations I had.

SETLIST

  1. The Chain (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  2. The Shadow
  3. I Am
  4. My Favorite Hurt
  5. Blue

Bad Omens from Richmond, Virginia was up next as direct support. I had just seen the band almost two months prior when they opened for Born of Osiris but was unfortunately let down that time due to their choice in setlist alongside the heavier bands they were touring with. This time around, the band played a much more evenly mixed set which meshed very well and worked so much better than the previous set of theirs. I’d best describe Bad Omens’ sound as a mixture between metalcore, post-hardcore, and alternative rock. All four of the members had a whole lot more energy radiating from them and the songs each flowed amazingly from one to the next in the set. They played a 9-song set, which was a perfect mixture of songs from their 2019 release “Finding God Before God Finds Me”, as well as their 2016 self-titled album “Bad Omens”, which were each released via Sumerian Records. I was super thrilled with their performance overall. The members consist of vocalist Noah Sebastian, guitarist Jolly Karlsson, bassist Nicholas Ruffilo, and drummer Nick Folio. Bad Omens was amazing this night and truly set the stage for Lacuna Coil and All That Remains to come and obliterate the stage.

SETLIST

  1. Mercy
  2. The Hell I Overcame
  3. Malice
  4. The Worst In Me
  5. Said & Done
  6. Exit Wounds
  7. Glass Houses
  8. Careful What You Wish For
  9. Burning Out

Lacuna Coil from Milan, Italy was up next as the first of the two co-headliners. In support of their new album “Black Anima” which was released in 2019 via Century Media Records, the band set out on their North American tour, their first time returning to the continent since their tour with Epica in 2017. They prepared an incredible set with 12-songs ranging from their entire discography. I was thoroughly impressed with how well their songs translated live, with co-vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro truly owning every inch of that stage. Guitarist Diego Cavalotti and bassist Marco Coti Zelati were also incredibly high energy, both sporting corpse paint and skeleton-like attire. Touring drummer Ryan Folden was also incredibly high energy, with lots of hair flips and energetic faces. I was especially excited when they played the song “The House of Shame”. It was truly the song in their discography that was a turning point to their darker and heavier sound their newest two albums have focused on. They continue to captivate the scene with their symphonic backing and gothic aesthetics. I was completely blown away by their set and I’m super happy I was finally able to see them after all of these years of listening to them.

SETLIST

  1. Blood, Tears, Dust
  2. Trip The Darkness
  3. Our Truth
  4. Spellbound
  5. Layers of Time
  6. Downfall
  7. Zombies
  8. My Demons
  9. The House of Shame
  10. Heaven’s a Lie
  11. Reckless
  12. Nothing Stands In Our Way

Finally to the stage came All That Remains from Springfield, Massachusetts. The band’s sound is a mixture of metalcore, heavy metal, and hard rock. This was my second time seeing the band this year, with my first time being in March when they did a co-headliner with Attila with support from Escape The Fate and Sleep Signals. I was thoroughly impressed with their set that day, but was surprised when they played even better this time around. Vocalist Philip Labonte had a true fire behind his’ vocals this night, which was perfectly matched by guitarists Jason Richardson and Mike Martin, bassist Aaron Patrick, and drummer Jason Costa. Their setlist this time around consisted of a whopping 15-songs, with songs spanning over 7 of their 9 records, including their newest record “Victim of the New Disease”, which was released in 2018 via Razor and Tie Records. What I truly love about this band is how consistent their music is. While having a mixture of styles in each song, their songs are always tight in terms of lyric quality and musicality. I was so excited to hear them play Chiron within the first 3 songs, as I was able to photograph them while they played it. Seeing Jason absolutely crush that guitar solo was mesmerizing. They truly demolished that stage and brought The Disease of the Anima tour to a beautiful end.

SETLIST

  1. This Calling
  2. Chiron
  3. This Probably Won’t End Well
  4. Hold On
  5. Just Tell Me Something
  6. The Last Time
  7. Fuck Love
  8. Blood I Spill
  9. Wasteland
  10. Madness
  11. Not Alone
  12. The Air I Breathe
  13. Six
  14. What If I Was Nothing
  15. Two Weeks

The Disease of the Anima Tour was truly stacked and amazing from start to finish. Each band brought a level of precision and talent that made this one of the best tours I’ve attended this year. All That Remains and Lacuna Coil both prepared amazing headlining sets and blew me away. Go listen to all of these bands and support! Can’t wait to see them all again when they come out here again on future tours!

All That RemainsLacuna Coil | Bad Omens | Toothgrinder | Uncured

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Blue Ridge Rock Fest Day 1 w/ A Day To Remember, The Convalescence, Beartooth, Of Mice & Men, Hinder, 10 Years,Cold, Soil, Flaw, A Feasting Beast, and Two Sides of Me

Blue Ridge Rock Festival Day 2

Two Sides of Me

A Feasting Beast

Flaw

Soil

Cold

10 Years

Hinder

Of Mice & Men

Beartooth

The Convalescence

A Day To Remember

A Day To Remember | The Convalescence | Beartooth | Of Mice & Men | Hinder | 10 Years | Cold | Soil | Flaw | A Feasting Beast | Two Sides of Me

Photos courtesy of Chyenne Conner| Instagram

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Papa Roach w/ Asking Alexandria and Bad Wolves | Who Do You Trust? USA Tour | Photos + Review

Papa Roach Trusts Hollywood To Close Out Their Who Do You Trust USA Tour

Venue: Hollywood Palladium on 8/31/19

Papa Roach has been a consistent band I have listened to throughout the years. Their song “Last Resort” is a staple in the Nu Metal genre and is iconic. When I saw the lineup for their “Who Do You Trust?” USA tour, I was thrilled. Asking Alexandria was the very first band I ever saw live back in 2011, and Bad Wolves’ debut 2018 album “Disobey” absolutely slays, so I knew this would be an amazing night.

First up was Bad Wolves from Los Angeles, CA. Before they even got on stage, the crowd was roaring as Josh Brolin, an actor best known by his’ recent role as Thanos in the Avengers franchise, came out to announce the band. When the band hit the stage, they were immediately on fire. The band opened with their song Learn To Live, which shows off their progressive metalcore roots, with djent style guitar riffs courtesy of guitarists Chris Cain and Doc Coyle, as well as a mixture of clean vocals and screams courtesy of vocalist Tommy Vext. But at the root of djent is the deep bass tones courtesy of Kyle Konkiel and odd time signatures courtesy of drummer John Boecklin. The band played a set that mixed their heavier riffy songs, with more radio rock friendly songs. The band played a total of 8 songs, finishing with their chart topping cover of The Cranberries’ “Zombie”, which they raised $250,000 towards the family of the late Dolores O’Riordan, who died on her way to record her vocal part on their cover. Their performance was filled with such vibrant energy. I was completely blown away by their performance, and they blew my expectations out of the water.

SETLIST

  1. Learn To Live
  2. No Masters
  3. Remember When
  4. Better The Devil
  5. I’ll Be There
  6. Hear Me Now
  7. Officer Down
  8. Zombie

Up next was Asking Alexandria from North Yorkshire, England. Coming on right after Bad Wolves with how tight and energetic they are would be tough for any band to do. For old fans of the band, hoping to hear the heavy metalcore stylings Asking Alexandria was once known for, unfortunately you will not be getting that here. I too have been a fan since their origins with a more metalcore and post-hardcore base, but the band has certainly transitioned to a more radio rock sound and style. They came out of the gate with their new single “The Violence”, which is pretty solid. While all of the other members were wearing normal attire, vocalist Danny Worsnop came out in a beige plaid suit and sun glasses, which definitely felt off. Besides that, the band played a variety of songs, most of which came from their 2017 self titled album “Asking Alexandria”, which was released via Sumerian Records. The only earlier song from the first two albums that the band played was “Someone Somewhere”, which they for some reason decided to play acoustically. The band relied on a lot of pyrotechnics to get through the performance, and while they were entertaining, they distracted from the actual set. The rest of the band consists of guitarists Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell, bassist Sam Bettley, and drummer James Cassells. Overall, they put on a solid set, however, compared to when I saw them back in 2011, they lacked the heart and emotion I once saw them provide on stage.

SETLIST

  1. The Violence
  2. Into The Fire
  3. Where Did It Go?
  4. Run Free
  5. The Death Of Me
  6. Vultures
  7. Someone, Somewhere
  8. Moving On
  9. Eve
  10. When The Lights Come On
  11. Alone In A Room