Atreyu w/ Whitechapel, He Is Legend, Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz | 20th Anniversary Tour | Photos + Review

Atreyu Closes Out Their 20th Anniversary Celebration In Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, CA on 11/20/19

When a band hits a milestone in their career, it’s a big deal. From hitting 1 year as a band, to selling out a show, each of these milestones for bands has sentimental value in their growth. Atreyu hit twenty years of being a band, which is huge considering the many bands in their cohort of metal that have come and gone since they started. While it seemed the band would be done after 2010, the band came back in 2014 stronger than ever, continuing with the momentum they had before and then some! With seven albums under their belt, the band let the fans vote on their setlist, which showcased songs from each record. Atreyu brought along with them an interesting mix of bands. With Whitechapel as direct support bringing the deathcore, He Is Legend bringing their southern influenced Mathcore, Tempting Fate bringing the post hardcore, and Santa Cruz throwing it back with some glam rock to the table, this tour was a blend of bands that were different from one another and kept the show truly interesting. Those of us in attendance at this final date of the tour has a wonderful time!

First up was Santa Cruz from Helsinki, Finland. Opening the show up, the band brought out a flare completely different than any other band on the lineup. Their sound is a mixture of glam metal, heavy metal, hard rock, and has some elements of post hardcore mixed in. As the oddballs on the tour, they really hyped the crowd up with energy, especially frontman and founding member Archie Cruz, who shredded to his’ hearts content center stage and captivated the audience with his vocal abilities reminiscent of hair metal from the 80s. The band’s touring guitarist Joe Perez was on point, shredding both the rhythm and lead parts when he and Archie switched off, with incredible stage presence and lots of hairflipping action. On stage left, you’ll find the band’s bassist Eemi Lamberg, who played his basslines with precision and class, while also giving lots of windmills and high energy. Closing out the band’s lineup is drummer Tuomas Lehtonen, who did backup vocals along with his fast and intense drum playing. Throughout the band’s six-song set, you could feel the energy thriving on the stage. I wasn’t able to meet the band, as they took their merch away shortly after they played, but they slayed their set and executed their performance brilliantly. It was a great way to start out the show!

SETLIST

  1. Changing Of Seasons
  2. Bang Bang (My Worst Enemy)
  3. True Believer
  4. We Are The Ones To Fall
  5. Wasted & Wounded
  6. Aiming High

Up next was Tempting Fate from Los Angeles, CA. This band sits on the borderline of post-hardcore and metalcore, while also blending in some nu metal influences, shown especially in their song “Sik”. As an independent band, they have released two EPs and one full length record, which they incorporated songs from each release into their eight-song set. The band has an interesting dynamic, with brothers Cory Beecher on vocals and Shane Beecher on guitar. Drummer Alex Rivas played the heavy blast beat sections with ease and had a lot of energy behind the kit. Eemi Lamberg from Santa Cruz filled in on bass, providing a lot of energy and bass lines to the band’s set. It was cool for me to see the variety in the band’s sound, with songs like “Filthy” showing their heavier side, and other songs like “A Place Called Home” showing off the band’s hard rock side. I was thoroughly impressed by their set. Tempting Fate is definitely a band to keep your eyes on!

SETLIST

  1. Filthy
  2. Questions
  3. Eminence
  4. 99
  5. Falling To Pieces
  6. I’d Rather Burn
  7. A Place Called Home
  8. Sik

Next to the stage was the all mighty He Is Legend from Wilmington, North Carolina. Starting out as a metalcore band, the band’s sound has progressed throughout the years, becoming more of a fusion between a plethora of sub-genres, most notably being a mixture of hard rock, alternative metal, stoner rock, psychedelic rock, sludge metal, and southern rock. Watching their set and listening to their music takes listeners on a journey, as songs can sometimes mix several of these influences together, creating an album where each song is dynamic and impressive. Vocalist Schuylar Croom is an entertaining person to watch on stage, grooving along with the music as if he is entranced in it. Lead guitarist Adam Tanbouz and rhythm guitarist Andrew Gaultier played their parts with ease and headbanging to their hearts content. Bassist Matty Williams strummed in those deep basslines that hit the spot in the band’s music, while providing tons of hairflips and energy. Jesse Shelley on drums is the final piece to the band’s lineup, holding down the fort and keeping the band on track while playing the drums with precision, even through the many random tempo changes. The band has a total of six albums, four of which they played songs from in their seven-song setlist. Overall, I was blown away by their set and cannot wait to see He Is Legend again in the future.

SETLIST

  1. White Bat
  2. Burn All Your Rock Records
  3. The Seduction
  4. The Widow of Magnolia
  5. Attack of the Dungeon Witch
  6. Everyone I Know Has Fangs
  7. Boogiewoman

Whitechapel from Knoxville, Tennessee was up next as direct support. Whenever I prepare for a Whitechapel set, I know what to expect: lots of energy, lots of strobing lighting, and those groovy heavy tones that match perfectly with vocalist Phil Bozeman’s deep guttural vocals. Since they released their album “The Valley” earlier in the year, which was released via Metal Blade Records, the band played six-songs from the album, along with three other fan favorite songs, adding up to a nine-song set. Whitechapel has interesting dynamics in their band, with three guitarists: Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder. While Ben technically does a majority of the leads, each guitarist shines during the set, truly adding to the band’s groove metal infused deathcore. Vocalist Phil Boseman really stepped out of the box on the new record, showing off more of his’ vocal abilities in terms of clean vocals, shown in songs “When A Demon Defiles A Witch” and “Hickory Creek”, both of which they played on this tour. I’m also very amused whenever I see Gabe Crisp on stage, as the dude has a really intense presence on that stage, truly jamming out and grooving along while playing those piercing bass tones. The band’s live drummer Alex Rüdinger closes out the current Whitechapel lineup, and he does not disappoint, nailing all of the bands intricate drum patterns. One funny part of the set that stuck out to me was when Phil Boseman said, “We just wrote this next song this morning, so I hope you enjoy it”, and then going on to play the band’s most recognizable song “This Is Exile”. I always love seeing Whitechapel live because they truly have an amazing arsenal of music and it’s cool to see what songs they’re going to pull out of the vault for their sets. Whitechapel never disappoints in concert, and I am looking forward to seeing them again when they come out to Southern California next!

SETLIST

  1. Forgiveness Is Weakness
  2. Brimstone
  3. Black Bear
  4. Third Depth
  5. When A Demon Defiles A Witch
  6. This Is Exile
  7. Hickory Creek
  8. Our Endless War
  9. The Saw Is The Law

Atreyu from Yorba Linda, California was up next to celebrate being together as a band for 20 years. The band’s setlist was voted on by the fans, adding up to a setlist with 20-songs spanning their entire discography, except songs from 2015’s “Long Live”. For the anniversary tour, the band brought an elaborate light show that lit up the whole venue, which made the 1200 capacity venue feel like a stadium show. The band’s lead vocalist Alex Varkatzas was filled with energy, truly utilizing every inch of that stage and engaging fans from every part of the crowd. One thing Atreyu never strays from is their guitar solos, and co-lead guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel truly showcased their abilities throughout the set. Brandon Staller is the member that truly sets Atreyu apart from many other bands, as he plays the technical drum parts while providing the clean vocals for the band. Bassist Marc McKnight is truly a hype man on stage, playing his bass lines while engaging the audience members and headbanging with his epic beard waving around. Since the fans voted on the setlist, it consisted of mainly songs from the band’s earlier albums “The Curse” and “A Death-Grip On Yesterday”, but I was glad to see that fans at least voted on some songs from the band’s later albums. I am truly lucky and happy that I was able to see Atreyu two times in a span of five months. They’re a very entertaining band to see and photograph. I cannot wait to see them again when they come back out here!

SETLIST

  1. The Time Is Now
  2. Right Side of the Bed
  3. Ain’t Love Grand
  4. Doomsday
  5. My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in My Back)
  6. Ex’s and Oh’s
  7. Our Sick Story (Thus Far)
  8. The Theft
  9. Bleeding Mascara
  10. Demonology and Heartache
  11. The Crimson
  12. Her Portrait in Black
  13. Bleeding Is a Luxury
  14. House of Gold
  15. Becoming the Bull
  16. Falling Down
  17. Blow
  18. Five Vicodin Chased With a Shot of Clarity
  19. Untitled Finale
  20. Lip Gloss and Black

Atreyu has been dominating the rock and metal scenes for two decades and truly went all in on their anniversary tour. Whitechapel, He Is Legend, Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz all brought it and meshed with Atreyu beautifully to create a wonderful night of music and a beautiful end to this tour! Make sure to check out all of these bands and see them on tour at a city near you!

Atreyu | Whitechapel | He Is Legend | Tempting Fate | Santa Cruz

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Issues w/ Polyphia and Sleep Token | Beautiful Oblivion North American Tour | Photos + Review

Issues Runs Los Angeles Into Beautiful Oblivion

Venue: The Mayan in Los Angeles, CA on 11/14/20

When it comes to sound progression in a band’s discography, Issues almost instantly comes to my mind. While they started out sounding a lot like vocalist Tyler Carter’s previous band “Woe, Is Me”, the band started to slowly but surely incorporate influences from genres such as R&B, Funk, Jazz, and EDM. Their newest record “Beautiful Oblivion” saw the band taking a giant leap in terms of their sound. With the departure of long-time vocalist Michael Bahn, the band distanced themselves a bit from the metalcore sound, incorporating more of those influences than ever before. To celebrate the album, the band set out on their world tour, with the first stop being North America with support from Polyphia and Sleep Token: a mixed bag of talent that worked well for the tour!

First up was Sleep Token from London, England. Sleep Token is a fully conceptual band, with each member sporting masks and black body paint. They’ve created this story of being united in worshipping their god known as “Sleep”. The lineup still remains completely anonymous, which adds to the appeal. Sleep Token has taken the scene by storm, garnering a cult-like following with their diversified sound that blends together alternative rock, progressive rock, progressive metalcore, ambient, and EDM. It was surreal to see them on stage, as they looked very ominous on stage with their masks and look. But their music is very melodic and can completely change genres mid-song, which continuously keeps the listeners on their toes. I was personally thrilled to hear the band play songs from their debut album “Sundowning”, which was released in 2019 via Spinefarm Records. The band played a total of six songs, five of which came from that new album. The band played a flawless set with a lot of energy, and I cannot wait for the band to return to the U.S. in the future!

SETLIST

  1. The Night Does Not Belong To God
  2. The Offering
  3. Dark Signs
  4. Higher
  5. Sugar
  6. Jaws

Up next was Polyphia from Dallas, Texas as the direct support for the tour. Polyphia is a very dynamic band. And while they are fully instrumental, they got the crowd going wild like no other, blending together progressive metal, progressive rock, math rock, funk rock, and even some elements of electronic music. Both guitarists Scott LePage and Clay Aeschliman played some insane riffs, with odd time signatures that fit perfectly into the songs. Bassist Clay Glover acts as the band’s front man, hyping up the crowd between the songs and grooving along with his’ deep hitting basslines. With three full length records and two EPs under their belt, the band has garnered a very passionate following, selling out shows country wide on their headlining tours. As direct support, the band prepared a ten-song set, which showcased songs from each of their releases, the newest of which being their 2018 album “New Levels New Devils”, which was released via Equal Vision Records. Polyphia was truly amazing and blew my expectations out of the water!

SETLIST

  1. O.A.T.
  2. D.
  3. Saucy
  4. Goose
  5. 40oz
  6. Champagne
  7. Icronic
  8. Look But Don’t Touch
  9. Finale
  10. Euphoria

Issues from Atlanta, Georgia finally hit the stage next for their headlining set. To celebrate the new album’s release, the band played the album “Beautiful Oblivion” in its entirety, along with songs from their previous releases, adding up to a whopping 20-song set. “Beautiful Oblivion” was released in 2019 via Rise Records and shows a more adventurous side to Issues’ sound. Each song brings its own flavor, bringing in different levels of influences and styles. Many fans were surprised by the change in style, compared to their metalcore foundations on previous albums. New songs like “Drink About It”, “Tapping Out”, “Downfall”, “Rain”, and “Here’s To You” still retain some of the heavy instrumentals, but rarely include the screaming vocals or as heavy of instrumentals as the band had on their first several releases, 2012’s “Black Diamonds EP”, 2014’s “Issues” and 2016’s “Headspace”. It personally took me a couple of listens through the record to truly fall in love with it, but I eventually became obsessed. Tyler Carter writes some truly catchy lyrics that get stuck in my head on a daily basis. The groovy guitar and bass lines courtesy of AJ Rebollo and Skyler Acord. The intricate drum patterns come from the one and only Josh Manuel, who is very fun to see in concert with his energy in the back. Issues brought out some older songs on this tour, with “Never Lose Your Flames” and “Mad At Myself” being fan favorite songs from their self-titled album. I was thoroughly impressed by their performance and cannot wait to see them in the fall when they tour North America as support for Dance Gavin Dance, Animals As Leaders, Veil of Maya, and Wolf & Bear!

SETLIST

  1. Here’s to You
  2. Drink About It
  3. Never Lose Your Flames
  4. Hero
  5. Find Forever
  6. Tapping Out
  7. Stingray Affliction
  8. Without You
  9. Rain
  10. Your Sake
  11. COMA
  12. Downfall
  13. Second Best
  14. Get It Right
  15. King of Amarillo
  16. Flexin
  17. No Problem (Keep It Alive)
  18. Slow Me Down
  19. Beautiful Oblivion

ENCORE

20. Mad at Myself

Issues’ Beautiful Oblivion North American Tour brought together an excellent tour, with a mixture of music that was entertaining from the moment Sleep Token opened the show, to Polyphia slaying their set with crowdsurfers galore, and finally to Issues playing a monstrous twenty song set! Don’t forget to get your tickets to see Issues open for Dance Gavin Dance in August!

Issues | Polyphia | Sleep Token

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Ice Nine Kills w/ Fit For A King, Light The Torch, and Awake At Last | SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour | Photos + Review

Ice Nine Kills Play Homage To Horror Classics At Their Sold-Out Los Angeles Show

Venue: The Belasco on 11/9/19

Ice Nine Kills has been a consistent band I’ve listened to since I got into them when I first saw them on Warped Tour in 2014. Their blend of symphonics with metalcore has always been intriguing to me. For the second edition of the SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour, Ice Nine Kills was announced to headline, with support from Fit For A King, Light The Torch, and Awake At Last. Make Them Suffer was also slotted to open on the tour, but due to VISA issues, they were unable to perform on the tour. This would be Ice Nine Kills’ biggest headlining tour to date in the United States, and they really went all out to make this an amazing tour.

First up was Awake At Last from Dover, Delaware. The band describes themselves as a mixture between pop, hard rock, and post-hardcore, which I agree with. Continuing their touring schedule in support of their newest release “The Change”, which was released in 2019 via Outerloop Records, the band opened the show with high energy that got the crowd going. Similarly to Ice Nine Kills, the band uses symphonic backing in their songs, with adds a great level of depth to their songs. Opening their set with the song “Purgatorium” from their independently released 2017 EP titled “Life/Death/Rebirth” showcases this depth to a T. Vocalist Vincent Torres has great stage presence, really engaging the crowd and moving about. Guitarists Imran Xhelili and Eric Blackway really held their own on stage, engaging their respective sides of the crowd and really adding to the energy coming from the band. Drew Hansen headbanged and slammed those notes with the bass with ease. Closing out the band’s live lineup is Jeff Dorber on drums, who was very energetic and engaging. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s seven-song set, and thought they really got the energy going for the bands to come!

SETLIST

  1. Purgatorium
  2. More Than Animals
  3. Unobtainable
  4. Paralyzed
  5. Fallen Stars
  6. Dead Generation
  7. The Change

Up next was the all mighty Light The Torch from Los Angeles, CA. Previously called “Devil You Know”, the band has been around since 2012 and have released three studio albums together. I was very much excited to see them, as I have been a fan of each member’s respective bands. Vocalist Howard Jones was previously in Killswitch Engage, guitarist Francesco Artusato is also in All Shall Perish, who are on an indefinite hiatus, bassist Ryan Wombacher is also the bassist of Bleeding Through, who I had the pleasure of seeing and photographing in June of 2018, and drummer Kyle Baltus is the drummer of 38 Crazyfists. So as a super group, the band embarked on this tour and prepared an 8-song set, most of which came from their 2018 record “Revival”, which was released via Nuclear Blast Records. As the perfect blend between metalcore and alternative metal, the band was energetic and slayed that stage with ease. I was just in awe to finally see Howard Jones on stage, and to be able to photograph them was a dream come true. The band will be going on a North American tour in support of Killswitch Engage and August Burns Red in March – April, so definitely go check them out when they hit a city near you!

SETLIST

  1. The Bitter End
  2. Calm Before The Storm
  3. Lost In The Fire
  4. Virus
  5. Consume The Damned
  6. The Safety of Disbelief
  7. The Sound of Violence
  8. Die Alone

As direct support, Fit For A King from Dallas, Texas was up next. I have seen and photographed these guys four times now over the last two years and this is by far my favorite set they’ve performed. The band plays some damn good metalcore, and with five albums under their belt, they have created a solid career for themselves. For their direct support slot on this tour, the band prepared a ten-song set, with songs from their two newest releases “Dark Skies” from 2018 and “Deathgrip” from 2016, both of which were released via Solid State Records. Something long time fans will know is that vocalist Ryan Kirby has taken on more as a vocalist, doing both screaming and singing on these releases. His stage presence is incredible. Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary is the hypeman of the band, jumping, spinning, kicking, screaming, and singing to his’ heart’s content while playing those bass notes. Drummer and founding member Jared Easterling is always on point, playing intricate and dynamic drum parts, while exuding such joy and happiness while playing on stage. Guitarist Daniel Gailey closes out the band’s lineup, and despite some technical difficulties at the beginning of the set, came out and delivered a stellar performance. I love Fit For A King. If you love some good metalcore, they’ll be going on a world tour in support of “Dark Skies” that will be hitting North America, Europe, and more in the coming months!

SETLIST

  1. Engraved
  2. Backbreaker
  3. When Everything Means Nothing
  4. Shattered Glass
  5. Cold Room
  6. Dead Memory
  7. Deathgrip
  8. The Price of Agony
  9. Oblivion
  10. Tower of Pain

Ice Nine Kills from Boston, Massachusetts came out next to headline the night. With a dramatic curtain drop, the band started out their set with the infamous song and the third single “Thank God It’s Friday” from “The Silver Scream”, which was released in 2018 via Fearless Records. What the curtain drop revealed was an elaborate set of lighting and costuming. Each member was dressed up as a different horror icon: drummer Patrick Galante was dressed up was Billy The Puppet from SAW, guitarist and backup vocalist Ricky Armellino was dressed up as Georgie from IT, guitarist Dan Sugarman was dressed up as Jack Torrance from The Shining, and bassist Joe Occhiuti was dressed up as Edward Scissorhands. Spencer Charnas, the lead vocalist and founding member, changed costumes and props each song. When “Thank God It’s Friday” played, he was dressed up as Jason Vorhees from Friday The 13th, with the machete in hand. The second song in the set “The Jig Is Up”, spencer switched into his usual outfit for the show: a ripped green and red striped cut of shirt, black jeans, and shoes. But, to fit the song being about the SAW franchise, he sported an old man mask to act like John Kramer. For our third and final song in the photo pit, Spencer brought out a chainsaw and played with it for the duration of the song “Savages”. The rest of the set was filled with other costume changes, notably his’ complete costume change to be dressed up as Ghostface from the Scream franchise for the song “Your Number’s Up” from their 2019 deluxe edition release of the album. The whole band held their own. The most hyped part of the set would have to be during the encore when Spencer came on stage dressed up as Pennywise from IT and brought up someone in a Mickey Mouse costume. It was a creative way to mock Disney for banning the band. This set was filled with theatrics, amazing music, and amazing costumes. The band prepared a whopping 19-song set for their larger than life headliner, and it’s truly amazing to see how far they’ve come as a band since I first saw them. Ice Nine Kills is currently on a European tour in support of Hollywood Undead and Papa Roach, and then will be touring the US once again as support for Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, and I Prevail from 4/8 – 5/20, so definitely go see them on a date near you! I can’t wait to see one of my favorite bands again when they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Thank God It’s Friday
  2. The Jig Is Up
  3. SAVAGES
  4. The Nature of the Beast
  5. The World In My Hands
  6. Communion of the Cursed
  7. A Grave Mistake
  8. Your Number’s Up
  9. Rocking The Boat
  10. Merry Axe-Mas
  11. Thriller (Michael Jackson cover)
  12. Hell In The Hallways
  13. Stabbing In The Dark
  14. The Fastest Way To A Girl’s Heart Is Through Her Ribcage
  15. Love Bites
  16. Tess-Timony
  17. Me, Myself, & Hyde
  18. The American Nightmare

ENCORE

19. IT Is The End

The SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour was absolutely incredible from start to finish. Ice Nine Kills truly put on a one of a kind set that truly made me speechless walking out of the venue. Fit For A King delivered an incredible set as direct support and blew me away yet again. Light The Torch tore the stage up and made me an even bigger fan of them. And Awake At Last delivered a flawless set with ease as the opening act. I am truly grateful that I was able to attend this show and capture all of these amazing moments.

Ice Nine Kills | Fit For A King | Light The Torch | Awake At Last

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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The Classic Crime w/ Assuming We Survive, Your Bourgeois, and David Lunsford | West Coast Tour | Photos + Review

Seattle-based rock band The Classic Crime have been around for quite some time, releasing a handful of albums over the past fifteen years. The band have recently dropped a couple of singles, leading up to their upcoming full-length album “Patterns In The Static” (due to be released on February 28th) and embarked on a tour of the West Coast (their first tour since 2018) in support of the new material.
Opening up the night was Seattle based acoustic musician David Lunsford. He began the set with his most recent single, “God Damn Soul,” and played “Without Your Armor” and “On My Mind” from his 2018 debut LP, “To All My Friends And Family.” In addition, he also played two unreleased songs, one titled “Evergreen” and a self-titled song that he concluded his set with. What stood out to me about David’s set was the emotion he put into each of the songs he performed, and that was evident from the moment he started the set.


Up next was Your Bourgeois, a local rock band from Golden, Colorado. They had a pretty good mix of slower and more upbeat songs in their set, and seemed to show influences of various styles of rock, which made their set even more interesting. One of the main things that stood out to me about this band’s set and the music they played was the very impressive lead guitar solos in a couple of the songs.


Second to last was Assuming We Survive. I saw them headline in LA a couple of years ago and since then, they have quickly become one of my favorite bands to see live and one of my favorite bands overall. One thing I like a lot about their live shows is the energy they constantly bring throughout so much of their sets, and the large majority of their setlist consisted of some of the most upbeat tracks from recent releases (“Tear Me,” “Make It Out Alive,” “Smile Sometime,” “Too Close”). The band played their two latest EPs, “Chapters” and “The Enemy Within,” from beginning to end (with the exception of “California Stoned,” the final track on “Chapters”), and amidst all of the more upbeat songs they played, they slowed things down a bit as well when playing “Lost” and “Let You Down,” which had everyone waving their cellphone lights in the air.