Silverstein with special guests The Plot In You and Can’t Swim | Silverstein 20th Anniversary Tour | 11/19/21 | Photos + Review

Silverstein Sells Out Their 20 Year Celebration In Los Angeles

11/19/21 at The Belasco Theater in Los Angeles, CA

              In March of 2020, Silverstein was set to go out on their 20th Anniversary Tour. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the tour was postponed twice. Finally setting out on tour in November and December of 2021, the band now hit their 21st anniversary as a band. To prepare for just a significant anniversary, the band prepared one of the longest sets I’ve ever seen a band play, and they brought along with them The Plot In You and Can’t Swim for the ride. This lineup made for a night of diverse music that kept fans entertained from start to finish.

              First up was Can’t Swim from Keansburg, New Jersey. I’d best describe the band’s sound in the subgenre known as “easycore.” Easycore is basically the merging of pop-punk and metalcore. Similar bands in sound would be A Day To Remember, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk, and more. The band started with the song “Set The Room Ablaze,” which comes from their newest album, “Change Of Plans,” released in 2021 via Pure Noise Records. This song has a heavy edge, with metalcore-inspired riffs courtesy of Danny Rico and Mike Sanchez. This song also features some raspy screams from guitarist Chris LoPorto. The song’s studio recording features Caleb Shomo from Beartooth, which honestly pushes the song over the edge. This is easily my favorite song from the band and having them open up with it was incredible to witness. The band then went on to play their song “Sometimes You Meet The Right People At The Wrong Time” from their 2018 record “This Too Won’t Pass,” released via Pure Noise Records. This song has an overall pop-punk feel, with the stand-out elements being the drum patterns and overall atmosphere. I focused during this song on drummer Blake Gamel, who was absolutely smashing those drums like crazy. Bassist Greg McDevitt also did a superb job on backup vocals, adding amazing harmonies that pushed the songs to another level. The third song in the set that I captured was their song “Sense of Humor,” which has a very lighthearted feel in the melodies and atmosphere. The song changes up about two-thirds of the way through with a breakdown, adding an extra layer of contrast and depth to the song that kept me jamming while in the photo pit. The band was tight as hell during their set and had incredible energy. They absolutely blew away my expectations. They played a nine-song setlist, playing songs from four of their releases. They’re a fantastic band, and I highly recommend attending their headlining tour in the spring if it comes near you!

SETLIST

  1. Set The Room Ablaze
  2. “Sometimes You Meet The Right Person At The Wrong Time”
  3. Sense Of Humor
  4. Prick
  5. Deliver Us From Evil
  6. Power
  7. My Queen
  8. Your Clothes
  9. Stranger

Up next was The Plot In You Hancock County, Ohio. This was my second time ever seeing The Plot In You, with the first and only other time being back in 2016 when they were headlining their “Happiness In Self Destruction” tour in support of their album they had released the year prior of the same title. The band has made quite the transformation since then. The band was previously a through and through metalcore band. They experimented with more melodic elements in the album “Happiness In Self Destruction” before diving deep into their new sound in 2018’s “Dispose” via Fearless Records. Going more towards a post-hardcore and progressive rock sound, the band has genuinely diversified their more recent records. The band opened with the song “Face Me” from their 2021 record “Swan Song,” also released on Fearless Records. Face Me opens up with a beat, and vocalist Landon Tewers before the full band comes in during the chorus. The band really brought the theatrics, with a gorgeous light show that really brought their performance to the next level. The instrumentals have a truly modern vibe to them. The bass from Ethan Yoder is vibrant and prominent, the guitar is deep and full from Josh Lewis Childress, and the drums are clean and solid from Michael Cooper. The band then went on to their second song, “Fall Again,” which is my favorite track from the new record. This song plays with the band’s heavier elements, bringing in some nu-metal inspiration in the guitar tones and vocalizations. Landon Tewers is truly on fire vocally on this record, showing his vast repertoire and prowess. The band then went on to play their song “Enemy,” which has an r&b feel to it, while still dialing into their post-hardcore sound. I love the new addition of the electronics into the music, as it adds a whole other layer to their sound. The crowd was eating them up, jumping, and singing along to every word. The band played a total of ten songs, spanning from “Swan Song,” “Dispose,” and “Happiness in Self Destruction,” which are three albums that really meld nicely in the band’s current discography and their more modern sound. The Plot In You has truly grown a lot since I last saw them, and I cannot wait to see them again. 

SETLIST

  1. Face Me
  2. Fall Again
  3. Enemy
  4. Not Just Breathing
  5. Time Changes Everything
  6. Paradigm
  7. One Last Time
  8. Too Far Gone
  9. Disposable Fix
  10. Feel Nothing

Silverstein from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, hit the stage next. Hitting two decades for a band in the heavier music genre is a massive milestone for bands in our genre and music in general. It can be easy to burn out and give up, but Silverstein has proven that a band can not only succeed but push themselves further and thrive through perseverance, growth, and rebuilding. For those who somehow have never heard Silverstein, they are that perfect blend of metalcore, post-hardcore, pop-punk, and punk rock. They started out as one of the classic emo bands and have constantly expanded upon their sound to keep previous fans impressed and gain a new, innovative following. For their 20th Anniversary Tour, the band went the whole nine yards, preparing three sets in total. They also brought an extensive amount of colorful and vibrant lighting, timed and themed perfectly to their music. The first set Silverstein played was a greatest hits set, performing songs from their whole discography. They opened with one of their newer singles titled “Bankrupt.” This track is an explosive and heavy track with a deep guitar groove courtesy of Josh Bradford and Paul Marc Rousseau. The crowd went bonkers, with crowd surfing and moshing galore. This track showcases vocalist Shane Told’s intense screams and solid clean vocals. He is a powerhouse vocalist and truly showcased that with this song. The band then went into the song “Massachusetts” from their 2013 album “This Is How The Wind Shifts,” which has a lighter sound compared to “Bankrupt.” Those intricate drum patterns from Paul Koehler are a standout in this song for me. The next song the band went into was “Smashed Into Pieces” from their debut album “When The Broken Is Easily Fixed,” which really has that classic emo and post-hardcore vibe the band founded themselves on. Bassist Billy Hamilton was on point with those harmonies and backup screams on this song, and that deep bass grove really helped push it over. The band then went into songs like “Bad Habits,” “It’s Over,” “Infinite,” and “The Afterglow.” The band even did a massive melody of songs, which included “The Artist,” “Sacrifice,” “I Am The Arsonist,” “The Continual Condition,” “My Disaster,” “Vices,” “Je Me Souviens,” and “Broken Stars.” After a short interlude, Shane Told came out to do an acoustic set while a few members joined during a song or two. The acoustic set consisted of “Rescue You,” “Untitled” by Social Distortion, “Red Light Pledge,” and “Where Are You,” all of which once again showcased how diverse and strong Shane Told’s vocals are all these years later. The band came on for their third set just a minute later to play their second album, “Discovering The Waterfront,” in its entirety. Songs like “My Heroine” and “Call It Karma” were standouts on the album for me, so to hear them live, along with the rest of the songs, was absolutely incredible. The band gave us a special treat for their encore to top it all off. As a final song, the band played “Bleeds No More” from their debut album. However, they changed things up, putting Shane Told on bass and having Billy Hamilton absolutely demolish those vocals. He was on fire, and Shane was plunking away at those chunky bass notes. This song finished off their set on such a high note. Silverstein again proves why they are a staple in their cohort, and I cannot wait to see them again in the new year. 

SETLIST

  1. Bankrupt
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Smashed Into Pieces
  4. Bad Habits
  5. The Artist/ Sacrifice / I Am The Arsonist / The Continual Condition / My Disaster / Vices / Je Me Souviens / Broken Stars
  6. It’s Over
  7. Infinite
  8. The Afterglow
  9. Replace You
  10. Untitled (Social Distortion Cover)
  11. Red Light Pledge
  12. Where Are You
  13. Your Sword Versus My Dagger
  14. Smile In Your Sleep
  15. The Ides Of March
  16. Fist Wrapped In Blood
  17. Discovering The Waterfront
  18. Defend You
  19. My Heroine
  20. Always And Never
  21. Already Dead
  22. The Hours Back
  23. Call It Karma

ENCORE

24. Bleeds No More

Silverstein really went above and beyond for their 20th-anniversary tour. I am beyond grateful I could see and photograph them again, along with The Plot In You and Can’t Swim. All three bands played amazing sets and made the crowd go NUTS. Give some love to all of these bands and go see them live when they hit cities near you!

Silverstein | The Plot In You | Can’t Swim

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter |

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We Came As Romans ft The Devil Wears Prada, Dayseeker, and Hollow Front | To Plant A Seed 10 Year Anniversary Tour | 10/20/21 | Photos + Review

We Came As Romans Plant A Seed At A Sold Out Los Angeles Show

Venue: The Regent

Date: 10/20/21

We Came As Romans announced their 10 Year Anniversary Tour for their debut album “To Plant A Seed” in late 2019. Unfortunately, due to the global pandemic, the tour was postponed not once but twice. At last, the band could embark on the long-awaited anniversary tour, a year and a half after it was initially scheduled for. Along with the band came support from The Devil Wears Prada, Dayseeker, and Hollow Front. This stacked lineup brought the heavy, the emotional, and the nostalgia to a sold-out crowd that had awaited this night for a long while.

Up first was Hollow Front Grand Rapids, Michigan. The band is on the border between metalcore and post-hardcore, with some ambient backing tracks that bring in the progressive metal influences. The band opened their set with the opening track from their 2020 release “Loose Threads” titled “Afflicted,” which the band released independently. This song is melodic and comes out the gate, showcasing Tyler Tate’s harsh, growled vocals. The dude truly owns every inch of that stage. The band then went on to the title track from their newest album, “Loose Threads,” which really showcased guitarist and vocalist Dakota Alvarez’s vocal abilities and had a slower vibe to it. Devin Attard, one of the rising drummers in the metal scene, was headbanging and smashing the hell out of the drums in the back. The band then went on to play Vegabond, also from their newest album. This is one of the heavier tracks on the record and goes deep into the downtune with deep bass tones from bassist Brandon Rummler. In total, the band played seven songs and really started the show out perfectly. The crowd was still warming up and coming in, but they definitely got the pit warmed up for the bands to come. I cannot wait to see and photograph the Hollow Front boys again next year!

SETLIST

  1. Afflicted
  2. Loose Threads
  3. Vagabond
  4. Wearing Thin
  5. Don’t Fall Asleep
  6. Left Behind
  7. Treading Water

Up next was the incredible Dayseeker from Orange County, CA. Dayseeker is another band that borders between metalcore and post-hardcore, with a lot of progressive metal influences in their instrumentalization and the ambiance that is felt throughout their music. For their setlist on this tour, the band played songs all from their newest album, “Sleeptalk,” released in 2019 via Spinefarm Records. The interlude “The Embers Glow” played as the band came on stage, leading into their first song, “The Color Black,” one of the heavier songs on that new album. The song showcases vocalist Rory Rodriguez’s vocals in the forefront, with him mixing between cleans and screaming. This new album is very emotional, speaking about alcoholism, loss, eating disorders, and more. Rory really poured his heart into these vocals, and you can tell with how much emotion he has on stage. One thing that is apparent throughout Dayseeker’s music is the intricate chord progression and fluidity, which are courtesy of the band’s guitarist Gino Sgambelluri and bassist Ramone Valerio, who really add a lot of complex parts to the instrumentals. The band then moved on to their second song, that being “Gates of Ivory.” This is another of the heavier songs on the album. Still, it does such a great job as the rest, with a good yin and yang between the heavy and the melodic with those beautiful instrumentals and Rory’s vocals. The third song in the set was “Crooked Soul,” which has some of the heaviest instrumentals of the record, paired with Rory’s more melodic vocals, creating a beautiful pairing in the song. Drummer Zac Mayfield, the drummer for bands Oh, Sleeper, and Noble, filled in for this tour, truly holding down the fort on the drums. But during the fourth song in the set, “Burial Plot,” the band’s drummer Mike Karle swapped in and finished the set with the band. It was fantastic to see him there slaying as always. The band, in total, had seven songs in their set, six if you don’t include the interlude intro. Dayseeker is always a joy to see and photograph. Keep an eye out on them, as they have many more things in their arsenal to come!

SETLIST

  1. The Embers Glow (Interlude/Intro)
  2. The Color Black
  3. Gates Of Ivory
  4. Crooked Soul
  5. Burial Plot
  6. Drunk
  7. Sleeptalk

Up next was the all mighty The Devil Wears Prada from Dayton, Ohio. The Devil Wears Prada has become one of the most consistent bands within the metalcore genre throughout their career, releasing seven full-length albums and two EPs. The band played a career-spanning set for their direct support slot, playing songs from almost all of their releases. They opened up the set with “Nightfall,” the opening track from “ZII,” released in 2021 via Solid State Records. This song is one of the heaviest songs the band has released in years, bringing the band to an elevated version of the heaviness they were known for in their earlier days as a band. Vocalist Mike Hranica is on full display for a majority of the song, with his mid and high range screams piercing through the heaviness. The song has a slowdown section for the cleans, which are provided by guitarist and clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster. The band then went on to play “Outnumbered” from the “Zombie EP.” This EP stands the test of time as one of the band’s most popular releases with its sheer heaviness. The crowd went nuts, with lots of moshing and crowd surfing. During this song, bassist Mason Nagy had incredible energy, flailing and headbanging to his’ heart’s content. Keyboardist Jonathan Gering really brings a lot to this song, adding the needed synths and backing that amp up the song to new levels. The third song in the band’s set was “Born To Lose” from the album “Dead Throne.” Coming hot off the release of Zombie EP in 2010, this 2011 record saw the band continuing off the momentum they built thus far, combining the sound of their previous works with their new, more mature sound. Born To Lose is one of the highlighted tracks from this album. I was honed in on guitarist Kyle Sipress, who absolutely slayed it on those lead guitar parts, as well as drummer Giuseppe Capolupo, who is an absolute machine on those beats. I was, unfortunately, unable to get any photos of Kyle or Giuseppe, as we photographers were kicked out of the photo pit a song early due to the crowdsurfing. However, I was still able to enjoy the band’s incredible set from the crowd, where they played ten songs in total, ranging from most of their discography. This band always plays a flawless set, and I was thoroughly impressed with what they showcased to us. I cannot wait to see and photograph these guys once again in the new year!

SETLIST

  1. Nightfall
  2. Outnumbered
  3. Born To Lose
  4. Chemical
  5. Lines of Your Hands
  6. Forlorn
  7. Sacrifice
  8. Mammoth
  9. Hey John, What’s Your Name Again?
  10. Danger: Wildman

Finally, We Came As Romans from Troy, Michigan, came to the stage. For the 10th anniversary of “To Plant A Seed,” the band played the album in its entirety. However, they didn’t necessarily play it in order. The band played the entirety of the album but mixed in fan-favorite songs from the band’s discography. Before the band came on stage, they had a beautiful video playing on their LED screens about how impactful this album was on their careers and onto them as individuals. The band opened up with the title track “To Plant A Seed.” The stage exploded with CO2 cannons and an extensive lighting setup brought by the band. Vocalist Dave Stephens came right out the gate screaming those vocals and really controlling the crowd. What was remarkable was seeing the dynamic between Dave and bassist and backup vocalist Andy Glass. This was my first time seeing the band after the passing of the band’s founding clean vocalist Kyle Pavone. I was curious to see how the vocal duties would be split up. Andy took over, doing some of the screaming vocals, while Dave did the clean vocal parts. The band changed keys to fit Dave’s voice, and the new arrangements sounded absolutely incredible. The second song the band played was “Broken Statues.” During this song, I focused on guitarist Joshua Moore, who really holds it down on those lead guitar parts and instrumental melody. I have been a fan of his guitar playing for years, and to finally photograph it live was a dream come true. It was also so cool to see drummer David Puckett absolutely slay those drums. Formerly in the band For Today, David is quite established in the metal scene and has a range in his’ drum playing. Just hearing his’ playing on these songs that inspired me so much as a young kid was amazing. For their third song, the band played “We Are The Reasons.” I focused during this song on rhythm guitarist Lou Cotton, who truly grooved along with the rhythm section and held it down. It was amazing to finally hear songs like “Intensions” and “Roads That Don’t End and Views That Never Cease” played live since I saw them back in 2012 for the first time. It was also incredible to hear the band’s newest song, “Black Hole,” performed live, along with fan-favorite songs like “Hope,” “Tracing Back Roots,” and “Wasted Age,” among others. This is a band that has been a favorite of mine for quite some time. They were one of the first bands I got into in the scene. I remember getting this We Came As Romans gray shirt at Hot Topic back in 2011 and just being in awe. Little did I know that it would start quite the collection of metal shirts to come. We Came As Romans demolished that stage and performed a fantastic nineteen-song set, really planting their seed into The Regent in Los Angeles, California, on this Wednesday night!

SETLIST

  1. To Plant A Seed
  2. Broken Statues
  3. We Are The Reasons
  4. Beliefs
  5. Dreams
  6. To Move On Is To Grow
  7. Wasted Age
  8. Lost In The Moment
  9. Hope
  10. Tracing Back Roots
  11. Black Hole
  12. Intensions
  13. Roads That Don’t End and Views That Never Cease
  14. Searching, Seeking, Reaching, Always
  15. I Will Not Reap Destruction
  16. An Ever-Growing Wonder

ENCORE

17. Promise Me

18. Cold Like War

19. Darkbloom

The “To Plant A Seed 10 Year Anniversary Tour” was a long time coming and something I’ve had on my calendar a total of 4 different times now. I am just so happy that the bands, the management, and the venue worked hard to make it happen. We Came As Romans is an essential band in my personal musical journey, so to see the album that brought them into my life played in its entirety was a dream come true. Shout out to The Devil Wears Prada, Dayseeker, and Hollow Front for truly bringing your A-Game and bringing some incredible music to Los Angeles. Truly one of the best shows I’ve had the honor of covering this year.

We Came As Romans | The Devil Wears Prada | Dayseeker | Hollow Front

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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State Champs w/ Real Friends, Four Year Strong, Just Friends, and Bearings | Pure Noise Records Tour 2021 | 10/10/21 | Photos + Review

As soon as I saw that this tour was announced, I knew that I had to go. The lineup was stacked, and with some of my all-time favorite pop-punk bands were all on this – State Champs, Four Year Strong, Real Friends, Just Friends, and Bearings.

First up was Bearings. The crowd was slowly starting to pour in before they took the stage. I remember the first time I saw them, and I didn’t know who they were. I instantly fell in love with their music because of the lyrics in the songs they played and was upbeat and happy. The type of music that makes you want to jump around and start singing along. I wasn’t expecting to see many crowd surfers during their set, but to my surprise, there was and their frontman, Doug Cousins even jumped off stage to help people coming over the barricade. They played songs off their newest album, “Hello, It’s You,” and some of their older songs from the past. Bearings set the show off with energy to carry on throughout the night.

Following Bearings, Just Friends was up next. It’s been a few years since I had last seen them live on Sad Summer Fest, and I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. It was the strangest yet most hypnotizing band I’ve seen in my years of going to concerts. They danced and swayed to the music and got the crowd hyped during the opening song, “Supersonic.” I’ve never seen a band like them with their energy and stage presence. At one point, most of the band turned around and started shaking their butts to the crowd. Everyone was cheering while Eric Butler slapped the bassists’ butt and taking a phone out, and taking selfies and random pictures of the other band members on stage during “Never Gonna Bring You Down” and “Flex.”

Next, we had one of my favorite bands playing – Four Year Strong. I’ve been listening to them since 2009 and have seen them countless times over the years, and they never disappoint. Starting off with “Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die” the crowd exploded while the lights flashed, and everyone was singing along. The set was a mix of songs from multiple albums, including their newest, “Brain Pain.” released last year. People were slowly coming back over the barricade crowd surfing, but even more, came during the third song they played, “It Must Really Suck to Be Four Year Strong Right Now.” The tempo was upbeat and fast-paced and the whole time. I always lose my voice when I see them live as the music is so much fun to listen to and scream to the top of your lungs.

Real Friends came out next. I was excited to see them live as this was my first time. I have almost every single album from them, and once I heard in 2020 that they parted ways with Dan Lambton, I was sad but excited to see what the future held for them. Cody Murano, formerly of Parting Ways and Youth Fountain, they came back with their newest album, “Torn in Two.” It’s been on repeat since it came out for me, and they played a mix of songs from that album, as well as older classics such as “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” “Late Nights in My Car,” and “Me First.” I was impressed with the sound, the lighting, and the energy they had on stage.

Then, it was time for the headliner – State Champs. Yet another band I’ve seen countless times over the years since I first discovered them. They started off with “Secrets” while cryo and streamers emerged from the stage. The venue was packed with people; everyone was singing along, more people came over the barricade, crowd surfing while the photographers did their best not to get hit or kicked in the process for the three songs. I was singing the whole time as they’re one of my favorite bands, and the energy they show on stage is unmatched. They played older songs such as “Elevated,” “Criminal,” and “Mine Is Gold,” as well as some of the newer songs they’ve released recently like “Just Sound” and their cover of Fall Out Boy’s “Chicago Is So Two Years.” After the last song, the house lights stayed off, meaning that they have encore songs. They came out from behind the stage and ended the night with more pryo and playing “All You Are Is History” and “Dead and Gone.” The whole show was full of energy throughout the entire night, making it one of the favorites I’ve been to in the last 19 months since the pandemic started.

State Champs | Real Friends | Four Year Strong | Just Friends | Bearings

Photos + Review courtesy of Jess Kelly | Instagram | Twitter

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Butcher Babies w/ Infected Rain, Stitched Up Heart, & The Unsung | Butcher Babies VS. Goliath Tour | 10/7/21 | Photos + Review

Butcher Babies Slay Their Final Battle Against Goliath at 1720 in Los Angeles, CA

Venue: 1720 in Los Angeles, CA

Date: 10/7/21

When a band hits their 10-year milestone of being together, that is a huge accomplishment that deserves celebration. Unfortunately, that milestone for Butcher Babies came during the global COVID-19 pandemic, where they couldn’t party like the rockstars they are. One year later, the band came back with a vengeance to dominate the country with their first headlining tour in well over two years, where the band would play their debut album “Goliath” in its entirety, along with other songs. In the battle against Goliath were: Infected Rain, Stitched Up Heart, and local support from The Unsung. With this quartet of bands, Butcher Babies led the clan to victory at the final date of the Butcher Babies VS. Goliath Tour!

Up first was The Unsung from San Diego, CA. This quartet is the perfect example of progressive metalcore. One thing I always note whenever I see The Unsung live is just how tight these guys are. Like bands like Periphery, Veil of Maya, and many more in the genre, the vocals are a great mixture of cleans and screaming, courtesy of Tyler Sinclair. However, what sets them apart is that their music tends to have more cleans than screaming, which helps them reach a wider audience. Guitarist Devin Castro is an absolute beast, creating melodic hooks, leads, and solos that shred the hell out of the crowd. Drummer Garret Brown is a beast, playing many different styles and rhythmic patterns throughout the band’s music, sometimes changing time signature and tempos mid-song, which is common within the progressive metal genre. Closing out the band’s lineup is Thomas Sumstine on bass, who absolutely SLAYS adding in those deep grooves and tones that are pretty much essential to the music The Unsung releases. The band played a total of 7 songs, bringing out songs from their first EP, “Rise,” for the first time in a while, along with songs from their sophomore EP “Sin Cera” and new singles “Manic” and “Awake.” The band also brought their iconic light show with them, which adds that extra edge and atmosphere that helps set the tone. It was an epic start to the show, and I am so happy to have seen them again! The last time was around Christmas time in 2019, so it had been almost 2 years without hangs and without seeing this epic band live.

SETLIST

  1. Manic
  2. Herald
  3. Awake
  4. Rise
  5. Lacuna
  6. Chosen
  7. Desolation

Up next was Stitched Up Heart from Los Angeles, CA. I last saw and photographed Stitched Up Heart back in 2019, so I was excited to see and photograph them again and do so at an actual venue, this time and not at a bar. I’d best describe Stitched Up Heart’s sound as a combination between gothic metal, hard rock, and alternative metal. Touring alongside bands across the hard rock and metal genres, they have a sound that is quite versatile and diverse. The band started their set with the song “This Skin” from their 2020 album “Darkness,” released via Century Media Records. This song has a light electronic backing in parts and the downtuned guitar and bass tones, making the song a bit more light sounding than a lot of their other music. You could hear vocalist Mixi’s singing on full display out of the gate, showing a newfound strength and force behind her vocals that I didn’t hear at the last show. The second song, “Warrior,” also came from their newest album and is more of a stadium rock-style track. Those bass tones courtesy of Randy Mathias are on full display in this song, along with the crushing beats from drummer James Decker. The band then went on to their third song, “Catch Me When I Fall,” from their 2016 album “Finally Free.” Overall, this album has a darker vibe, and the guitar tones are much more gritty and dark, and guitarist Merritt Goodwin delivers on this tenfold. The band played a total of seven songs throughout their thirty-minute set, completely blowing my expectations out of the water. As it was the last day of the tour, there happened to be the last day of tour pranks. The other bands ran on stage during the band’s final song, “Monster,” and started randomly taking apart Decker’s drum kit mid-song. It was pretty funny, to say the least, and it made me wonder what pranks would come going forward. Stitched Up Heart as a whole seems to have stepped things up since the lockdown, really fine-tuning things and coming back tighter than ever.

SETLIST

  1. This Skin
  2. Warrior
  3. Catch Me When I Fall
  4. Finally Free
  5. Lost
  6. My Demon
  7. Monster

Up next as direct support was Infected Rain from Chisinau, Moldova. I got into Infected Rain’s music shortly after 2019’s “Endorphin” was unleashed to the world via Napalm Records. This was the band’s first US tour, as their 2020 tour with Swallow The Sun was cancelled due to the pandemic. The band’s sound is the perfect combination of metalcore, melodic death metal, and progressive metal. The band started their set with the song “Pendulum” from that 2019 album I just mentioned. This song is the perfect showcasing of vocalist Lena Scissorhands’ vocal prowess, showing a good amount of her harsh fry screaming, along with lots of her cleans, making for probably their most dynamic song on “Endorphin.” A core part of the band’s sound is downtuned guitars with djenty riffs, courtesy of Vadim “Vidick” Ojog and Serghei Babici. The band then went on to their second song, “Mold,” from their 2017 record “86”, which the band released independently. A big part of progressive metal is the deep, intricate bass tones provided by Vladimir Babich. The band is tight as all hell, and the foundation of any tight band is the drummer, whose part is essential in terms of tempo and keeping on the beat. Drummer Eugene Voluta is an absolute beast on stage, demolishing those double bass parts and obliterating the stage. The band moved onto their third song, “Black Gold,” one of the singles from that 2019 record “Endorphin.” In my honest opinion, Infected Rain blew me away with their control of the stage and just how tight they were. I was very much looking forward to their set, and they did not disappoint. Just like with Stitched Up Heart, Infected Rain found themselves in the midst of the end of tour pranks. During the final song, “Sweet, Sweet Lies,” of the band’s ten-song set, members from Butcher Babies and Stitched Up Heart came on stage and unleashed a pillow fight onto the members of Infected Rain. It was an all-out pillow fight to the death, and I couldn’t help but hysterically laugh. Infected Rain was absolutely incredible and set a very high bar for the whole night.

SETLIST

  1. Pendulum
  2. Mold
  3. Black Gold
  4. Passerby
  5. Freaky Carnival
  6. Endless Stairs
  7. Fool the Gravity
  8. Orphan Soul
  9. The Earth Mantra

Sweet, Sweet Lies

Finally, Butcher Babies come home to Los Angeles, CA, and hit the stage! For the band’s tenth anniversary tour, they decided to play eight of the twelve songs from their debut 2013 album “Goliath,” released via Century Media Records. I would best describe the band’s sound as a perfect blend between metalcore, death metal, thrash metal, and progressive metal. The band came prepared for this tour, with a light show and headbangs galore. Opening the show with “I Smell A Massacre,” the stage lit up bright red, showcasing the brutality and grittiness these songs from “Goliath” have. This first song is a fast one and showcases the vocal stylings of Heidi Shephard and Carla Harvey. Carla has a deeper guttural sound, while Heidi has the high screams on point. They both have a mixture of clean singing and screaming in their registers during this opening song, really showcasing a large amount of variety within this heavy song. Their second song, “The Mirror Never Lies,” opens up with this groovy guitar hook that can be heard throughout the song, courtesy of guitarist Henry Flury. This song is just groove central, even showcasing the bass in the forefront in sections. It’s moments like this where each member really shines, and you really feel all of the puzzle pieces individually come together. I love me a groovy djent song, and those bass tones from Ricky Bonazza are really showcased deep in the roots of this groove-heavy song. The band then moved on to their third song, the popular single from 2015’s “Take It Like A Man” titled “Monsters Ball.” This song is super thrashy, groovy, and heavy. You can really hear the intricate drum parts from drummer Chase Brickenden as he slams those drums to his’ heart’s content. “Monsters Ball” was the song that got me into the band in the first place, so to photograph them during this song was AMAZING. The band played many other songs from Goliath, my personal favorite being “In Denial.” This song has a classic metalcore vibe and is more on the tame side while also being heavy. It has the perfect yin and yang. The band also played quite a few of their new singles, such as “Bottom of a Bottle,” “It’s Killin’ Time, Baby!”, “Sleeping With the Enemy,” and “Yorktown.” They even played a game of Red Light, Green Light with the crowd, paying homage to the viral Netflix sensation “Squid Games.” Their set was absolutely incredible, and they seem to have somehow leveled up since the last time I saw them back in 2018. They absolutely killed it and proved why they are still so beloved 11 years after their debut in the scene. They definitely defeated Goliath in Los Angeles.

SETLIST

  1. I Smell a Massacre
  2. The Mirror Never Lies
  3. Monsters Ball
  4. It’s Killin’ Time, Baby!
  5. C8H18 (Gasoline)
  6. Grim Sleeper
  7. In Denial
  8. Bottom of a Bottle
  9. The Deathsurround
  10. Axe Wound
  11. Sleeping With The Enemy
  12. Yorktown

ENCORE

13. They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! (Napoleon XIV cover)

14. Magnolia Blvd.