Although shows are slowly but surely starting to pick up, something has been missing since the first of the year. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but, as soon as I walked into The Cabooze on Saturday night, I realized what it was. I was missing a good metal show surrounded by all of my friends that have turned into family and, little did I know, that was all I needed right now.
The heavy tour line-up was kicked off by Ocean Grove from Australia. With only one album out at this point (although they’ve been a band since 2010), it’s fair to say that Ocean Grove is a fairly new band to the American scene but, after hearing them, it’s no surprise that they are already billing larger tours like the one last night. The five piece has a very nu-metal sound while still staying in the metalcore vein of the rest of the tour package. Being the first band on such a heavy-hitting line-up must be hard for these guys as it was clear the audience was preserving their energy for what was to come but that didn’t stop them. They gave the sold out crowd everything they had and acquired many fans from doing so. Their set may have been short but it definitely packed a punch and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on a few more tours across America yet this year.
Set change overs were quick and it seemed like as soon as Ocean Grove left the stage, Erra was poised and ready to go. I’ve seen Erra multiple times now and am always thoroughly impressed with them. The thing that gets me with this group is always singer/ guitarist Jesse Cash’s vocals. In the metalcore world, it’s always a game of how deep can your growls be and how sinister can you make you voice sound but Jesse’s voice is a breath of fresh air in the scene. His clean vocals in high pitches that I would dare other metalcore vocalists to even try always leave me impressed. The way his almost Anthony Green-esque vocals mold with the heavier than heavy instrumentation and the growling vocals of J.T. Cavey (their new vocalist) was enough to give me goosebumps last night. Erra is one of those bands that is clearly doing the grind and are finally seeing it pay off. With multiple tours under their belts and three full lengths albums out at this point, there are big things coming from this band with the new vocalist and I, for one, am super excited to see what happens.
Up next was a personal favorite of mine- Born of Osiris. Having seen these guys over twenty times over the years, I kind of knew what to expect from them but was still excited to have yet another change to see this amazing Chicago based group. Since 2003 (although under different name until they finally settled on BOO in 2007), this group has been putting out some of the best deathcore music I’ve heard. With an ever-growing fan base, it’s refreshing to see a band who has been doing this for so long still have a passion that’s apparent in their live shows. Vocalist Ronnie Canizaro has a way of interacting with the crowd like every show is an intimate coffee house show in a way. He clearly cares about his fans and I think that’s one of the many reasons this band is able to keep up with such an oversaturated scene.
BOO’s Saturday night set was full of some oldie but goodies, and some new songs. Each song they performed was played with a sense of precision and energy that you can only get from seasoned veterans of the scene. They played my favorite song, “Abstract Art”, just a couple of tracks in and, although that was the one song I wanted to hear, I found myself enthralled in their set throughout the entire thing which, for someone who was surrounded by friends she hadn’t seen in months, is truly saying something. The crowd seemed to be just as into it as I was and, as the crowd surfers started making their way up to the barricade, the rest of the crowd was pushing and shoving their way through the heavy set.
Closing out the night was Philadelphia based August Burns Red. If you want to talk about truly impressive lifespans of bands in the metalcore scene you can’t ignore August Burns Red. I remember seeing these guys back when I was still in high school and, although I was a bit hesitant to go see a Christian metal band as a Jew, I went and was more than impressed and now never miss a chance to see them live. Since day one this group has had a hell of a show that, even if you don’t like their message or their music, you love their live show. Although over the years their sound seems to have changed and gone a bit soft, the energy is still there and as I was standing there last night, I was still thoroughly impressed by these guys.
Although they are a Christian band, they are not preachy and let their lyrics do the talking for them instead of some long spiel that makes certain audience members feel alienated and that’s something I truly respect when it comes to this group. I’ve seen too many Christian metal bands that spend ten minutes preaching on stage and leave people like myself feeling uncomfortable and out of place. Sure, some of the lyrics are a bit much for me but if you take those away, you are left with pure, solid metal music that you can’t help but respect.
Throughout last night’s set, ABR seemed to focus on newer tracks. These tracks seemed to have a bit of a darker and slower tone than their 2005 album “Thrill Seeker” that had me falling head over heels for this group. Regardless, each song was performed with a sense of integrity that made every song feel like the best song they had ever put out. With lights whizzing around the venue and bodies being surfed to the front of the stage, ABR’s set was full of energy, movement, and everything else you could ever ask for in a show like this.
The personalities of the members shined as singer Jake Luhrs stated that the band will be backing the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday’s game and, if they actually pull of a trip to the Super Bowl, will also be cheering for them there. The rest of the band agreed as the crowd cheered (who knew metal heads were so into sportsball?!). At one point a young couple was brought up on stage for a very special proposal. It was great to see a band so supportive of doing a proposal on stage and you could truly feel the love as the girl said yes and the crowd (band included) started chanting “She said yes!” as the two lovers shared a big juicy kiss on stage. It’s moments like that proposal that remind you that bands like August Burns Red are just real people with real lives and it’s truly humbling.
Last night was one of those nights where I would have been more than fine chilling in the back and socializing with my friends but the music wouldn’t allow me to do so. The music was too good, too heavy and the live show too infectious. That’s the way a show should be. If you can stop me from socializing you’ve done your job. Kudos to all of the bands last night for doing that.