BY JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
This was the perfect show for anyone whose favorite color is STROBE LIGHT.
I have to be honest here for a moment – this was an absolute bucket list show for me. Having been a fan of these bands for years, it was an incredible experience to be able to photograph not just any show that they put on, but a Halloween experience that didn’t disappoint. And although thanks to a sketchy Uber driver who kept getting turned around I missed the opening act of Can’t Swim (I’ll make it up to you guys in the future, I promise!), the remainder of the show was incredible, and the staff at the Silverstein Eyes Centers Arena in Independence, MO was top notch, so a big thanks for making a humble photographer from Nebraska feel welcome in your venue.
Beartooth arrived on stage in full regalia, from Spider-Man, Mario & Luigi, to Jesus shredding it up on his immaculately conceived guitar. They opened the set with hits from their new album “Disease,” which, personally, is one of the more complete albums released this year. Vocalist Caleb Shomo (not to be confused with Channing Tatum) fired up the crowd, instigating both circle and mosh pits while simultaneously tossing handfuls of candy to the grown children thrashing about on the arena floor. They played for about 30 minutes, playing tracks such as “Disease” and “In Between,” and while they sounded a lot different live than they do on the records (which, I must admit, can be a point of contention for me when it comes to metalcore artists), the theatrics saved the performance.
Next up was I Prevail, and these guys had the performance of the night. Promoting their new release “Trauma” which debuted earlier this year, which hits like a two-pronged slug-fest from a combined machine made from parts of Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. They opened their set list with the powerful track “Bow Down,” and while they were all dressed like “Average Joe’s” from the film “Dodgeball,” it didn’t distract from the emphasis that they put on their new material. Vocalists Eric Vanlerberghe and Brian Burkheiser were nothing short of electric, and the command they had over the audience was palatable. While other artists struggle to get their fans to commence in moshing or circle pits, it only took one mention of it from the top of the stage and the fans were eager to comply.
Towards the end of the set, Jaxon, a little fella from the Midwest (follow them on Instagram at #midwest_metal_family), joined the band on stage, dressed up as Eric. It was a highlight for two reasons – the first being that this kid loves metal, and has met this band several times. But it also demonstrated that the guys in I Prevail are real people, genuine people, and that’s both a beautiful and rare thing to find in the music industry. I spoke with his father after the show was over, and he said, “Yeah, the kid just loves going to metal shows, and so when I Prevail comes through, we always go see them because he just loves them. We do it for him.” Kudos I Prevail. If you come across this article, let’s be friends.
After an interlude of about 30 minutes, A Day to Remember took the stage. Being seen through the curtain that separated them from the crowd (hm…symbolic of “What Separates Me from You…?), the chants began for the opening of “The Downfall of us All.” And the hits kept coming. “I’m Made of Wax Larry,” “All I Want,” and their new smash hit “Rescue Me,” were all crowd pleasers. Keeping with tradition, ADTR encouraged their version of crowd surfing, where one human lays down, and another human stands on top of them, riding them like a surf board all the way to the front of the pit. While it was attempted by many, only a few really succeeded (and having seen this band a few times, it’s not a stunt that’s easily pulled off). They also kept the theatrics going, tossing candy to hungry patrons, launching shirts and beach balls into the crowd, and of course, their trademark toilet paper tossing. ADTR encored with three tracks, beginning with an acoustic rendition of “If It Means A Lot To You,” followed by their new track “Degenerates,” which is the single released from their up and coming album “You’re Welcome” which I’m hoping continues with the same energy as their last records.
After the final breakdown, streamers and confetti shot out into the crowd, making us all feel like we had just won the Super Bowl. And to an extent, we had. The fans at these shows are always magnetic, and you get to meet some of the most wonderful humans who follow artists like this, and that’s a win. We got to hear some of our favorite and most cherished tracks performed live by our favorite artists – also a win. And, we all got to experience the heartfelt “thank-you’s” delivered at the end of each performance, which is also a win. The Silverstein Eyes Centers Arena really did a nice job making sure everyone was safe and had a great time, and the show in and of itself was beyond an experience.
ADTR – thank you for the memories and for all the great shit you guys consistently pump into our earholes.