Last night was on fire with the high impact, high energy display by Bullet For My Valentine at the Commodore Ballroom. With the three opening slots filled by Drive A, Black Tide and Escape The Fate the night was sure to be an explosion. The fans were pumped the booze was swirling and the speakers were stuck on 11. Overall it was hot,loud and intrusive, just the way the paying customers like it.
Drive A, yet again, was by far the best performance of the night. With the fuck-it punk attitude fueling lead singer Bruno Mascolo, their is always mayhem to follow. His band mates surrounding him with destructive energy and high paced rhythms and he uses it like fuel to tare the roof off the place. Jason Nott and Taylor Knowles are possessed and strike their guitars with anger and precision. Cody Root, on drums, slaps those skins like a mad man, it is the only time you will hear drums before the rest of the music; true power.
Bruno unleashes his energy by taunting the audience, much like Iggy Pop and Johnny Rotten did in the pioneer days. He coaxes them and toys with them, like a cat with a mouse, until he says screw it and just does it himself. On this night in particular he asked the crowd to get rowdy, sure it was only 7:30 but, it was time to let it out. He started saying things like “Turn to the person next to you and kick them in the fucking balls”. Still no one got the point, well very few anyways. Finally it was on, Mr. Mascolo jumped on to the floor and tried to incite a mini riot. He bounced off the patrons like a corn kernel in a popping machine. It was a sad day in Vancouver, no one could answer the lead singers cries and get the house bashing around. It was borerline embarrassing to witness.The bottom line is Drive A is a powder keg, just light that wick and run like hell.’
Next to the docket was Black Tide. These demon spawns are a mixture of a pile of genres. They have classic rock, and blues and thrash and emocore and everything. Its almost like they do not know what they want to be, or it would seem anyways. But this is not the case, they owned the stage. Their live show is completely involved and fan driven. The solos weren’t embellished, they were controlled and added depth to the songs. The drummer was like a monkey on acid, with his limbs flailing all over, it was a perfect case of effortless precision. The lead singer has a great set of pipes on him, but it still felt like they couldn’t match the energy of the previous group, so in comparing apples to oranges, the apples won.
Third seat was taken by Escape The Fate. Who like Black Tide has a smattering of various themes in their music and varying styles. They were heavier and more dramatic though. The lead singer, Craig Mabbitt, is intense and controls the stage and the audience in his tightly clenched fist. At one point he poured a beer over his own head and then spat the dripping into the audience. They loved it, they lit up like kids at Christmas. This group knows their sound, and has a maturity about their display. Again they still could not match what Drive A had brought to the night. In this time apples to bananas, and again the apples take it without a doubt.
Finally to the stage it was time to be graced by the headliners, Bullet For My Valentine. This band can hold their won, this band is intense and this band has a following of fanatics that will chase them across this planet. Their sound was tight, and rocked the house with stupefying levels of sound. But the energy from the band was lacking a little. To top it off the first 3 songs or so the lead singers mic kept getting disconnected, so you could barely here his vocals. This band did provide one thing the opener could not match, and that was the excitement and respect from the mass before them. These music lovers were going insane, mosh pits erupted, crowd surfers started to pour over into the media pit, one after the other. It was a spectacle to say the least.
All in all Bullet For My Valentine had the maturity and the pedigree too take the night. They brought down the house, if not by their direct performance but by the aggressive fans they control. No matter the reason, their performance had the Commodore Ballroom literally shaking. Drive A should have been the third band to play though, they buried the other two bands, so much so that it made their performances inconsequential. To see a show consisting of BFMV opened by Drive A only would be an ideal scenario. This would offer a greater chance that both bands would take the stage together. This would mean a perfect storm. Bullet For My Valentine are the dark thrash in the night, and on this night they thrashed us good.