There are a few things that bring people together: Star Wars, beer and good music. April Fools’ Day evening has plenty of the latter two.
TOOTHGRINDER hit the stage first and their music’s as in your face as the all caps spelling of the band’s name. Imagine if Meshuggah didn’t feel the need to pummel the listener for every second of every song and was lead by Thor. I’m not kidding about the last part, singer Justin Matthews has long blonde hair and his stage presence makes me think he’s from Asgard and could beat anybody in a drinking/arm wrestling contest. Guitarist Johnuel Hasney held things down even when he tripped and finished a segment of a song from the ground. TOOTHGRINDER is definitely a band to keep an eye on.
36 Crazyfists, took the stage next, with a no frills attitude. The band played their entire set at full throttle speed, singer Brock Lindow running from stage left to right the entire set. Kyle Baltus is a mad man behind the drum kit, he’s pure energy and intensity. This band has been around for some time and has their stage presence down pat: menacing, foreboding and angry. It works and they always put on a great show.
Memphis May Fire came out swinging and didn’t stop, singer Matty Mullins throwing himself into every song. Drummer Jake Garland’s kick drum hit so hard that I could feel a gust of air in the photo pit on especially heavy songs. Their set was consistent overall, delivering plenty of energy and the crowd was into them. This could be because there were quite few people there with Memphis May Fire shirts on and not new ones that were just purchased from the merch table, but old loved shirts. Yet, I think it had more to do with their brand of infectious metalcore.
Killswitch Engage’s new album Incarnate was released less than a month ago and it’s pretty damn good. I think the audience at the show would agree, since it seemed as if they knew all of the words to new staples such as “Strength of the Mind”, “Hate by Design” and “Alone I Stand”. Lead singer Jesse Leach is a man of the people. He doesn’t let a small thing like a barricade get in the way of getting up close and personal with his fans, spending a good portion of “A Bid Farewell” sharing the mic with fans up front. When not on the floor, he’s on stage exorcising his inner demons, throwing everything he has into every lyric. Bassist Mike D’Antonio doesn’t stand still much, moving around the stage, flinging his bass around like an axe, holding it high in the air. The beauty of Killswitch Engage is that everyone on stage is into what is happening, no matter who you watch you will be entertained. Adam Dutkiewicz being probably the funniest on stage member of the band, dancing like a clown and even giving the front row his version of ass shaking. The silliness of his performance is what balances out the heavier moments of Jesse Leach’s lyrics. Killswitch Engage is one of the best live acts out there right now, managing to impress without the frills of theatrics, but rather on sheer charisma, energy and talent. If you don’t enjoy seeing Killswitch Engage live, you either don’t have a pulse or you’re not paying attention.
Remaining dates for the Incarnate tour, which you should really go see:
4/3 – Vancouver, BC — Vogue Theatre 4/4 – Portland, OR — Roseland Theater 4/6 – Boise, ID — Knitting Factory Concert House 4/7 – Sacramento, CA — Ace of Spades 4/8 – Pomona, CA — Fox Theater Pomona 4/9 – Tempe, AZ — The Marquee 4/11 – Oklahoma City, OK. — Diamond Ballroom 4/12 – Sauget, IL — Pop’s Nightclub 4/14 – Cleveland, OH — House Of Blues 4/15 – Binghamton, NY — Magic City Music Hall 4/17 – Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom 4/19 – London, ON — London Music Hall 4/20 – Grand Rapids, MI — The Intersection 4/21 – Cincinnati, OH — Bogart’s 4/22 – Asheville, NC — The Orange Peel 4/24 – Ladson, SC — Exchange Park (WYBB Rockfest)*