Live Review: August Burns Red – Rock City (18/10/12)

And so began the first date of the August Burns Red European Tour, with support from The Devil Wears Prada and Veil of Maya. There was a certain unpredictability in the air as Rock City opened its doors at 6pm. But with three big names sharing the stage in one night, it was never going to be disappointing.

Openers for the show were Skies in Motion, a five-piece melodic hardcore band from Derby. Being the small local act, the pressure was definitely on. As their frontman paced frantically from one side of the stage to the other, their set began. It’s always difficult being the openers, but Skies in Motion were tight musically and put on a good performance.  They had a hard time getting the audience to move, but a few stray mosh pits were evident towards the end of their 20 minute set.

Next came technical deathcore 4-piece Veil of Maya, who got off to a slow start due to their sound check taking slightly longer than expected. However, this was soon forgotten as they broke out into a frenzy of blast beats and incomprehensible time signatures. Every breakdown was met with a crushing bass drop, courtesy of drummer Sam Applebaum. This was particularly noticeable in their second track, ‘Unbreakable’, which was also the first clear demonstration of guitarist Marc Okubo’s complex guitar work: at times, his fingers looked more like a spider stretching up and down the fret board. Veil of Maya proved they could command an audience when they directed the first and only “wall of death” of the night, spanning from one side of the floor to the other. Other highlights of their impressive set included the classic ‘It’s Not Safe to Swim Today’, and their finale ‘Punisher’.

Main support came from Christian metallers The Devil Wears Prada, not to be confused with the book/film of the same title.  The charge was led by vocalist Mike Hranica, who had grown a shaggy beard somewhat comparable to Will Ferrell’s in Anchorman. Nonetheless, the band had achieved their first big circle pit by their second song. Whilst they sport a likeable blend of classic metalcore riffs and eerie synth lines, their songs tend to sound a bit samey at times. That being said, tracks such as ‘Danger Wildman’ and ‘Dez Moines’ (most known for its appearance on video game “Guitar Hero World Tour”) from their album With Roots Above and Branches Below, seemed to conjure the best response from the audience. Their set concluded with their most recent single, ‘Mammoth’, stirring their fans for one last time. Overall, a satisfactory performance.

Returning to Rock City after their outstanding performance last year on the Eastpak Antidote Tour were headliners August Burns Red. They got off to a flying start with their first song ‘Composure’, commanding yet more mosh pits and flying bodies. Their energetic fusion of flawless solos, testing drum patterns and rumbling vocals never cease to disappoint. What sets August Burns Red aside from other metal bands in their league is their stark diversity. They were able to tear the floor apart with typically heavy tracks such as ‘Meddler’ and ‘Backburner’, but then get the crowd dancing to ‘Internal Cannon’ and waving their lighters to ‘Mariana’s Trench’. Banging heads, crowd surfing and pumping fists were evident throughout – all orchestrated by vocalist Jacob Luhrs. As their set neared its inevitable conclusion, their originality also shone. With the band’s roadies bringing on what appeared to be a mini drum kit, bassist Dustin Davidson and drummer Matt Greiner proceeded to play a rather entertaining dual drum solo. As the crowd chanted and cheered, Luhrs left with one uplifting message – “never give up, always follow your dreams”. It is clear that August Burns Red are far more than just a band, they are an ethos.

Josh Levy

Josh has been listening to I, The Writer – “The Narrow Minded”

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One Comment
  • Kaine
    20 October 2012 at 14:30
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    Amazing article. I really wanted to attend this gig but I couldn’t go. This review is as close to the excitement as I’ll get!

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