My weekend was amazing– a little out of the ordinary for me– but amazing. From finally experiencing the very talented Minnesota Orchestra on Friday night to witnessing comedic genius with Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes on Saturday, it sure was a full weekend but it felt like something was missing. Both Friday and Saturday night were great but they weren’t rock shows. I didn’t have to compete with crowds of people for breathing room and didn’t smell the scent of sweat through the air. Those things may not sound like fun to you but, to me, they are my air, my water, they are what I need to survive. Dramatic? Absolutely but it’s so true and that’s why no matter how amazing but Friday and Saturday was for me, it wasn’t until I walked into a sold out Armory on Sunday night that I really felt like myself and felt alive (other than the nasty cold I’ve been fighting all weekend).
Can’t Swim kicked things off and instantly reminded me that they are one to watch. I’ve heard them before and have always liked their music but their live show brought so much more to the table. Reading back, I saw these guys back in November of 2017 with Joyce Manor. I remember enjoying them but don’t remember them being anywhere near as intense then as they were last night. A heavy mix of hardcore beats with almost pop-punk infused guitar work, their sound was infectious and aggressive. Although they only had twenty minutes on stage and it seemed like their set was over before I could even get in a good spot to see them, they definitely left an impression on the crowd and I can’t wait to see them again hopefully headlining their own tour next year. They definitely have the energy and passion that it takes to make a good headliner.
Beartooth is one of those bands that just hit me at the right time and their words meant everything to me for so long. Although I don’t listen to them as much as I used to (or as much as I should for that matter), I couldn’t contain my excitement as they blasted onto the stage after Can’t Swim. Fronted by Caleb Shomo of Attack Attack! fame, Beartooth has a very aggressive and in your face style to not only their music, but also their live show. Although it has been years since I’ve been able to see them live, nothing seems to have really changed. They still absolutely bring the energy on stage and have a way of getting people to move without really asking them to. There’s a sense of power and command in their music and that energy is something that will keep Beartooth at the top of the scene when it comes to live shows.
Following Beartooth’s quick set was I Prevail from Michigan. I have to be honest, I’ve seen these guys before and have listened to their music and it’s just never really been for me. That changed last night. Much like Beartooth, there was something powerful about I Prevail’s set. There was something that captivated you and made you want to get a little aggressive and make you mosh out any stresses in your life whether you knew their songs or not. I watched in awe as clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser and screamer Eric Vanlerberghe worked together to get the crowd amped. Although their music is definitely heavy and in your face, there’s something thoughtful and almost emotional about their songs and you could feel that in the audience. I Prevail may not mean much to me but they clearly mean everything to their fans and the band seems to treat their fans with a sense of respect whether it’s the songs they chose to play (they played everything from fast and almost nu-metal like songs to a slower ballad that had the woman next to me feeling all of the feels) or the way they threw water bottles out to the overheated and over excited audience. I’m not sure if I Prevail’s music will ever hit me in such a monumental way as some of the people around me but their live show definitely had me respecting this band more than I ever have just from listening to their recordings.
The first three bands were great but the real excitement of the night and the reason for the sold out venue was A Day To Remember. Where to begin with this band? Since 2003, this Florida born band has been climbing the ladder and bridging gaps between metalcore and accessible almost pop-punk sounds. Their 2007 album ‘For Those Who Have Heart’ was the soundtrack to me leaving high school and beginning life in college. That album hit all of the boxes as far as aggressive music to make you wake up and lyrics that were almost too relateable. It was as if vocalist Jeremy McKinnon knew exactly what I was going through and he was there to comfort me and everyone else in my generation who found solace in this band. Times have changed and although I fell off the A Day To Remember wagon around 2013 when they released ‘Common Courtesy’, there’s no denying the impact that this band had on my life and, to see that live is something that can’t be put into words.
I’ve seen ADTR multiple times before but there was something different about last night. Although there was plenty of production value from balls of flames shooting up from the back of the stage to fireworks and smoke cannons, there was something more genuine about their performance on Sunday than I had ever felt from them before. Sure, they’ve always been a band that has seemingly kept their heads from getting to big but they are clearly kings of the scene and, I don’t care how good of a person you are, that changes you. The members of ADTR don’t hang by their merch table like they did back in the day but there was still and undeniable sense of gratitude that was felt from the stage.
Just like the previous two bands, ADTR’s nearly twenty song set seemed to be over in the blink of an eye. From the first note of “The Downfall of Us All” to the final chord of “The Plot To Bomb the Panhandle”, it was hit after hit. I couldn’t sing along to all of the songs as I have only briefly listened to their new music, but that didn’t stop me from screaming the lyrics I grew up with during their older tracks at the top of my lungs. Their setlist was perfect and merged new and old, fast and slow, but my favorite song of the set had to have been their quick cover of “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit. Although it wasn’t the full song, listening to a band who had such an impact on my life play one of my favorite songs of all time was just the icing on the cake of an already amazing evening.
Getting out of my comfort zone at the orchestra on Friday and at the movie screening on Saturday was great but being at a good ol’ fashioned rock show on Sunday was bliss.
Venue: The Armory
Sausage Fest Meter- 8 out of 10
Smell-O-Meter – A slight hint of weed; Sweat
Average Age of the Crowd- 27
Crowd Surfers- Definitely lost count after about 50; On top of that, there were surfers on top of surfers (seriously– it’s a ADTR thing but people were literally crowd surfing on top of crowd surfers)
Moshability- 9.96 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None Witnessed But I’m Sure Some People Were Hurting This Morning
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Bodies; Beach Balls; Drinks; Clothes
Fights- None Witnessed
Pukers- None Witnessed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None Witnessed
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 9.3 out of 10
Show on Deck- The Menzingers/ Tigers Jaw/ Culture Abuse
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