Messengers, one of the most revolutionary metalcore albums, turns ten this year and and August Burns Red set out on tour to celebrate. Hitting the road with them was '68, a rock duo that opened up the night hailing from Atlanta. The crowd was already packed in for the openers so they had quite an audience to perform to, and the crowd's energy was high leading in. The duo consists of vocalist and guitarist Josh Scogin (formerly of Norma Jean and The Chariot) and drummer Michael McClellan. The two pack a punch live and despite only having one mobile member, Scogin's wasted no stage space in jumping around and on top of McClellan's drumset.
Byron Bay, Australia's In Hearts Wake was up next, bringing out poppy metalcore and a giant inflatable alligator. I'm all about bands that play to the crowd, but even moreso interact with the crowd on crazy levels - and we see a lot of that at Revolution. Countless members of countless acts have walked the bar next to the stage, got into the pit, or jumped into the crowd - but it's safe to say we've never seen a frontman surf the top of the crowd on a giant inflatable pool toy alligator.
Protest the Hero out of Whitby, Ontario took the stage following IHW. I had never heard Protest the Hero, much less seen them live, so I can't describe what when through my mind as this stoic man took the mic and proceeded to put out some of the cleanest and most beautiful falsettos I've heard in modern metal. The entire set was an epic display of pure 80's metal that came out swinging full force, and the crowd didn't stop moving for a single song of their forty-five minute set. Singer Rody Walker called out to the crowd in search of a Spiderman mask he had spotted earlier on - eventually it made it's way to the stage and we were treated to a superhero serenade.
The Messengers album needs no introduction to August Burns Red fans. It was the breakthrough album that defined ABR as one of the metalcore greats and was the first album to feature the current lineup of the band with Jake Luhrs as their vocalist. Anniversary tours always seem super nostalgic in the moment, fans are remembering songs that got them through some of their best (and worst) times, but also reveling in getting to hear some never before played live songs (or songs that haven't graced a setlist in many years). ABR fans didn't hold back, as they chanted along the choruses and kept the moshpit going the entire set - circling a vast majority of the floor.
After playing through Messengers in it's entirety, the band returned for a six song encore, topping the set out at a solid 75 minutes of pure-in-your-face contagious energy. The encore included a wicked drum solo courtesy of Matt Greiner, and the band also exploded into well known hits such as "Empire" and "Ghosts." August Burns Red is always a great time live, and a crazy performance to take in, but the fans, and band, really brought out all the stops in honor of Messengers. ABR will be finishing out the US leg of this tour in mid-February, and then heading overseas later in the summer.
1. The Truth of a Liar
2. Up Against the Ropes
3. Back Burner
4. The Blinding Light
6. Vital Signs
7. The Eleventh Hour
8. The Balance
9. Black Sheep
10. An American Dream
Encore: Drum Solo