November 13, 2015 Amaranthe, Butcher Babies, & Lullwater Collide In NYC 11-4-15
Swedish Metallers Amaranthe have been making waves on the scene with their Modern Melodic Metal sound since the release of the self-titled 2011 debut album. Hitting charts from Finland to across the seas in Japan, it has been nothing but full speed ahead ever since as they produced two more records, including 2014’s Massive Addictive. Continuing to to support Massive Addictive, they have been appearing in North America regularly, including last Fall’s support of Within Temptation, and recently their headlining tour last Spring. Luckily, fans rejoiced in early September after hearing the announcement of their new twenty-two date North American headlining tour. This time around, dubbing it the Massive Collision Tour, they join forces with another fellow multi-vox Metal act in Butcher Babies, along with the Rock band Lullwater. As the tour was heating up since the initial kick-off date on October 29th in Atlanta, GA, less than a week later they were ready to conquer New York City on Wednesday November 4th in the East Village at the intimate Webster Hall’s Marlin Room.
Warming up the evening with an Alternative Rock vibe were the Georgians known as Lullwater. Hailing from the city of Athens, these Southern Rockers have been working tirelessly since 2010. Incorporating sounds of ’90s Grunge while staying true to their down-home roots, Lullwater beg to be different than the cookie-cutter acts. Living the life of road warriors, Lullwater has toured with acts such as Flyleaf, among others. Going non-stop since the release of their 2013 self-titled debut album, they continue to build a name with their latest record Revival, which was released on October 23rd.
Ready to go, the lights kicked in as John Strickland (rhythm guitar/vocals), Brett Strickland (lead guitar), Joseph Wilson (drums), and Ray Beatty (bass/vocals) hit the stage. Bringing an energetic vibe right from the get-go during tracks such as “Albatross,” “Tug of War,” and “Waste Yourself,” Lullwater showed New York City how passionate they are, bringing a non-generic brand of Rock to the masses in the most sincere fashion. Fans clapped along and enjoyed their Soundgarden/Alice in Chains influenced Hard Rock cuts, up until the instrumental closeout jam. Be sure to check out Lullwater’s new record Revival and prepare to be wowed.
Next up to the stage were the ruthless Los Angeles Metallers Butcher Babies. Pounding the pavement since their formation in 2010, they have signed onto a handful of tours supporting acts such as Black Label Society, In This Moment, and GWAR, among many others. Recently released their second studio album, Take it Like a Man, which climbed onto Billboard charts, this evening they were ready to present these new tunes to their growing New York fanbase. Slowly walking onto the stage, Chris Warner (drums), Henry Flury (guitar), and Jason Klein (bass) entered. Stirring up the anticipation in the house, fans were eager to see the dueling vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey as the confident ladies walked up to the platform. Conquering the stage, Harvey and Shepherd moved around with headbanging fire to Take it Like a Man’s “Monster’s Ball,” “Never Go Back,” “The Cleansing,” and “Igniter.” No stranger to riling up the crowd, Shepherd roared, “We are here to fuck shit up!”
Moving back to 2012’s self-titled EP had Harvey engage with the crowd even further as they went into “Jesus Needs More Babies For His War Machine” and “Mr. Slowdeath.” The stamina and constant movement did not diminish as they continued to charge into the latest “Gravemaker” and the fireball “Thrown Away.” This heavy set held no barricades as fans were welcome to sing along with Shepherd and Harvey, as a few briefly crowd-surfed onto the stage just before security rushed them off. Closing their fierce set with “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” from the 2014 Uncovered EP and “Magnolia Blvd.” from 2013’s Goliath left fans screaming. Shepherd promised to meet every single person in the crowd by the merchandise booth, where several eagerly followed. It is no secret now that Butcher Babies are incredible to see live. Since they live and breath the road life, they will be back soon as another tour was announced for them in early 2016 in support of the mighty Cradle of Filth.
As the venue piled up, fans were ready to see Amaranthe take the spotlight. Excited to experience a fulfilling headlining set, many fans cheered from the get-go. Formerly known as Avalanche, since their 2008 formation by founders Jake E. Lundberg (clean vocals) and Olof Mörck (guitar/keyboard), Elize Ryd (clean vocals), Morten Løwe Sørensen (drummer), and Johan Andreassen (bass) soon followed. Shortly after 2013’s The Nexus, original harsh vocalist, Andreas Solveström, amicably departed ways from the group where Henrik Englund came on board with open arms and 2014’s Massive Addictive transpired. Due to a family emergency, Lundberg was unable to attend as Chris Adam, a close friend of the group, honorably filled in as the band made their way onto the stage.
Spiking the evening with an alienesque atmosphere, the lights strobed as the latest “Digital World” began, followed by “Trinity.” While fans embraced the newer tunes, an older sound commenced, and a rush of screams in the audience crescendoed as “Hunger” from 2011’s debut album hit. Maintaining energy and engagement with the crowd, the smiling Ryd informed all how wonderful it was to be able to see and touch everyone in the intimate setting as they moved into “Invincible” from The Nexus. Choreographed well, despite having three front-running vocalists, everyone had a moment in the spotlight, including the animated Andreassen during “1.000.000 Lightyears.” Grooving along, the tight-knit group glowed during “Mechanical Illusion,” where it was obvious how much they were enjoying the New York energy.
Slowing down the pace, Ryd introduced Chris Adam as they went into the dynamic “Over and Done” from Massive Addictive. Picking up the pace once again, fans raise their fists while howling during the crushing tunes “Massive Addictive,” “True,” “Afterlife,” and the radiating “Electroheart.” Keeping the excitement alive, Sørensen swooned the house with an ultimate drum solo that pounded into “Leave Everything Behind.” Changing the flow, Ryd conversed with the crowd by introducing a special guest in the house. Her cousin Isabella was standing in the midst of the sea of fans as Ryd informed all that it was her birthday. Gathering everyone in the house together, they sung “Happy Birthday” to Ryd’s cousin. She then announced the next track, “Amaranthine,” as a special thank you to the fans in the house. The night was coming to a near close as “Call Out My Name” chimed in, and fans were left begging for the ultimate encore.
After a moment of darkness, the stage lights turned on as Andreassen grabbed the microphone, taunting all by asking if they were from New Jersey; a way to trigger the New Yorker crowd to scream louder. Continuing to converse, Andreassen mentioned how great it was to be back in New York City. Moving along, the rest of the band fled onto the stage, and the encore kicked in with “The Nexus,” “Razorblade,” and “Dynamite.” Englund spoke up to the crowd as he aggressively asked the audience, “What if I say drop dead?” As fans roared, the finale “Drop Dead Cynical” ensued.
In few words, Amaranthe’s performance was remarkable. Their energy and presence alone sparked a house of jubilant fans. Knowing where to look, when to headbang, and shine for their fans, it was a memorable experience. This round of the North American tour wraps up on November 29th at San Jose, CA . While the unlikely joining forces of Lullwater, Butcher Babies, and Amaranthe cocked some heads sideways, it proves to be a refreshing mix of three different, talented bands. Following their latest tour of the USA, Amaranthe will be heading to their homeland, along with a few dates lined up in January 2016, but keep a close eye on what the new brings for this surging band.