January 28, 2015 August Burns Red & Miss May I lead charge in NYC 1-23-15 w/ Northlane, Fit For a King, & Erra
Some of Metal’s heavyweights are kicking off the new year wasting no time to hit the road for touring. Among those doing so are August Burns Red, who jump-started the The Frozen Flame Tour on January 22nd in Baltimore, Maryland. With direct support from Miss May I, Northlane, Erra, and Fit For a King, this is a lineup that is bound to ignite utter chaos and take no prisoners. Fittingly showing no fear of Northeastern winter weather in late January, for night two of the tour the bands came to Irving Plaza in New York City on Friday the 23rd, just hours prior to the onset of a snowstorm. With New Yorkers ready to go, the venue quickly filled up, and before long, it was evident that this was going to be a sold out show packed with excitement.
First to the stage was Birmingham, Alabama’s Erra. The four-piece Progressive metal-core band came onto the scene in 2009, and it has been nothing but a steady rise since. Signed with Tragic Hero Records, the band released its sophomore album Augment in 2013 to rave reviews, and despite the departure of vocalist Garrison Lee along with guitarist Alan Rigdon in July of 2014, the band quickly enlisted new vocalist Ian Eubanks. Now armed with Eubanks fronting them, guitarist Jesse Cash, bassist Sean Price, and drummer Alex Ballew blasted off the night with ferocity and fire. Performing a short, but strong set including “Dreamcatcher,” “Warrior,” and “Hybrid Earth,” Erra had complete control of this restless audience. With the Moments of Clarity EP already under their belt with Eubanks, the future looks promising.
Following next was Texas’ Fit For A King. Partaking in an early 2014 tour with For Today, Fit For A King have spent a great deal of time on the road over the past years building a following. Releasing their third full-length album titled Slave To Nothing in October 2014, the band’s announcement of this opening slot on The Frozen Flame Tour fit like a glove. A momentous silence came over the room just before the band, led by vocalist Ryan Kirby, created chaos with “Hollow King (Sound of the End).” With guitarist Bobby Lynge and bassist Jared Easterling’s constant movement all over the stage, fans broke into mosh pits through “Forever Broken,” “Young and Undeserving,” and the jolting guitar chugging of “Slave to Nothing.” Dominating and inspiring at times, this band delivered everything they had until their closing cries of “Warpath” when the mosh pits were opened far and wide.
The time had come for the Australians known as Northlane. As part of the American Dream Tour back in 2014, this talented band turned heads and won over many ears of new fans. Withstanding the untimely departure of Adrian Fitipaldes in 2014, the band is now fronted by Sound of Seasons vocalist Marcus Bridge with the dedicated cast of Jon Deily (guitar), Josh Smith (guitar), Alex Miolvic (bass), and Nic Petterson (drums). Wasting no time in bringing on the heavy metallic tones of their music, the band played fan favorite “Quantum Flux,” which had everyone moving immediately. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Bridge belted out a tremendous vocal performance filled with emotion and passion felt most heavily in “Windbreaker” as well as new track “Rot.” Wrapping up their tight set with “Scarab” and “Masquerade,” Northlane put on an exceptional show. Stay tuned for their newest album due out sometime toward the middle of 2015.
Winded, yet ready for more action, the audience prepared for Rise Records’ Miss May I up next. Wrapping up one of the busiest years of their seven year career in 2014 with new album Rise of the Lions, a spot on the summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and a stint on Knotfest, one could say Miss May I are red hot. Looking to keep that fire burning, the band’s direct supporting slot for August Burns Red not only was anticipated by fans, but justified. As they opened the set with their most notable and a sure crowd favorite song, “Hey Mister,” the adrenaline was flowing rapidly. With lyrics conveying deep subject matter, such as dealing with the absence of a father figure, Miss May I brought a sense of strength, love, and respect mutually shared with fans. “Masses of a Dying Breed” followed immediately afterward, and the crowd welcomed the song’s thunderous intro by opening a large pit in the center of the floor. After a quick break to check in with the overflowing Irving plaza crowd, the band stormed through a block of killer Metal tracks including “Forgive and Forget,” “Gone,” “Our Kings,” “Hero with no Name,” “Dance with Aera Cura,” and last but not least, the band’s first listeners’ love “Relentless Chaos.” This band shows the poise of one ready for headlining spots sooner rather than later. Their command over the crowd was unbelievable, and for that reason Miss May I are a must see.
Now on to the Frozen Flames tour headliner August Burns Red. Hailing from Lancaster Pennsylvania, August Burns Red have a solid reputation of being a very technical and tight sounding live band that never disappoints. Ready to put that bold statement to the test, New Yorkers reached deep down for their last ounces of endurance to withstand what was mere moments away.
From the opening lead guitar notes of “White Washed,” the crowd exploded into excitement with arms and limbs flailing in circular motions everywhere. The five piece juggernaut tied every single voice in Irving Plaza together screaming, “Don’t say another word, you’ve crossed the line.” Sending chills down the spines of those bearing witness, “Beauty in Tragedy,” “Thirty and Seven,” “Spirit Breaker,” and “The Eleventh Hour” came thereafter, and a crowd-pleasing version of “Marianas Trench” followed to keep hearts beating rapidly.
When this set began, lead vocalist Jake Luhr’s shirt was a light grey color, but by this point in the show it could only be described as “dark-soaked.” This is simply a respectable sign of an artist who is giving his audience everything he’s got in his performance, and Luhur’s passion was felt deeply. Bringing his devotion for fitness to fruition on stage, the band broke into their song “Fault line” and Luhur asked the very willing crowd to do push ups when the song began. While this is something one seldom ever sees at a concert, it went over surprisingly well and should perhaps be adopted more often as an escape from the norm. Always known to bring unique footwear to a Metal show, August Burn Red guitarist JB Brubaker was not only shredding some serious scales, but he was also rocking flip-flops. After drummer Matt Greiner completely dazzled on “The Seventh Trumpet,” the stage emptied out to allow him a chance to bask in the spot light he deserved, and he ripped a fantastic drum solo complimented by a light show. At the tail end of Greiner’s killer solo, to close the night out, the rest of the band rejoined him with percussive drums to perform a group drum solo that was definitely one for the record books. With the crowd screaming for one more song, August Burns Red came out for an encore including “Carpe Diem” and finally an electrifying performance of “Empire.”
Overall, this was the kind of performance fans have come to expect of August Burns Red, and they lived up to the excellent reputation they have worked for over a decade to build. With over a month left of shows to go, Rockstar Energy Drink’s The Frozen Flame Tour is a winter break no one should miss.