July 18, 2017 Chevelle Sellout Irving Plaza, NYC 7-11-17 w/ Black Map & Dinosaur Pile-Up
Since coming together over twenty years ago, it has been hard to find an American Hard Rock band as consistent as Chevelle. Coming from the Chicago, Illinois area, Chevelle has steadily topped Rock charts since their 2002 sophomore album, Wonder What’s Next, and in 2016 they did it again with The North Corridor. An album which reached number 8 on the US Billboard 200, The North Corridor is a dark, heavy offering, and possibly one of Chevelle’s most complete efforts in some time.
Taking to the road in 2017, Chevelle has kept busy. First acting as support for Avenged Sevenfold in Europe before joining some festivals in the spring, now they are in the thick of their own headlining tour through early August. A run which finds the band hitting towns they may have missed during the initial 2016 run, after a lengthy three year absence, Chevelle brought their latest tour through New York City on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. A sold-out affair at Irving Plaza, helping get the crowd pumped for a night filled with blaring Hard Rock, Chevelle brought the up-and-coming Dinosaur Pile-Up along with San Francisco Metal trio Black Map.
Eager for the show to begin, before the Leeds, UK Rock outfit Dinosaur Pile-Up even took the stage, the main floor of Irving Plaza was already packed with people – a rarity in the NYC Rock world, as many often wait until the final act goes on before bothering to show up. Although, Dinosaur Pile-Up are no stranger to playing for massive crowds. In fact, it was just last year they opened for Alternative Rock Legends Weezer at two of their arena shows in Manchester and London. An impressive feat, once Vocalist/Guitarist Matt Bigland, Bassist Jim Cratchley, and Drummer Mike Sheils began their set, it was easy to see why Weezer selected Dinosaur Pile-Up as their support.
Since forming in 2007, Dinosaur Pile-Up have been gaining momentum in their native UK with their three studio albums, including their most recent Eleven Eleven. Initially released in Europe and Japan in 2016, Eleven Eleven officially struck American eardrums in the summer of 2016, since causing a bit of a buzz. That in mind, on stage, with his shaggy blonde hair, Bigland resembled – and even sounded a bit like – Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.
As they ran through hazy and high-energy tracks like “Birds & Planes,” “Arizona Waiting,” and “Red & Purple,” it was clear that Nirvana and other classic Alternative Rock acts like The Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer were major influences on the band’s grungy sound. They even played a little Weezer riff to end one of their songs, a treat to which many in the crowd responded with enthusiasm. Finishing off their set with two huge tracks, “Anxiety Trip” and “11:11,” the band had successfully won over the sea of fans with Bigland’s killer vocals and the band’s energetic performance. Be sure to check them out, they will not disappoint.
Following Dinosaur Pile-Up’s vibrant set was North California act Black Map. Coming together in 2014 after the untimely demise of acclaimed Experimental Rock band Dredg, Guitarist Mark Engels joined Bassist/Vocalist Ben Flanagan (ex-The Trophy Fire) and Drummer Chris Robyn (ex-Far) to form Black Map. The band’s excellent second studio album, In Droves, hit stores and streaming services in March, launching the band into an extensive tour, playing a string of festivals and opening for Nothing More. Though it had only been a mere two months since Black Map last tore up an NYC stage on May 8th at Gramercy Theatre, they were ready to charm the waiting crowd with their massive sound and stellar vocals.
Right off the bat, Black Map’s impeccable musicianship took center stage as they played through “Octavia,” “Just My Luck,” and “Code.” Despite being only a three-person band, Engel’s intricate guitar playing creates a complex sound that got the crowd cheering. Flanagan got the crowd amped up by bouncing around the stage and engaging with fans, commenting on their Deftones and Glassjaw t-shirts and saying that they had good music taste.
Black Map continued to build up their momentum with “Foxglove,” “No Color,” “Gold,” and “Ruin,” before finishing their set with with heavy closers “Run Rabbit Run” and “Driver.” Those on the lookout for some vocal-driven Metal music, look no further than Black Map, and at this rate, they will be headlining their own shows soon enough.
Despite witnessing two killer performances, the packed crowd at Irving Plaza remained mostly immobile – there was no moshing or crowd-surfing to be had until Chevelle finally took the stage to explosive cheers. Though the band were touring in support of their eighth studio album, The North Corridor, the night was more like a celebration of Chevelle’s twenty-two years as a band.
Started by three brothers, Pete Loeffler (guitar and vocals), Sam Loeffler (drums), and Joe Loeffler (bass), Chevelle came together in a suburb of Chicago in 1995 and quickly gained momentum with their 1999 debut album, Point #1. As stated, they found their stride with their Wonder What’s Next, an album that gave Chevelle a number one spot on the Alternative charts with single “Send the Pain Below.” More chart success followed in 2004 with the release of certified gold record This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), but in 2005, Joe Loeffler left the band. Not skipping a beat, keeping it in the family, brother-in-law Dean Bernardini took over the role of bassist and has remained with the band since.
Much to the joy of fans, Chevelle kicked off their set with two tracks from the aforementioned This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In), “Another Know It All” and “The Clincher,” during which the first crowd-surfers of the evening were tossed over the barricade. The crowd sang happily along as Pete and Berardini flew across the stage with Sam keeping perfect time from the height of his huge drum riser. The energy remained high through new track “Young Wicked” as mosh pits broke out among the crowd. Pete was wild-eyed and emotive as he hung over the crowd and fans scrambled to get as close as possible.
Quickly changing out their instruments, Chevelle kept the banter between sets to an absolute minimum which left a few drawn-out moments of quiet, but that silence was soon replaced with fan-favorite “Take Out the Gunman” and “An Island,” two heavy hitters from 2014’s underrated album La Gargola. Both of these tracks had the crowd throwing down to the thumping drum beats and chunky guitars.
Moving along, the audience went wild for “Jars,” a fast-paced and catchy track from 2009’s Sci-Fi Crimes, but the energy hit a high-point during one of Chevelle’s biggest hits, “Vitamin R (Leading Us Along).” After rolling through “Joyride” and “Face to the Floor,” Chevelle treated fans to the rarely heard “Emotional Drought,” played for the first time since 2010.
Keeping excitement at a high level, Pete showed off his incredible vocal abilities during “I Get It” and “El Diablo.” Eye-opening, his vocals managed to sound as strong – if not stronger – than they do on recordings. Then, closing out their set with the explosive “Door to Door Cannibals” and “Hats of to the Bull,” Chevelle filed off their carpeted stage to wild cheers and chants. Though they had already played for well over an hour, they graciously returned to the stage to play some of their biggest hits. First though, Pete stood on stage alone, bathed in red light to start ”The Red.” At this moment, fans could be heard screaming the lyrics over his single guitar before being rejoined by the band to play “Forfeit.” To finish out the night, Chevelle went into their most well-known track “Send the Pain Below,” giving this sold out crowd one last chance to sing and dance along.
All told, Chevelle played for over ninety minutes, never losing momentum or the fans’ rapt attention and leaving everyone’s heart pounding well after their final song. Chevelle will be continuing to bring their tour to cities across the U.S., and anyone who digs their signature brand of Rock would be remiss to not catch them before the final tour date on August 7th up in Seattle, Washington.