August 25, 2014 Chiodos & Blessthefall dominate Starland Ballroom Sayerville, NJ 8-17-14 w/ Capture the Crown & I Killed The Prom Queen
While the weather may be mild in sections of North America the summer is made up for with sweltering concerts. On Sunday August 17th an anxious crowd shuffled into the tight Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ as they prepared themselves for their night of The Crowd Surf America Tour, a killer lineup of some of the most exciting names in the hardcore scene to date. Each act was filled with new and recent material for fans to explode to. The electronic rage of Capture The Crown, dark power of I Killed The Prom Queen, heavy groove of Blessthefall, and haunting escapade of Chiodos combine to create one of the best shows in metalcore of 2014. Being the unbeatably insane crowd New Jersey is, each band was in for the best night of the tour as fans crowded the floor of the small, intimate venue.
To start off the night, New Jersey locals, From The Depths, opened the show. These metalcore heavyweights had no problem warming up the crowd; after a couple songs to get the crowd engaged, it was not long before the band was commanding ferocious walls of death and endless crowd surfing. Lead singer Zack Spadaccini also did a wonderful job getting the crowd involved. After jumping into the crowd towards the end of their set, the band started taking pictures of the crowd to capture such an exciting moment. It was certainly an energetic way to start the night.
Capture The Crown began the madness of the Crowd Surf America tour, beginning their set with the first track of their new album, Reign of Terror. For a band only four years old, the audience went wild as they made their grand entrance. Immediate jumping and moshing ensued as the band continued with “To Whom It May Concern”, a powerful song full of heavy hate and intensity. Lead singer Jeffrey Wellfare did a remarkable job at keeping the crowd excited by initiating circle pits and walls of death. At one point he got everyone on their knees to jump up at the start of the next song and had the lights be set on the crowd to amplify the moment. His stage presence was incredible. Jeffrey even jumped into the crowd and participated in the mosh pit at the end of their set during “You Call That A Knife? This Is A Knife!” The joyful and involved energy from not only him, but also the entire band, certainly puts Capture The Crown at a greater level of live performances.
Coincidentally, following up Capture The Crown is yet another Australian band, I Killed The Prom Queen. Showcasing their latest album, Beloved, the band begins their set with the first two tracks of the record. New Jersey surely kept their reputation up as the crowd went completely insane for I Killed The Prom Queen. The band easily vibed off of them as well; front man Jamie Hope had a very charismatic attitude on stage and loved getting into the audience’s faces the entire set. Smiles also stood out from the entire band, especially bearded guitarist Jona Weinhofen. Then, as they ended their set with their biggest hit “Say Goodbye”, the crowd gave it all they had as they crowd surfed and moshed for the last time to I Killed The Prom Queen that night.
By the time the first co-headliner, Blessthefall, stepped on to the stage, everyone in the venue knew that New Jersey crowd energy could not be beat. Beginning with their Hollow Bodies track “Exodus”, the band holds nothing back as front man Beau Bokan commanded the stage. As the packed crowd moved together as one, strobe lights and pounding music filled the Starland Ballroom with overwhelming excitement. Bokan sang his heart out in fans’ faces, showing how happy he was to be on stage with smiles and waves. During “Déjà Vu” he instructed all the new fans to crowd surf up to him and give him a high five and during “See You On The Outside” he told the girls to get on top of guys’ shoulders. Blessthefall certainly made sure their fans had an interactive experience during their set. A strong family vibe was given off during the set as well; halfway through the set Bokan tells the crowd that “We are all here for the same reason” (we all love rock and roll) and got everyone in the crowd to high five each other. However, the tone immediately changed when the band called for a wall of death, which took up the whole space of the floor and ended in one of the biggest mosh pits of the night. Before ending the set, Beau said himself that this night was the best show of the tour and captured the moment by taking a photo of the band with the crowd after they ended their set with their Hollow Bodies hit “You Wear A Crown But You’re No King.”
Finally, it was time for Chiodos to hit the stage, and the anticipation was at its highest of the night. Guitarist Thomas Erak entered the stage on his own to perform an intense guitar solo as the lights shone down on lead singer Craig Owens in a hooded sweatshirt as he began to sing. Opening with “Ole Fishlips is Dead Now”, the band’s fervent style was worth the wait for New Jersey’s eager crowd. Craig Owen’s emotional stage presence was a very strong highlight of the show. Many times the front man would fall to his knees and become consumed with the powerful emotions of the music the band was playing. Even as the set just started, he wasted no time reaching out to fans in the crowd and fully involving them with the show. One of their hits “A Letter from Janelle” was quite a moment for Owens as he looked completely in tune with the song by expressing every vocal note, facial expression, and movement to convey his message. Then as they made their way into the new and fun track “3AM”, they began it with a juxtaposed haunting keyboard solo introduction. Then, towards the end of Chiodos’s set, Craig Owens started off “Expensive Conversations in Cheap Motels” with a speech about taking all of the bad people and life events itching at you and forgetting them as he had the crowd scream back the opening lyrics “I, I, I fucking hate you!” This was the most emotional and incredible part of the night, giving any audience member, whether you were all the way in the back or at the barricade, unwavering chills. It was a thrilling way to end a night of excitement on the Crowd Surf America Tour.