February 6, 2014 Falling In Reverse & Escape the Fate Bury The Hatchet Tour sells out Best Buy Theater NYC 1-30-14
Let’s face it, anyone that knows the history between Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse never thought a tour between the two would happen. For the longest time it would have been a miracle for any of the band members to cordially say “hello”, let alone tour together. Needless to say, when the Bury The Hatchet Tour was announced in October of 2013, shocked fans of both bands rejoiced now that the bad blood had been washed away. While most fans were beyond joyous, there was of course many that were skeptical, wondering how long this tour would last. That skepticism was put on the shelf Thursday January 30th in NYC at a sold out Best Buy Theater.
Survive This! opened the show with great energy, and the crowd reacted without hesitation. Most concert-goers regrettably pay little attention to opening acts, making that usually “beer” or “bathroom time”, but vocalist Shawn Zyvoloski made sure the audience watched. His powerhouse vocals and wild movement were impossible to turn away from as he used every inch of that stage. Zyvoloski and his band mates were pumped up and all smiles, a vibe everyone in attendance felt. No one took a step toward the bar during this set, only jumping, moshing, and crowd surfing to everything Survive This! dished up. One could not help but be swept up in their infectious catchy hooks, and many were noticeably singing along after hearing just one chorus of a song. It will be interesting to see what Survive This! brings to the Vans Warped Tour later this year.
Up next was Chelsea Grin, who clearly had a large following attending, with the crowd beginning to chant for them even before the lights went down. During this portion of the show the energy was still high, but there was a definite change in mood. Chelsea Grin were darker, more sinister, and it was absolutely intriguing. It’s not too often you see a six-string bass, and David Flinn wielded this weapon with the utmost skill. Between Flinn’s thundering bass and Andrew Carlston’s relentless pounding of the drums, it is a surprise no one walked out of the Best Buy Theater with an arrhythmia, with every single beat penetrating under your skin. Usually more than two guitars on stage is a recipe for dissonance and disaster, however, the guitar work by Dan Jones, Michael Stafford, and Jack Harmond was strikingly precise. Vocalist Alex Koehler screamed at pitches that would make the Devil himself shake in his boots. Chelsea Grin was in command of the audience, ordering them to move and everyone obeyed, making this a well executed performance.
The time had come for Escape the Fate, which played a flawless set offering a great mix of old and new songs. While sustaining a series of key line-up changes, the chemistry of the current line-up gels brilliantly. Opening their set with the title track off their most recent album, Ungrateful (2013), a declaration was made loud and clear by the band stating we are here, pay attention, and listen. The fever and fury they brought to the stage in just the first few minutes was astonishing and completely captivating. Front man Craig Mabbitt and drummer Robert “The Legend” Ortiz were on top of their game throughout the set, bringing pure energy. TJ Bell has made a perfect transition from bass to rhythm guitar, while the return of original bassist Max Green and the addition of guitarist Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft have really given new life to the band. Every song performed during their time on stage was tight and perfectly polished. Unlike any of the bands on the bill, it felt as though Escape the Fate were much closer to the crowd, with a feeling as if you were hanging out with close friends and family. The camaraderie was especially evident with the band members’ interactions on stage, and their generous invitation to Ashley Gehris, a long-time Escape the Fate fan, to join them on stage during “Ashley”. They appropriately closed with “This War Is Ours (The Guillotine II)” conjuring a circle pit, a wall of death, and a complete frenzy of crowd surfers. Security certainly had their hands full, especially having to pull Mabbitt back to the stage after his signature stage dive during their final song. There is no doubt Escape The Fate sounds as strong as ever.
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Closing out the Bury The Hatchet Tour was none other than Falling in Reverse, exploding with an electrifying set. Their opening video sequence was their own special version of the Full House theme that had the audience cheering, laughing, and singing along. Ronnie Radke made his presence known, jumping up on his stage platform, front and center, singing “Rolling Stone” to start the set. Animated and colorful, Radke’s performance was the mix of a rocker, rapper, musical theater actor, cabaret performer, and comedian all rolled into one, making it nothing less than perfect. Radke pulls it off without a hitch, and say what you will, this guy can spit out words with 100% accuracy at lightning speed. It’s extremely impressive to watch him perform live. Bandmates Derek Jones (guitar), Ryan Seaman (drums), Jacky Vincent (guitar), and Ron Ficaro (bass) certainly held their own, but they let Radke run wild in the best possible way ruling the stage. Vincent ruled the stage in his own way with amazing guitar ability, making him perhaps one of the most underrated guitarists out there today. He plays with perfect technique effortlessly and passionately, making sure no matter how fast he shred every single note is clear and precise. The set was a very even mix of songs from both their debut album The Drug in Me is You (2011) and their most recent Fashionably Late (2013), including the favorites “I’m Not A Vampire” and “Bad Girls Club”. Falling In Reverse put on an epic show with everyone singing along, even louder than Radke himself at times.
In a surprise twist, members of both Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse joined forces for an unbelievable encore performance of “Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliché” and “Situations” from Escape the Fate’s debut album Dying is Your Latest Fashion (2006). These are songs no fan thought would ever be played again live. It was a memorable scene watching original Escape the Fate members Ronnie Radke, Max Green, and Robert Ortiz share the stage 6 years after their break-up. Joined by Craig Mabbit, Jacky Vincent, and Derek Jones, they put aside their differences and erased any sign of years of petty feuding, anger, and resentment. Put those skeptics completely to rest, these bands can definitely make this tour work, and so far, it seems to be working extraordinarily well.