June 9, 2015 Red take breath away Marquee Theatre Tempe, AZ 6-4-15 w/ Adelitas Way, Bad Seed Rising, McClinton
Since forming in 2004 in Nashville, TN, Red has evolved into an award winning and prolific band. They have built a name as a passionate and emotional Hard Rock band, releasing five studio albums including their most recent in 2015, Of Beauty and Rage, which also comes with a full-length graphic novel. With songs inspired by their faith and life, Red, whom are often labeled a Christian Rock band, do not shy away from the label, but instead state their music is more universal about the good and evil we all face as human beings. Not shoving a particular message down audience’s throats, the core of Red consist of vocalist Michael Barnes along with twins Randy (bass) and Anthony (guitar) Armstrong, who know how to write beautiful and powerful Rock songs that anyone can appreciate. After taking some time off the road to work on the new material, Red returned to touring in early 2015 following the album’s release and continue with dates through August. Stopping in Tempe, AZ on Thursday June 4th, Red came to the Marquee Theatre along with support from talented bands McClinton, Bad Seed Rising, and Adelitas Way as direct support. While outside the Marquee Theatre, a long line of fans anxiously waited for the doors to open. The sky was overcast, threatening to rain at any moment, however, the concert that night was anything but dreary.
The first national act to perform was New Jersey based band, McClinton. The five-piece band; which includes Michael McClinton (vocals), Peter Riot (bass), Gavin Lawrence (guitar), Marcel Buby (guitar), and Rui Balla (drums), played good, old-fashion Rock. Bringing a sound that was upbeat, and, at times, reminiscent of ’80s rock, McClinton grabbed everyone’s attention. By the way they interacted with the audience it was apparent how much these musicians enjoyed being on stage. At one point during their set, McClinton revealed he was a Cancer survivor and felt extremely fortunate that he was able to do what he loved every night. Though the audience was not familiar with the band, everyone appeared engaged with the music, especially with their more emotional songs “Trouble” and “Final Closure.” After their performance, the band hung out at their merchandise table to meet and hang out with their fans. Be sure to check them out as they continue to tour with Red through June 24th before they return to the road in July with Art of Dying.
Following McClinton was Bad Seed Rising, a band hailing all the way from Baltimore, Maryland. Even though these musicians were obviously the youngest group on the tour, they had no problem holding their own. Having already hit the road with numerous other band over the past couple of years, these youngsters are building experience one venue at a time. From the moment they got on stage, Francheska (vocals), Mason (guitar), Aiden (drums), and Louey (bass) were non-stop high energy. Francheska owned the stage, dancing and singing with enviable ease. In fact, they immediately won the crowd over with their music. Their sound was upbeat, but also more aggressive than the previous act. In songs like “Disappear,” Francheska punctuated the intensity with screaming vocals. With a short but sweet set, the band showcased songs “Carry On” and “Disappear” from their newly released EP, A Place Called Home. As their name implies, this group is clearly on the rise. In addition to opening for established acts, Francheska announced that their song “Bad Seed Rising” was chosen for the closing credits for the new movie Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham. Good for this promising band who continue to grow better with each performance.
Throughout the night, the crowd got larger, and, by the time Las Vegas four piece band Adelitas Way took the stage, the pit was swelling with warm bodies pumping their fists into the air. Forming in 2006 and making a splash with their self-titled debut in 2009, Adelitas Way continued to climb the Rock charts with 2011’s Home School Valedictorian and look to continue their way up with 2014’s Stuck. Known for the powerful vocals of Rick DeJesus, the band is rounded out by drummer Trevor “Tre” Stafford, guitarist Robert Zakaryan, and newest member Andrew Cushing on bass.
As their set began, DeJesus had no problem connecting with the audience. Throughout the set, he shared anecdotes and encouraged his fans to body surf while Zakaryan was the consummate performer, energetically moving about the stage while shredding on guitar, playing every solo effortlessly. Furthermore, Cushing and “Tre” also performed with equal energy and confidence. Adelitas Way’s set was a good mixture of Grunge and Hard Rock which clearly influence key songwriter DeJesus. In addition to playing their more well-known songs such as “Criticize,” they introduced new tracks from their brand new EP Deserve This such as “Filthy Heart” and “Sometimes You’re Meant To Get Used” which were gritty, soulful, and pure Hard Rock songs. Towards the end of their set, DeJesus announced that the band would be back in Phoenix again soon, this time headlining their own tour. Good news for all, the crowd erupted in cheers and there is no doubt Adelitas Way will continue to make their presence known all over the country with their exceptional live show.
When it was time for Red to play, fans anxiously pressed up against the railing trying to get as close to the front as possible. The stage was shrouded in darkness while smoke billowed towards the screaming crowd. Red and green floodlights illuminated a Grim Reaper lumbering across the stage. Then, suddenly, the lights went out for a moment and Barnes, Anthony, and Randy ran onto the stage playing “What You Keep Alive.” Momentarily taking the room’s breath away, their music was the most theatrical and aggressive of the night. With a set that was displayed like a theater production, a large, ominous looking tree was propped on one side while Love and Death’s Don Johnson’s drums were set up in the opposite corner. Adding to the epic visual, each band member had their own riser, which only enhanced their larger than life stage presence as they went into tracks like new song “Fight to Forget” followed by older favorite “Death of Me.”
Bringing orchestral elements to life in front of Tempe’s very eyes, a production track which included strings and other ambient sounds filled the air on other new songs such as “Impostor” and “Falling Sky.” The theatrical quality and layers of instruments was reminiscent of early Evanescence and Barnes’ vocals were both powerful and melodic. Classically trained, he had no problem switching between singing and screaming, all the while as he jumped from one riser to the next and, at one point, even jumping off the stage to shake hands with the crowd. The set moved on with a balanced mixture of older songs such as “Not Alone,” “Already Over,” and the intense “Feed the Machine” as well as cuts off their new album Of Beauty and Rage. While for many it was the first time hearing the new material live, Barnes sang his favorite track from the album, “Shadow and Soul,” which also appeared to be very popular with the crowd. Connecting well with the audience on a deeper level, little spoken words were exchanged outside the music as it was only towards the end of the night that Barnes took a moment to share that the band was donating a portion of their merchandise sales to World Vision, an organization working towards bringing food and clean water to impoverished countries. Continuing to wow fans, they played “Faceless” and closed their performance with “Part That’s Holding On.” Having played over an hour, it felt like only minutes because of the intensity brought forth. When they came to the end of their set, the fans were naturally clamoring for more. Red came back out and closed the night with an encore performance with “Darkest Part” and “Breathe Into Me.”
The evening was just the beginning of Red’s continuation of their “Of Beauty and Rage” tour across America. The band showed why they are one of the best in Hard Rock and only have upped the ante with their new album and eye-popping stage show. Do not miss Red as they visit select venues across the West Coast now through August 15th.