March 18, 2016 The Word Alive Take Over The Palladium Worcester, MA 3-11-16 w/ Fit For A King & Out Came The Wolves
Phoenix, Arizona based band The Word Alive has made a big impact since their formation with invigorating music and energy-crazed live shows. Originally formed back in 2008, current members Telle Smith (vocals), Tony Pizzuti (guitar/vocals), Zack Hansen (guitar/vocals), Daniel Shapiro (bass), and Luke Holland (drums) have found a strong bond within music and friendship as a result. A member of the Fearless Records family, the band gained attention and truly took form when releasing their major label EP, Empire, in 2009; a collection of songs that found its way to number 15 on Billboard’s Top Heatseeker. Thereafter, the band would go on to create a widely known discography, well within the Metalcore realm, but much more experimental, as well as lyrically uplifting from their contemporaries on the scene. Although, sometimes just releasing an album is not enough to grasp the attention of others, and The Word Alive have made a living on tour, sharing the stage with the likes of A Day To Remember, The Devil Wears Prada, and Motionless In White, while also making appearances on the Vans Warped Tour.
For the band’s growing fan base, getting only a small taste of what the ensemble resembles, was not nearly enough. Now eight years in, the quintet has grown with the influences of each other and put their heads together to create an album that could turn out to be their best yet with Dark Matter, due to be released March 18th. Following the announcement of what will be their fourth full-length album in six years, The Word Alive also dropped the news of plans for a full-blown headlining tour come early 2016. The Dark Matter Tour, with support from Fit For a King King and Out Came The Wolves, came to life on February 19th out in San Diego, California with plans to run a month through March 19th down in Grand Prairie, Texas. In the midst of the exciting bill, The Word Alive made a stop in Worcester, Massachusetts at The Palladium on Friday, March 11th, for an upstairs show where all concert goers were certainly in for an ebullience filled night.
Begun earlier than a usual show, a list of local acts joined The Dark Matter Tour for one evening in the form of Zoume, In Honor Of, As Aphrodite Fell, and The Worst Of Us. As audience members drifted in, the music started right on schedule. Even with a small company, New York based Zoume rocked the stage, getting the growing crowd invested in the music. With Christopher Tito on vocals, Brean Holguin on drums, Jeff Freedman on bass/vocals, and Farhan Tanvir as well as Max Fokanov on guitar, their energy was preset from the start. Constantly trying to pump up the audience, their songs were heavy and upbeat, definitely a great start to a long night ahead.
As the crowd dwindled away to chat amongst each other, the stage had just enough time to fill with fog as the members of Wallingford, Connecticut’s In Honor Of brought presence back to the front of the house. Quickly filling in, the audience members grew interested while headbanging and followed the instructions of the band before them; clapping and jumping when told. With their second song of the set, “Fueled By Rage,” the members performed with passion and intensity. It was not until the last song, “Perfect Memory,” where the energy intensified throughout. As the lead vocalist jumped off the stage and into the crowd, there was a sense of community shared with the local music scene and all that have come early to support it.
Sticking with the same level of potency as the bands before, Central Massachusetts’ As Aphrodite Fell took the stage next. With a violent delivery of heavy and gruesome tracks, the floor exploded with small, rageful, and intense mosh pits. As the members Adam Spencer (vocals), George Lappas (guitar), Brad Raymond (bass/vocals), Anthony Gagnon (drums) jumped and called for “more violence,” the floor splits down the middle and a wall of death breaks out, causing looks of enjoyment to be present. Their set ended with applauding and cheering from the audience and Raymond yelling, “We love you guys, we’ll see you soon,” ending a rather intense display of Deathcore.
A mix of clean and unclean vocals were present within Boston, Massachusetts’ The Worst Of Us. While the group played their first song, “Strive,” the audience became more involved; throwing their fists up, moshing throughout, and sometimes singing along. Even playing a new single off of their upcoming EP, it was clearly evident the pure passion that went into every song. As the set went on, “Let loose” was spoken by Vocalist Charlie Bellissimo, and it seems as though the floor erupted. A small section of the audience started to chant, “Hey,” without being instructed, as the music began to fade away. The Worst Of Us thanked everyone for coming out and then invited the crowd to hang out at their merchandise table for a meet and greet.
With a nice showcase of up-and-coming unsigned acts, the second half of the night started out with a rush of adrenaline from Out Came The Wolves. Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Out Came The Wolves are a young band formed in 2013, led by Vocalist Cameron Burns with Bassist Ervin Buljubasic, Drummer Lucas Chayne, as well as with Guitarists Austin Brady and George Shrouder. Previously sharing the stage with the likes of Asking Alexandria, August Burns Red, among others, the band is quickly building a name on the scene with their mix of brutality and melody.
Coming out screaming, “Let’s get the fuck up,” Burns energized the audience to do so as the music began. Playing songs like singles “96,” “Queen Mary,” and “Kodiak,” it was a performance filled with raw emotion. Playing on with other tracks, Burns even gave a speech about music and how it brings the community together, which was inspiring to hear. Yet to release an album, Out Came The Wolves should make a big splash once having done so, and thus become a fixture on many more tours.
As if there was not an immense amount of energy present, Fit For A King brought a complete shift to the night. Coming from Dallas, Texas, Fit For a King have accumulated a ton of touring experience since their birth in 2007. Still in their early 20s, Vocalist Ryan Kirby, Guitarist Bobby Lynge, Drummer Jared Easterling, and Bassist/Vocalist Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary show the poise of veteran musicians twice their age. Releasing three studio records thus far, their last being 2014’s Slave to Nothing, the band’s following keeps getting bigger, and their music refined. Now it was time for the band to show why they were justifiably main support for The Word Alive.
At this point in the night, the floor was full, audience members were pushing forward, and all attention was on the stage. Jumping, screaming, shoving, and moshing, there is only one word to describe Fit For A King – insanity. Ignited with “Hollow King (Sound of the End),” then going into “Bitter End,” Fit for a King was the first band to have a crowd-surfer. With that said, it did not stop there and a plethora more came as the set moved on with heavy hitters like “Slave to Nothing,” “Ancient Waters,” and “Hooked.” Kirby, taken back by the adrenaline pumping through the room, shouted, “This is where we make some memories.” That is exactly what the set did as seven songs rapidly zipped by as Fit for a King closed out with “The Resistance” and “Warpath.” Packed with screaming fans, and zest-filled exhilaration, Fit for a King were an imposing force to be reckoned with. Following this run with The Word Alive, the band will be heading out in the month of May as support for Whitechapel, so do not miss out.
Those who thought the night could not get any better, they were in for a shock as the stage was set with lights and filled with fog, preparing for headliners The Word Alive. The crowd grew with suspense as the lights soon dimmed and running on stage was The Word Alive. Opening with new track “Dreamer” and “Sellout,” the audience members grew rowdy and did not hold back. A first time sampling of Dark Matter’s tracks, The Word Alive brought each song to life with conviction, showing they put their heart and soul into composing this record. Mixing in well-known songs like “The Hounds of Anubis,” “2012,” and “Lighthouse,” the crowd continued to show no signs of fatigue as they sang along and moved about the floor.
Smith, known for his impassioned stage performance, actually broke his back and a rib during the band’s previous tour with Motionless in White and The Devil Wears Prada. While a scary experience, Smith actually finished out that tour with a brace, and at The Palladium, still showed gut-wrenching emotion in his delivery as they sprinkled in more new songs like “Face To Face” and “Made This Way.” Attentively listening to the new material with open ears, the energy levels remained high as the band announces their title track, “Dark Matter,” and performed it with the utmost pride.
Offering more favorites such as “Entirety” as well as “Play the Victim,” Smith and company thanked the audience for coming, ending with a new track, “Trapped.” As both the crowd and band gave it their all one last time, the spirit of the room was still high and yearning for more. Making their way off stage, the crowd chanted, “One more song!” As per usual, The Word Alive returned to the stage for the last song of the night, “Life Cycles;” a song loved by most, and screamed by many.
Music can definitely unite people together. Whether it be bumping into a fellow fan, or chatting with whoever is close in line, it is more than safe to say that the local Worcester scene and The Dark Matter Tour brought a group of music lovers together. With a generous amount of dates still left on the tour, The Word Alive is back with a bigger sound and even more vitality than ever with Dark Matter.