Blessthefall always puts on a fantastic live show, exploding like a sucker punch to the throat and then transporting the venue to a slow-moving, slow-dancing, lighters-in-the-air pop concert. Until vocalist Beau Bokan asked for a brief break, Webster Hall was filled with blinding, raging awe. Older Blessthefall music has a way of tapping into the listener’s raw emotion, and the crowd was definitely thankful that half the set was dedicated to some of the best metalcore to date.
However, the tour headliners were outdone by fellow headliners Miss May I. Frontman Levi Benton not only has the best hair in the industry, but he has one of the most commanding stage presences of anyone I’ve seen. And with the unforgiving battering of the drums and the melodic guitars the quintet taps into the full potential of human hatred and anger unleashing a sound that possesses you and commands you to move. The set went through hits both new and old, including “I.H.E.” (Deathless) and “Relentless Chaos” (Monument), which ended their performance. Miss May I continues to be one of the few bands you NEED to see when they play your town.
Prior to the headlining heavy hitters came The Plot in You, Sirens and Sailors, and A War Within. The Plot in You mysteriously draped their gear with vines and offered no explanation, and opted for a less light-intense show than most. But the band pummeled the audience with their brand of Underoath-esque vocals and groovy rhythms. TPIY has a sound like the combination of UFC aggression and an impending freight train collision. They’re just a dark, fucking good time.
Sirens and Sailors was unexpectedly good. I had heard of them, but honestly the name, which always reminds me of “Of Mice & Men” and “Sleeping With Sirens” combined, never held any interest with me. I apologize to the Rochester natives for that. They are just as brutally fun as any in the business. They’re not the most original, but they do almost nothing worthy of any kind of complaint. As they continue to grow they’ll be a group to look out for.
Speaking of up-and-comers, A War Within somehow managed to finagle their unsigned selves onto this tour. Having never heard of them, I had no idea what I was going to see and hear. Two members alternating between lead vocals and guitars was not something I was expecting. A Backstreet Boys cover wasn’t either. The level of energy they brought was also exponentially more than I can remember an opening band ever having. A War Within defies expectations, especially being significantly softer in sound than the other groups on tour. They’ve got a lot of work to do, but they’re on their way.
by David Marulanda