The Cool Tour 2010
07/31/10 – Palladium: Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
A major reason I started concertconfessions.com was my disgust of journalists from major media outlets. I hated old and out of touch professionals who were paid to see a show, only to trash and miss-represent an artist due to their failure to connect. Not knowing over half the bands on the inaugural Cool Tour, I was hesitant to accept an offer for a free ticket/full access press credential. Fearful of becoming everything I despised, I decided to accept the offer because at the end of the day, I love music and I love to discover artists who have yet to tickle my ear drums. So I headed into Hollywood excited for another day long metal show at the world famous Palladium.
The show kicked off at 5pm sharp with a set from Erie, PA Christian Metalcore masters, War of Ages. The band made the most of their 25 minute set by bashing out five songs and instantly connecting with the young crowd. Front man Leroy Hamp was the fist of many to get the crowd to form a large circle pit upon the venue’s massive floor. Swirling for the set closing “All Consuming Fire,” War of Ages did an outstanding job setting the pace for a long night of music.
I feel bad for the Cancer Bats. I had seen the crazy Canadians once before, and enjoyed their frantic set as part of the 2008 Taste of Chaos tour. On this particular night, they felt like the odd man out. Are they rock, are they metal, or perhaps punk? I’m not sure and I feel most of the crowd did not know what to make of them either. That didn’t stop the band from giving it their all, and working hard to win the crowd over. Knowing that the crowd was unfamiliar with their unique form of north of the border rock, the highlight of the set came when the band covered the Beastie Boys classic “Sabotage.” All in all, a solid set from the four piece act. Even if two or three kids were won over as fans, the Cancer Bats Saturday afternoon set was a success.
Walking into the show, I had never heard a song by Architects. An hour after their set, they got my broke ass to shell out $5 for one of their records. Here was this band, who was heavy, and yet had some intricate breakdowns that were reminiscent of Phish. Well, if Phish sounded like Dillinger Escape Plan’s British cousin. Anyways, the band bashed the crowd’s brains in with songs like “Numbers Count For Nothing” and “Early Grave,” making a fan of me and many more in the process.
The Acacia Strain
I have heard the name The Acacia Strain for years. I know one song from a comp record I played once or twice, but my knowledge ends there. I enjoyed the bands brief set of metal/death/masshole-core, but what won me over more than the music was their mouths. Well, mainly front man Vincent Bennett’s mouth. He pulled the classic “I have a mic and you don’t” line when battling some haters. He then invited them to suck his cock. Bennett joked about how his band has made a career out of providing opening set services to every band on the planet. He made sure to point out that his band was uglier than “pretty” tourmates, Blessthefall. Much like Jered Leto, he acted as a cheerleader mid-song encouraging the fat and lazy crowd to move. I stopped by the merch table to see if Bennett had any form of solo spoken word record, I was that entertained. As you can imagine, I was denied. I do hope that I get to catch these guys open for someone in the near future, because The Acacia Strain are a highly entertaining live band.
Well, The Acacia Strain got it right; these boys are pretty. It basically comes down to this: If I was a 17 year old girl, I would probably love this band. More Michael W. Smith than Metallica, The band is designed for underage girls who love Jesus, Hello Kitty and boys dressed for a day at the yacht club. Now, you may say it’s not fair to make judgements based on looks, but the music itself was simple, boring and lacked originality. It’s their thing and it seems to works for the female Hot Topic crowd. You didn’t win my respect, but I have to assume you didn’t start your “we’re Christians but don’t call us a Christian” band for me.
Between The Buried And Me
I can’t name a single song by BTBAM. Okay, that’s a lie. They have a song called “Alaska,” but I couldn’t tell you if they played it. I can’t name a single member of the band. That’s also a lie but only because I heard two male fans clearly in love with guitar player Dustie Waring screaming out for his attention during soundcheck. I can’t even name a single album by the Raleigh, NC band. Yes, that too is a lie, because “Alaska” is also the title track to their third release. Despite these short-coming, I am Between The Buried And Me’s biggest fan. I think the band performed a total of four songs over their 45 minutes set and managed to hold my undivided attention the entire time. The songs are elaborate and take the listener on long voyages over mountains, deep into valleys and back up again just in time for a sonic sunset. This is a band who could obliterate Ozzfest, bash bonged out brains at Bonnaroo and please the pansies over at Pitchfork. For the first time all day, I was not ready for a band to leave the stage. I wanted more, I needed more. When you look up epic in the dictionary, it instructs you to see Between The Buried And Me. I promise we will cross paths again with these metal masters. After all, I am their biggest fan.
I own two Underoath albums and this was my second Underoath show. I still can’t make my mind up as to whether I like them or not. Yes, Underoath sounds fierce and rocks hard live. Yet, when they come up on random on my iPod, I find myself skipping over them. Yes, they unleash a harsh sonic attack on a young and eager crowd. Yet, no mater how hard try, I can never connect with the band because at the end of the day the whole thing feels fake and contrived.
Despite my feelings, the band (who does not have any remaining original members) did a fine job of performing songs that have spanned their career. They even found time to sneak in two new songs from a record they hope drop sometime this fall. Fans went crazy for songs like “Writing On The Walls” and “ Anyone Can Dig A Hole But It Takes A Real Man To Call It Home.”
What killed the set for me was the way the band ended their set. I was aware walking into the show that the six piece group were Christians.. Before closing with “In Regards To Myself,” front man Spencer Chamberlain just had to take a moment and share that the bands believed in Jesus Christ. They also made sure to state that it was a choice, all while insisting they were not forcing it down our throats. However, by making the statement, they succeeded at gagging us with their beliefs. We know you love Jesus, now just shut up and rock.
As I Lay Dying
After a day in which I witnessed a lot of new music, the payoff was a headline set by one of my favorite metal bands to emerge over the last decade, As I Lay Dying. My sixth show from the group, I was fired up to check out the five piece band currently touring in support of their brand new record The Powerless Rise. The lights went down on the Palladium for the final time on this particular evening and the group started things on a high note with “94 Hours.” The crowd went nuts as duel axe-men Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso criss-crossed the stage while cranking out chord after chord.
The band drew heavily from their latest release during the 50 minute set. “Beyond Our Suffering” “Anodyne Sea” and “Vacancy” all killed. One thing that is very impressive with As I Lay Dying’s live show is vocalist Tim Lambesis. Many metal singers can’t come close to sounding as good live as they do in the studio. In person, Tim sounds better than on recorded media.
The band wrapped up the night with a trip through their back catalogue. They started with a nasty version of “Nothing Left.” From there the band pleased the crowd with the Shadows Are Security track “Through Struggle.” The energy level inside the old ballroom was the highest it had been all day and the band made sure to channel that energy for the final number. Already past curfew, the band made some happy-birthday wishes before splitting the crowd in two for a celebratory wall of death. It quickly became obvious to all in attendance, there was no safe place to hide. Once the crowd surged towards each other, chaos ensued. For an all day metal show it was the perfect conclusion. While fans chanted for one more song, the lights came up and security began to force the crowd out of the exit doors.