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Since Warped Tour this summer I have been chomping at the bit to photograph August Burns Red again, this time with stage lighting. When their headlining tour was announced to stop at the Palladium in Worcester, I tackled the chance. Not to mention that in addition to the promise of ABR’s killer performance, Every Time I Die was on the bill for support (one of my newest favorite bands).
This was my first time ever shooting at the Palladium in Worcester and the venue was packed to the gills. Head banging, circle pitting, young metal fans salivating at the potential that this line up was guaranteed to offer.
The first opener was Florida founded metalcore band Wage War who’s thrashing beats and positive message was a fitting start to what the remainder of the night had in store. The circle pit started early and people flooded onto the tiered floor of the Palladium, which was quickly packed tight.
Next up was instrumental progressive rock quartet Polyphia. The pit continued to swell in tune to their steady stream of heavy guitar harmonies. Although Polyphia has made quite a name for itself in the metal genre opening for other big name bands such as Between the Buried and Me and Periphery, I personally thought that the group seemed to lack maturity and crowd interaction. Quite frankly, I found the performance forgettable.
The energy was kicked back up a notch as third opener Stick to Your Guns took the stage. This was my first time seeing this band live and I will definitely make it a point to see them shred in the future. The hardcore punk/metalcore band from Orange County, California exploded onto the stage with an infectious energy. Crowd surfers took to the air to opening track “Against Them All” while shouting along to the relatable lyrics “forever us against the mold”. STYG’s band members maintained an explosive energy throughout the set, saving the best for last and going out on a killer note with a performance of “Nobody” (my favorite song on their latest album Disobedient).
I could barely contain my own excitement as Keith Buckley took the stage alone in a bath of red light. Dressed in his usual plaid flannel the painfully handsome front man of Every Time I Die stood alone with the mic as he started into the intro of “Moor”. The rest of the band filed on to the stage behind him and our hearts all raced, waiting for what we knew was about to happen. And it definitely happened. All of the glorious and maniacal head-banging, hair everywhere, jumping, spinning, mic tossing madness that you expect from the group was on full display. The band played a variety of songs ranging from 2003’s Hot Damn! up through their most recent From Parts Unkown.
In a rare lull between songs Keith yelled at the crowd “DO NOT STOP CROWD SURFING, I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOU STOP!” and they happily followed suit, one after another towards the stage and into the pit as Keith reached out to touch their hands. ETID wrapped up their set with an intense, heart stopping version of “Bored Stiff”.
As disappointing as it was to see Every Time I Die’s set come to an end, I was eager to see what August Burns Red had in store for us next. One word…Goosebumps. Lead singer Jake Luhrs is a power house that you can’t tear your attention away from and backed by the rest of their power house band they put on a phenomenal show. The stage lighting (although making photos a challenge) was completely mesmerizing and when combined with the guitar shredding, flying drumsticks, and Jake’s antics you couldn’t tear your eyes away from the stage. Along with a mix of old and new music, ABR threw in two songs from their Christmas album Sleddin’ Hill which added for a pleasant surprise in the spirit of the holidays. Overall I found the show incredible… When can we do it again?
** Since this show Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley has had to leave the show for personal reasons. We at NECR wish Keith and his family all the best on the home front.**