One of my favorite new bands came through Denver last night, August Burns Red. It was the first night of their tour with Acacia Strain, Impending Doom, and Mychildren Mybride, and unfortunate supporting cast, but nonetheless it was a chance for ABR to headline.
I've only recently gotten into ABR, a little before their latest album Constellations was released. I love their sound, it probably sounds closest to As I Lay Dying with the intricate guitar work and killer drumming. The new album is amazing, and i was excited to see them play the songs live. I have seen ABR one time before this, at Sonshine this past summer, and i have to be honest i didn't expect to see such fan support at Sonshine. I didn't really get to pay attention to band at Sonshine because Alan and I were too busy doing our two-step. Since i have an injured leg as an excuse, i just watched last night and took it all in.
ABR came out to a packed Cervantes, Tahoe and I both agree that it's probably the most people we've seen at the small venue, more than were at The Almost show with Emery. The crowd was energized too, and you could tell by the welcome they gave ABR. I don't know all of ABR's songs that well yet, so bear with me if i name the wrong song. I'm pretty sure they opened with White Washed.
The first thing you really notice about ABR is that they don't have the typical look of a metalcore band, ya know, like long hair, big earrings, tigh pants, tattoos, etc. Instead, both guitarist look like college students, one was sporting a polo shirt, while the other had on a baseball-style t-shirt. Neither had crazy hair or tattoos from what i could see. The only member who really looked the part was the bassist. Lead singer Jake Luhrs was also more on the subtle side, short hair and all. Nope, these guys aren't playing music to look cool, they're playing for the music and the message. They play very intricate guitar parts and spend a lot of time navel-gazing, and they were solid.
Also part of the show was the large August Burns Red banner and strobe lights that for some reason seem to be much more effective in this show than previous times i've seen bands use them. Either way the energy was amazing, and Cervantes was letting the kids do whatever they wanted including a lot of stage-diving and crowd-surfing. and a huge pit of dancers too. it was great.
The band plugged through most of their hits including Thirty and Seven, Meddler, Barbarian, Back Burner, Existence, and The Truth of a Liar. The last song of their set was Composure. It seemed to be a short set for a headliner so i was sure they'd play 2-3 songs in their encore. For the last song they asked the crowd to join them on stage which was pretty cool at first. you couldn't see the band with all the kids on stage, probably 30-40 people up there. the band starting playing Composure and you could tell they were struggling. About a minute into the song all of the music stopped, there hadn't been much vocals since i'm sure the mic was being passed around. anyway, the music stops and all you hear is the drums. House lights came on and security started throwing kids off the stage.
After about 5 minutes of louder than usual prompting from the crowd for the band to play "one more song" Jake came out and addressed the crowd. He informed us that while everyone was on stage somebody threw a water bottle onto the mixing board and essentially blew it up. so unless it could fixed/replaced, there would be no more music. This was a total bummer as i was sure we'd hear at least 2-3 more songs. some people stuck around but we bailed. after a twitter search it appears that they were not able to play another song.
here's video of the last song, and then Jake explaining the issue:
All in all it was a great show, we got there late just in time to catch Acacia Strain, the only non-Christian band on the tour. They were plenty vulgar and offensive, never missing a chance to use the F-word, and their music wasn't creative at all, just heavy east-coast influence hardcore. The singer sounded like a velociraptor at times and was totally indiscernible. His quote of the night was "We'd like to thank August Burns Red for bringing us on their tour, and letting us spread our disgusting negativity. Jesus effing Christ!". yea, they were lame.
August Burns Red is a bad that people can appreciate without knowing the music. They're just so talented, and willing to discuss their message of Christ with the fans. Jake offered to talk to anyone after the show about their beliefs, and left it at that, which i thought worked pretty well considering a large portion of the crowd were fans of Acacia Strain and could probably use the positive message that ABR brings.