Words & Photos by Nathan Katsiaficas
Boasting what is probably the most diverse lineup of any “heavy” music tour so far this season, Lancaster, PA metalcore innovators August Burns Red are currently in the midst of a headlining run through the US and Canada with direct support from Buffalo’s finest, Every Time I Die, and additional supporting acts Stick To Your Guns, Polyphia, and Wage War. As one of a select few metalcore acts pushing the boundaries of an otherwise stale subgenre, this lineup makes a lot of sense for August Burns Red–and honestly, it’s really refreshing to see a package that features such a mix of different flavors of metal and hardcore and includes both well-established and up and coming bands. I caught up with the tour on its second date, as it made its way to the Palladium in Worcester, MA on November 28th.
Fans turned out in large numbers on this cold Saturday evening and had packed the first floor of the Palladium to the gills by the time opener Wage War emerged onto the stage. Hailing from Ocala,FL–the same town that produced pop-punk/metalcore staple A Day To Remember–these gentlemen are relatively new to the national touring circuit, though you wouldn’t have known it from their stage presence or the tight set they put on, which featured some of the bounciest metalcore I’ve heard in quite some time. Wage War recently made their full length debut with Blueprints on Fearless Records, and while they may not be a household name just yet, this tour should help them gain some momentum, especially if they keep performing at this high a level each night.
Instrumental act Polyphia emerged to melt the faces of those in attendance. Many in the crowd (myself included) stood mouth agape at the level of musician ship displayed by these four gentlemen all of whom, as many of the later acts pointed out, are in their late teens or at most earliest twenties. The band was just recently signed to Equal Vision Records and self-released their first full length Muse earlier this year. Definitely an act worth arriving early for if Wage War alone wasn’t enticing enough to you.
Orange County hardcore act Stick To Your Guns were up next with a set that really set things off with the crowd, spawning numerous circle pits and waves of crowd surfers. Here, just a stone’s throw from the legendary Boston hardcore scene, it almost felt like watching a band play a hometown show as they blasted through fan-favorites like “Amber” and “What Goes Around,” and newer hits like “Nobody” and “What Choice Did You Give Us?” Frontman Jesse Barnett and his bandmates executed their supporting role flawlessly as they led the audience through an 8-song, high-energy workout that left the crowd sweaty and eager for more.
After a brief stage changeover, the lights dimmed and Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley emerged center-stage to deliver the opening verse to “Moor” off the band’s most recent release From Parts Unknown. All hell seemed to break loose in the crowd about a minute and a half into the song as things took a turn for the heavy. The band continued their onslaught with “Floater, “Typical Miracle,” “Thirst,” “Decayin’ With the Boys,” and fan-favorite “Ebolarama.” To say their set was intense would be an understatement–Every Time I Die have few equals when it comes to their on-stage energy. Brothers Keith and Jordan Buckley and their bandmates were in their usual form, thrashing about on stage and leaping from risers as they blasted through a sizable 14-song set. The band closed things out with “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space” and “Bored Stiff.”
Every Time I Die is not an easy act to follow, but August Burns Red was more than up for the challenge, armed with a set that had a nice selection of material both old and new. They kicked things off with new track “Martyr” off their June release Found In Far Away Places, before continuing with “Provisions” from 2013’s Rescue & Restore, and fan-favorites “Back Burner” from 2007’s Messengers and “Meddler” off of 2009’s Constellations. Frontman Jake Luhrs was flawless in his delivery as he strutted about the stage from riser to riser, flexing his biceps and swinging his microphone around. August Burns Red is one of those bands that is just incapable of putting on a bad performance–this was probably the 8th or 9th time I’ve seen these guys live and no matter the setting, I’ve yet to be disappointed. Their 14-song set included other hits and favorites including “White Washed,” “Majoring in the Minors,” and “Composure,” as well as a seasonally appropriate cover, “Carol of the Bells.” The band returned for a 2-song encore which featured a cover of “Frosty the Snowman,” followed by “Faultlines” from their 2013 release. The tour continues on through December 20th (see remaining dates after the photos below) and is definitely worth seeing if you can make it out to a date!
August Burns Red Tour Dates
Dec 3 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
Dec 4 – Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues
Dec 5 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre
Dec 7 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theater
Dec 8 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
Dec 9 – San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Dec 10 – Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues
Dec 11 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
Dec 12 – New Orleans, LA @ House Of Blues
Dec 14 – Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Dec 15 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
Dec 16 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend
Dec 18 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
Dec 19 – Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
Dec 20 – Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon**
**Every Time I Die & Stick To Your Guns are not performing