Words & Photos by Nathan Katsiaficas  |  www.facebook.com/NKatsiaficasPhoto

One of the more highly anticipated tours this fall, the Parks and Devastation Tour is currently making its way around North America. Florida natives A Day To Remember, are leading the charge, with direct support from British metalcore giants, Bring Me The Horizon, and noteworthy opening acts, Motionless In White and Chiodos. That’s a whole lot of awesome in one tour package–so it’s no surprise that on the fourth date of the tour in Lowell, MA, on a Tuesday night, more than two thousand eager fans came out to see the show!

The night began with the post-hardcore stylings of Chiodos, who came onstage before a half full arena, as many fans were still stuck outside in line waiting to get in. The band kicked things off with an older track, “The Undertaker’s Thirst For Revenge is Unquenchable (The Final Battle)” off of 2007’s Bone Palace Ballet, continuing with “Thermacare.” Frontman Craig Owens was flawless in his delivery, and the band as a whole sounded like a well-oiled machine, blasting through old and new material with ease. The remainder of the set featured two tracks from their latest release, Devil, “Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now” and “3 AM.” Owens and his cohorts didn’t have to try very hard to keep the audience engaged, they were more than happy to sing along. Even with the venue at half-full, the energized crowd’s voices were audible as they sang along to fan-favorite “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last A Minute on the Creek.”

Up next, industrial metal/metalcore band, Motionless In White came out to perform a heavy, seven-song set that started off with their popular track, “Immaculate Misconception.”  While there were more fans in attendance by the time they went on, the crowd as a whole didn’t seem as enthusiastic as they’d been during Chiodos. Nevertheless the band put on a good performance, with the remainder of the set even featuring more fan-favorites, including “Devil’s Night” and “Abigail”. They also played a new track, “Reincarnate,” off their upcoming record of the same title, which seemed to really excite the crowd!

By the time Bring Me The Horizon took to the stage, the arena had filled up with many more concertgoers and was abuzz with excitement. They wasted little time, launching straight into a set that was dominated by material from their 2013 release, Sempiternal, starting with  “Shadow Moses” and continuing with “Go to Hell, For Heaven’s Sake” and “House of Wolves.” In fact, the only two songs of their ten-song set that weren’t on that record were “Chelsea Smile,” off of 2008’s Suicide Season, and “Alligator Blood,” from their 2010 release. Personally, I was hoping for a few more older songs to be in the mix, but with the success of their recent record, it makes sense that they’d be playing mostly new material. To me, frontman Oliver Sykes always sounds like he’s on the verge of injuring his voice, yet always manages to hit every guttural note–I don’t know how he does it–and tonight was more of the same. The crowd loved every minute of the set, forming mosh pits and crowd surfing in response to Sykes’ requests almost instantaneously. By the time the opening notes of their final song, “Antivist” rang out, it was clear that Bring Me The Horizon had fulfilled their task of getting the audience ready for the final act, leaving a very sweaty yet eager crowd waiting through a half-hour stage changeover.

After a bit of a wait, it was finally time for headlining act, A Day To Remember. The cheers coming from the crowd were deafening as these Ocala natives came onto the stage before an intricate and elaborate stage-setup featuring a faux campfire in the center, stage risers made of “stone”, and a backdrop made to look like Mount Rushmore, but with the president’s faces replaced with those of the band. Their set began with the bang of confetti canons to opening track “The Downfall of Us All,” with cannons firing seconds into the song just after frontman, Jeremy McKinnon uttered the words, “Let’s go!”  Their nineteen-song set featured material from across the band’s discography, with a smattering of tracks from their most recent release, Common Courtesy, including “Right Back at it Again,” “Violence (Enough is Enough),” “End of Me,” “Dead & Buried,” and more. If you’ve ever seen ADTR before in recent years, you know that they tend to pull out all the stops production-wise, and this tour is no different. Their amazing stage set altered during the course of the performance, with the bandmember’s faces changing their appearances and facial expressions from cheerful-looking to downright pissed-off for some songs such as the track “2nd Sucks.” The sky also changed with the rest of the set, and the eyes of the heads on the backdrop opened to reveal lights of different colors during certain songs. As if that wasn’t already enough, they had a shirt canon and McKinnon at one point hopped into a giant bubble sphere and rolled around on top of the crowd!

The hilarious onstage banter and–at times–silly antics of bandmembers definitely added to the entertainment that evening, including when, about halfway through the set during a pause between songs, “Macarena” by Los del Rio suddenly started playing through the speakers, and guitarist Neil Westfall led the crowd in the associated dance. Their set ended with the track “All I Want,” followed by a three-song encore that began with “If It Means a Lot to You.” Their last song of the night was one that I’d been waiting for, “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle”–a killer choice to end an amazingly fun evening of music. In one last hilarious move, as band left the stage, the set changed to display a message that read ‘Get The F*ck Out.’ You’d be foolish to miss catching The Parks and Devastation Tour, which continues through October 11th. To find the date nearest you, check the remaining dates, which are included at the bottom of this page!

Parks and Devastation Tour remaining dates:

9/13 Jamesville, WI @ WJJO Festival
9/15 Grand Rapids, MI @ DeltaPlex
9/16 Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion
9/17 St. Louis, MO @ Chaifetz Arena
9/18 Chicago, IL @ UIC (no BMTH)
9/20 Denver, CO @ Riot Fest (ADTR & BMTH only)
9/23 Fresno, CA @ Woodward Park Amphitheatre
9/24 Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Expo Hall
9/26 San Jose, CA @ Event Center @ SJSU
9/28 Phoenix, AZ @ Mesa Amphitheatre
9/30 Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Amphitheatre
10/1 Houston, TX @ Reliant Arena
10/4 Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing (Self Help Fest)
10/6 Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
10/7 Charlotte, NC @ Uptown Amphitheatre
10/9 Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Coliseum
10/10 Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock
10/11 Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock

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