What is one to do when he’s already reviewed a band twice and seen them somewhere in the realm of nine times prior in live performances? Catch their 10th anniversary tour of your favorite album and review that, of course! This past Sunday marked the Montreal date of the might August Burns Red’s Messengers 10 year anniversary tour. Bowels were moved, tears were shed, and breakdowns were broken down. Here is how it all went.
I don’t know what they call you, but the first act goes only by 68, unless they feel like being called Metallica or AC/DC for a night. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, the pair of Josh Scogin and Michael McClellan (whom I’ve already spewed over in word form before) seem to have a physical incapability of putting on a bad or boring performance. This was easily the biggest stage I’ve had the pleasure of watching them desecrate, so it was reasonable to expect the usual antics on steroids, which did not disappoint. That being said, big stages mean big sound, and 68 is an act that already comes packing a punch which I can only imagine is a bitch to mix. Parts seemed off, but their southern swing still shown through, making this another 68 out of ten in the books. (No I’m not funny, and I never make puns. Fuck you.)
Following up from down undah was teeny bopper heart throb, In Hearts Wake. We already know that Byron Bay, Australia, can pop out some rather fierce metalcore acts. What we didn’t know is that some of them have a painfully awkward stage presence. In the case of IHW, it seems to have worsened over time. This is another act that I’ve caught and word-fucked before for your reading pleasure. Since said occurrence, I can confidently say that certain discrepancies with their set have been rectified, i.e. the overly whiny clean vocals and clippy samples. The set sounded tight and big, leaving only your distaste for either their compositions or their over dramatized movements. Nonetheless, the kids still ate it up, and if you need a dirty pleasure to cry to, look no further.
Finally, an act took the stage that I’ve never had the pleasure of writing about. Whitby, ON’s Protest The Hero have been a staple in my library since the first time I found out that math and music apparently go together sometimes. This is the only band on the bill that can rival the amount of times that I’ve seen the headliner, and boy oh boy am I always ever so happy to see them. PTH are, however, the kind of band that can throw a hit or miss performance. This particular evening had a great many hits, and just a few little misses. The five-piece band hit the stage in true grumpy old man fashion, and from a stand still proceeded to fuck your face with their cat-like wailings and shreddings. Frontman Rody Walker brought his classic cuntrag sense of humor, which absolutely never disappoints from the moment he opens his mouth. He continued said mouth-opening magic with every note the boy could belt. The one true miss, I have to say, is what I like to call “set list disrespect.” Eight tunes in forty-five minutes, and not a single one off of their classic record Kezia. Don’t get me wrong, every Fortress tune was spot on and more than appreciated, but always give love to the oldest of shit, even if you just got off a ten year tour of your own.
Last but far from least is Lancaster, PA’s good little Christian boys, August Burns Red. You’ve read me ramble about this act enough times already that I’ll waste as little time as possible. Messengers was the era in which I was introduced to ABR and became hopelessly addicted to their constant breaking of down. If Bucketlist’s Lizard Queen and I were to play our classic breakdown drinking game during this set, I’d be jaundicing from liver failure by the time “Back Burner” had come and gone. It was only after this famed record that the band truly came into their own in terms of groovy riffage and guitar complexities, but during this time in their lives it was alllllllll about them breakdowns, all of which sounded nice and fat on that big ol’ Metropolis stage. “Composure” gave me tingles and “Redemption” gave me “I’m sorry Jesus”-type erections, all of which I’d gladly do a second time another ten years from now.
The band itself have all aged fantastically, except maybe poor (and horribly balding) Jakey Lurhs. That was a shitty jab for comedic flavour, but real talk: although Jake is still an absolute monster at the microphone, I’ve found over the years (and my reviews) that his vocal range has gone more and more to absolute extremes, leaving no love for his mid ranges whatsoever. It’s either baby cries or corpse grinder gores, which isn’t necessarily the firey Lurhs that I fell in love with so many moons ago. Drummer Matt Greiner can still pump out a funky-ass drum solo, and every tune played from preceeding records was a good time, with maybe the exception of “Ghosts” featuring an electronic visit from Jeremy McKinnon of A Day to Remember. All in all, this show was another fantastic memory for the books, and enough downs were broken that I’m sure the Metropolis is more than excited for the pending renovations. I sure as hell am ready for the renovations I now sorely need in my pants.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson