When I entered Place Bell to receive my ticket, I was bewildered as I looked at the row and seat number. I had a seat. I already felt like royalty, the staff there were efficient, polite and getting to my seat was very easy.
What I saw was a pretty decent floor crowd: it wasn’t jammed but it was filled quite a bit. I wasn’t really sure who Fever 333 was, I had just heard the name. It was dark, and some EDM track was playing while a masked man in a jumpsuit that looked like he was about to be hung from the gallows stood before everyone in the T-shaped stage. What happened next was phenomenal. The man unmasked himself (vocalist Jason Aalon Butler), proclaimed “Montreal, get the FUCK up!” as a bass heavy, Rage Against the Machine-esque vibe coupled with arena rock and catchy hooks played. This trio meant business. Although backing tracks heavily saturated their sound, the vocals and the instruments where raw. There was no autotune. I think this band is the most animated on the planet. Guitarist Stephen Harrison smacked his vocalist (who had undone half his jumpsuit, topless) at one point, all in fun, while the drummer got off his kit and did a full backflip, I kid you not. This band’s sound is very RATM meetings Sabotage-era Beastie Boys gone hardcore and they seriously stole the entire show for me.
Up next was a complete antithesis. It was the veteran rock band Thrice. However, their approach wasn’t subpar at all. It was just a completely different approach. I heard Thrice when I was younger, and I was expecting another traditional post-rock band. I was wrong. Drummer Riley Breckenridge was playing some amazing off beats a la prog. Dustin Kensrue’s voice was soothing in his cleans while angsty, borderline grungy in his rough voice. Guitarist Teppei Teranishi acted as a keyboardist for certain parts (which amazed me) and Bassist Eddie Breckenridge was as tight as his brother, they had the rhythm lockjawed. Thrice also did not use the vertical platform on the T-stage, they stayed traditional. They did, however, have an epic light show that almost gave me seizures even though I don’t suffer from them. The band’s sound has definitely matured; the best way I can put it is they sound like prog rock meets stoner rock baptized in post-hardcore. If that doesn’t spell maturity I don’t know what does.
Lastly were genre innovators Bring Me The Horizon. The question on everyone’s mind was what their setlist was going to be like, because their newest album, Amo, was completely pop rock. Their last two eras were post-hardcore and deathcore. This is a huge shift. They played it smart. They only played songs from the last three albums. The heaviest song in the set was “The House of Wolves” from Sempiternal. The rest was a lot more arena rock oriented with newer songs like “Medicine.” As for their stage presence, it was a mix of the previous two bands, the sweet spot if you will. Oli Sykes was the most animated. Mat Keene’s bass was tighter than ever. Lee Malia and John Jones did an amazing job switching tones for the right songs (they have to cover certain eras, that means certain sounds). Matt Nicholls’ drumming fit every song perfectly, not too much, not too basic. I didn’t even know BMTH had a keyboardist until I saw Jordan Fish, I thought they were going to use backing tracks.
BMTH are professionals, always two – three years ahead of the curb. My only critique was that the gutturals sounded muffled. But then again, they don’t play deathcore anymore. They play pop rock now, and very well. Maybe they should change their name to “The Horizon,” because they’ve definitely reached it.
Written by Peter Lountzis
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Danielle Kenedy