Every so often, a mega tour comes around; something the kids will absolutely melt their genitals for in some disgusting internet challenge (if that turns out to become real, I’m calling dibs on royalties!) right before grabbing mommy or daddy’s credit card to make sure they can go. Sadly, however, for grumpy fucks like me it’s usually a night of bands I’ve seen more times than I’ve masturbated today. Fortunately, I get really nostalgic when seeing a band over and over (kinda like my masturbatory habits). Parkway Drive and August Burns Red took to the streets on co-headlining a tour that hit MTelus here in Montreal this past Sunday, September 9th, and I’m here to regurgitate my opinion of it.
What better way to crack open a night like this one than with a band I actually hadn’t seen before, Sydney, Australia’s Polaris. They may have only had twenty-five minutes to shine, but shine they fuckin did! Though the room sound was a bit muggy, there’s no doubt that each of these dudes brought a special kind of passion that excused a whole lot of shit. On paper this band is incredibly cookie cutter in the metalcore world, but in execution, there was something special and enthralling about it. Picture a Northlane and My Ticket Home love child. It was progressive but almost simple, and nasty on the groove. I may not agree with the direction that Parkway Drive has gone musically (Spoiler alert!), but I absolutely have to give respect for their choice in constantly touring with ridiculous Australian talent every time they leave their paradise of perpetual danger.
Following up was a late 2000’s metalcore household name of epic proportions, The Devil Wears Prada. Though this band has been ripping their off-brand take on the metalcore tree since 2005, it took me until the recent release Transit Blues to either get it, or to just groove with it the way it was intended. Either way, these dudes bring an incredibly unique performance to the table in terms of how incredibly raw and inconsistent they can be, both of which are dangerous tactics to bring to the table. They’re raw in the sense that although they dance on the more produced end of the spectrum, every inch of what they play live is done live for better or worse, which is what I mean by inconsistent. Again, this isn’t a tactic I would suggest to anybody, but these dudes bring a sense of danger to their performance which somehow makes it so fucking captivating. It’s a bit like watching a dude juggle dildos with his ass cheeks; you don’t wanna see him fuck up, but you can’t stop watching in anticipation of the seemingly inevitable.
Ahh August Burns Red, we meet again. What is left to say that I haven’t already said in my previous three fucking reviews of this band live? Usually, this band brings an incredible amount of nostalgia for me. Sadly, this is no longer the case as I feel that this band has come to somewhat of a creative halt. Though I commend their steadfast approach to their particular brand of metalcore, ever unwavering and consistent, I can’t help but feel that a plateau has been reached creatively and the excitement has begun to fade in new material. Old ABR, though? Give me that shit any day of the week! Their musical performance was perfection as always, and although frontman Jake Luhrs just seems to get weirder and more theatric with his stage performance, there’s no questioning that the essentials are still there, even if the spectaculars are not. My only qualm with this set was, and will always be, song choice. Promote the fuck out of your new shit, I get that, but fucking Thrill Seeker deserves it’s one track, dude!
Speaking of respecting the way things were (and finishing off this grumpy pants-filler of a show) is the beast of Byron Bay and the reason why any metalhead questions what the fuck is in the water in Australia – Parkway Drive. Disclaimer: I’m not as down with this band as I once was, and it’s absolutely for the shittiest of reasons. I’m not going to be some rocking chair diaper retiree screaming “SELL OUT!!!!” But I very much am going to call a spade a spade. This is a band that once made some of the most genital-eruptive metalcore from around the globe, yet here we are, listening to their best Motley Crue impression with their latest release Reverence, but alas I digress. Performance-wise, this act still has it. Not a note was skimped on, the engineering value behind their live sound was impeccable on all fronts, and although they’re all starting to show a little age and little less enthusiasm, old bangers like “Carrion” and “Idols and Anchors” still made the splash they once did, regardless of whether it resonated stylistically with their more recent fanbase. It’s just more and more apparent to me that pandering to a wider fanbase has become more important than fidelity to their ridiculous talent and original fire. One could argue that I just made the opposite point regarding the stagnancy of ABR, to which I preach a happy medium that is seldom reached. More importantly, Fuck you it’s my review.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Danny Donovan
*edited by Kate Erickson