Friday night’s show at Blue Moose was perhaps the most intense concert I have ever experienced. This was the first time I have ever seen Blue Moose have a double-digit amount of security guys, as well as a barrier between the crowd and the stage for the security to safely put down the crowd surfers. Genres ranged from hardcore punk, to metalcore, to even death metal, and the audience ranged from crazy, to crazier.
The opening band was This Is Hell, a melodic hardcore band from Long Island. Right away I knew I would like these guys, just because vocalist Travis Reilly was wearing a “Free Randy Blythe” shirt. Randy Blythe is the vocalist of the groove metal band Lamb Of God, who is currently on trial for manslaughter charges. Long story short, he’s probably innocent. Anyway, This Is Hell did not disappoint. They brought the speed and energy of hardcore, but also had a nice edge of melody. Also, guitarist Rick Jimenez kept doing crazy jumps where he’d kick his foot higher than his head. They also demanded the crowd to form a circle pit, which is essential for any kind of heavy concert.
Despite the next band’s name, and the hilarious country songs being played as they took the stage, Job For A Cowboy is the farthest thing from country. Hailing from Glendale, Arizona, this band plays a slightly scary version of death metal. In addition to the usual low-pitched growling and aggressively heavy instrumentals, vocalist Jonny Davy likes to mix in blood-curdling screams to go with split-second instrumental shifts. I’ll admit, I was a little worried that their set would be overwhelming, but it was actually pretty cool. I especially liked their opener, “Entombment of a Machine,” as well “Knee Deep,” which has a hilarious YouTubevideo of the song synced with SpongeBob.
Los Angeles’ Terror followed. This hardcore band literally brought terror to Blue Moose, or at least the security guys. Hardcore is known for high-energy performances, but vocalist Scott Vogel, despite wearing a Nike polo and cargo shorts, brings it to the next level. He insisted that the crowd should give the security guys a challenge and make them work for their paycheck, and they did just that. Relentless crowd surfing, stage diving, moshing, and even fights ensued. He also said that it was one of the guitarist’s birthdays, so we had to get rowdier for him. Before the concert started, I wondered if the barrier and all the security was necessary, and now I see that they definitely were. After their set, I came to the conclusion that Vogel was wearing a Nike polo because they must sponsor him, considering the ridiculous amount of running and jumping he was doing.
The fourth band of the night was Buffalo’s Every Time I Die. Formed in 1998 by the Buckley brothers of Keith (vocals) and Jordan (guitar), this metalcore outfit has garnered success over their years, having their last four albums debuting in the Billboard Top 100. Unfortunately, I missed a large chunk of their set due to a non-Blue Moose employed security guy harassing me about taking pictures. From what I could hear, it sounded like Keith, who also sings for the hard rock supergroup The Damned Things with members of Anthrax and Fall Out Boy, had his vocals drowned out by the instrumentals. His screams sounded fine, but his clean singing got muffled.
The hardcore gods of Hatebreed closed out the show. From Bridgeport, Connecticut, this Grammy-nominated band put on an incredible set. Led by the ingenious Jamey Jasta, Hatebreed’s music encompasses energy, angst, thrash, melody, and hope all at the same time. Yes, they have violent riot-inducing songs like, “Everyone Bleeds Now” and “Destroy Everything,” but they also have a lot of surprisingly inspirational songs, like “This is Now,” and “Live for This.” This is the 15 year anniversary of their 1997 debut, Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire, so they played a lot from that album, but they also made sure to play all their other hits too, like the fan-favorites “In Ashes They Shall Reap,” and encored with their anthemic “I Will Be Heard.” Even if you didn’t know any Hatebreed songs going into the concert (shame on you), you could still really get into it. Jasta sings, or actually shouts, with so much passion you can’t help but to share his emotion.
This was one of the most enjoyable concerts I have gone to in awhile. Yes, my neck hurts from consistent headbanging. Yes, my throat hurts from shouting along. Yes, my ears hurt from being abused by devastatingly loud sound. And yes, my whole body hurts from the hit-and-be-hit atmosphere of the crowd. What that says to me, is this concert kicked the butt of all other concerts.