APRIL 1st 2017
THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE TOUR

Review by Lana Muirhead

Every time I head to Seattle, I have been treated to a different venue.  This particular night I ended up at the WaMu Theatre and it was hate at first entrance.  In my crochety, advanced years, I have found that large venues, with all ages of folks, just is not my scene; and this was no exception.

I came in during Beartooth’s set and being that this was my third or fourth time catching them live, I was unsurprised to hear them killing it.  Though there have been some lineup changes in their short five year existence, they have in no way slowed the behemoth that is Caleb Shomo (lead vocals), Taylor Lumley (lead guitar, backing vocals), Kamron Bradbury (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Oshie Bishar (bass, vocals), and Connor Denis (drums, percussion).  Since breaking onto the scene, their two studio albums and one EP have flown off the shelves (aka been bought a billion times on itunes or whatnot) and their fan base continues to grow.

They played a seriously short set, hitting all the highlights with “Aggressive”, “The Lines”, “In Between”, and closing with “Hated”; the misfits’ anthem.  Not a single one of the guys could keep still during the performance, running around, making use of the larger stage to play to all the faces in the crowd.  As much as Beartooth deserves to be on big stages, I feel that they put on a better show at a smaller venue.  Perhaps it’s simply because there’s more intimacy with a smaller venue and the band is still very much new to the spotlight in this particular form (Shomo has been a star before this in the metalcore band Attack! Attack!) and they feel more at home.  Regardless, they sounded great and we were made to remember that Beartooth will not go quietly into the night but shred through the darkness and tear up the hardcore scene.

Next on was Underoath.  I can honestly say that I had to look up their music before hitting this show because I was ignorantly unaware of their existence.  What I heard online was a little teenage angst-y but I went in with an open mind.  And I was pleasantly surprised.  To say Underoath has led a tumultuous existence would be putting it mildly.  Only a single member of the current lineup, drummer and clean vocalist Aaron Gillespie, remains from the original formation of the group back in 1997.  And even he took a two year break just prior to the dismemberment of the band (and obvious eventual re-formation).  Clearly they have gotten their collective shit together, however, as they put on a great show, and left a lot of the whiny adolescence in the past.

Timothy McTague (lead guitar, backing vocals), James Smith (rhythm guitar), Grant Brandell (bass guitar), Christopher Dudley (keys, synth, electronics), and frontman Spencer Chamberlain only pulled material from their last four albums, the last being released back in 2010.  They opened with “Everyone Looks So Good From Here” (I could have told you that!), and continued with “A Moment Suspended In Time”, “Illuminator”, “There Could Be Nothing After This”, “Reinventing Your Exit” and closer “Writing On The Walls”, to name a few.  The band was cohesive and straddles this odd line of post-hardcore/electronic/prog/metalcore, which makes them interesting to watch.  It seems that everyone has their musical silo, and they all play within it, yet somehow create a complete thing that needs all these parts.  While Chamberlain is running around screaming and throwing his mic at the stage floor, Dudley is grooving and girating at his boards, McTague and Smith are crunching away and Gillespie is doing this amazing thing at his kit.  It’s like watching five different sports at once.

But, as I said, they pull it off and I found myself enjoying the intensity of the affair and walking away with utmost respect for Gillespie, who seemingly could do it all without breaking a sweat.

The end game was Bring Me The Horizon, and though I could go on a bit about their show, there will be no photos for you to peruse as you read my brand of bullshit. Suffice it to say they sounded radio quality, but due to the obscene light show they carted with them, Oliver Sykes (lead vocals), Lee Malia (guitar), Matt Kean (bass), Jordan Fish (keys), and Matt Nicholls (drums) were only shadows to be seen milling about the stage.  It would seem the little British band that could has finally made it and no longer requires the services of editorialists hoping to shed some light on the experience of a night at their show.  For those of you who were there, you know how it went down, love it or not.  For those of you that weren’t: apparently you will never know…Rage on metalheads, catch you at the next.