SEPTEMBER 16th 2013
Review By: Ayako Mayumi
Photos By: Peter Ruttan

This summer’s Monster Energy Rock Allegiance Tour, featuring the international lineup of Volbeat, HIM, All That Remains and Airbourne, hit the Abbotsford Sports Center. After a long wait outside, the fans were ready to be turned loose inside and wreak havoc for what was sure to be a night of intense action from some of the best musicians in the business.

Aussie rockers Airbourne open up this years Rock Allegiance Tour and there is no doubt that the AC/DC similarities can be heard throughout most of there songs if not all. Airbourne play their songs at a faster and more intense pace than the legendary rockers and to see them live is a real treat. Most songs clock in at under three and a half minutes -- the only exceptions being the tailor made ready to play live song "Ready To Rock" with its 'Ooooooh' sing along portions and the first single "Live It Up". Vocalist Joel O'Keeffe with the constant, strained screams of “Rock and roll!” are a straight-up hard rock band, simply stated, is just fun to listen to and watch.
Next on the bill was All That Remains hailing from Massachusetts.
There sound consists of fast and heavy “death metal” riffs and drums, yet also features clean and very melodic vocals during the choruses. Philip Labonte shattered some eardrums with his high and forceful screams and soaring melodic vocals. Crowd surfers floated forward and the pit once again exploded into fist-pumping, headbanging chaos as the band tore though old favorites such as “Tattered On My Sleeve,” and “This Darkened Heart.” A high point of their set was definitely the sweet riffs and impressive axe spinning of guitarists Oli Herbert and Mike Martin.

HIM, who casually took the stage to a screaming, anxious crowd. Lead singer Ville Valo, greeted the crowd with a smile and broke immediately into “Strange World” and for the next hour, the band played. HIM is a Finnish rock band from Helsinki. Formed in 1991 by vocalist Ville Valo, and current lineup consists of Valo, Linde, Migé, Janne "Emerson Burton" Puurtinen on keyboards and Mika Karppinen on drums. Fans were treated, to strong tracks that exemplify HIM’s dark yet poetic sound. ‘Hearts at War’ is one of the tracks where heavy riffs, dreamy keyboards, captive percussion pair perfectly with frontman Ville Valo’s warm vocals.
‘No Love’ may remind some fans of a ‘Razorblade Romance’ vibe, as Valo belts out “Forever and Ever!” which leads into punchy riffs not to mention an infectious chorus: “There’s no love / No love will be enough for what I’m feeling / No love / No love will be the end / Of this dreaming of you.”
Headliner Volbeat is more conceptually a metal outfit than in reality. The band’s early influences like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley bleed from every show delivered by a four piece that seems more focused on melodic verses than on pounding their skulls. With new lead guitarist Rob Caggiano (former Anthrax) now fully ingratiated, the band’s lineup proved to be complete and tight as ever on Sunday night, quickly pushing through song after song effortlessly.

The crowd went crazy for the snippet dedication of “Reign In Blood” to Jeff Hanneman and “Breaking The Law” snippet which served as the requisite intro to “Heaven nor Hell”. Poulson was very energetic in performing much of the new material from the just released “Outlaw Gentleman and Shady Ladies” album with “Lola Montez” and “Hangman’s Body Count” going over exceptionally well. Bassist Anders Kjolholm is the most fun member of Volbeat to watch. He was firing on all cylinders, providing tons of energy, smiles to the abbotsford crowd. Halfway through the show Poulsen encouraged the ladies in the crowd to jump atop men’s shoulders during an fast-paced rendition of “16 Dollars,”. Personally, my entire evening was made by the band performing my all time favorite Volbeat song “Maybellene I Hofteholder” and another track I haven’t seen them do in some time “Doc Holiday”.

For the closer Poulsen invite kids to come up on stage and rock out to "Still Counting". Volbeat did not disappoint with this show, as they were absolutely spot on and delivered a show for all ages. I would recommend you not to miss this tour!!