My name confuses a lot of people. More than a few times, I’ve been stranded at a will-call window, pleading to get into a show for which I am set to review. Unfortunately, my night at The Cool Tour began as such.
Of course, I have no one to blame but my parents for giving me a boy’s moniker, but I was disappointed to have to miss the first short (but mighty, I am certain) sets by The Acacia Strain, War of Ages, Architects and Cancer Bats. However, it is with great confidence that I give the Canadian hardcore favorites, Cancer Bats, a blind five-star review. (I’ve been around the show-review block a few times with those guys)...
I made it into the Palladium just in time for Fearless Records quintet Blessthefall. I must admit I’ve always been a little skeptical about these guys. However, about 273 breakdowns later…I allowed my wall come down a bit. Great energy, effortless crowd participation…I wish I hadn’t been so snobby. Oh, and it would be criminal for me not to mention lead singer Beau Bokan’s arms. Ladies, he’s got it going on.
Next up was North Carolina-based Between the Buried and Me — the definite highlight of the evening. For years, I’ve struggled to define the highly technical yet deeply listenable sound of BTBAM. Progressive Metal? Experimental Hardcore? Who knows? The Cool Tour set finally allowed me to settle on an appropriate phrase: amazing talent. So many intricate layers to sort through, but they all somehow mesh together. From the looks of others around me, an eclectic group to say the least. I wasn’t the only one who thought so.
It’s with a heavy (pun intended) heart I report that perhaps the only slight letdown of the evening was Underoath. After the announcement was made this spring that Aaron Gillespie was leaving the band, I’ve been curious how these guys were going to make it work, both on and off stage.
To me, Aaron was Underoath. Unhappily, my fears were correct. The entire UO set felt a bit “off.” However, the music was partnered with a well-produced stage show. Perhaps it’s not for everyone, but I felt it gave all of us in the crowd a little something to think about.
Just in time, As I Lay Dying took the stage. While all of the gentlemen in AILD proved their worth as headliners, I have to single out lead vocalist Tim Lambesis as the winner of the night. It was his constant moxie that made me melt…I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. They must have played a dozen or so songs with no encore to speak of, but it really felt like one. And to me, that’s always been the sign of a great set.
Overall, kudos to the creators of The Cool Tour. Although, maybe next time put a little bit more thought into the title of what has to be the ultimate hardcore lineup of the year.
After all, changing the name of a concert tour is a lot easier than changing the name of a person.
By the time of next year's show, maybe I will make a pact to sort out the name game if they do. But either way, I am already looking forward to being there. Earlier.