Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guess Who's Back In Town. A Killswitch Engage Concert Review


For me, 2013 is rapidly becoming the year of the concert - just as I had intended.
I was determined that this year I would have no regrets. I wasn't going to say "I wish I'd been there."
I would be there! Every concert I want to see, I will see. So far I'm living up to my word -- and I'm having a blast doing it.
The early part of the year has brought a lot of change to my life and allowed me more free time than I've had in a while. I'm taking full advantage of it and scouring the concert lineups often so as not to miss a thing. 

That being said, I set off again for another show. This time heading in a different direction. Instead of east to Toronto,  Kevin (my former guitarist), his brother Russ, and I headed about 100km west of Toronto to the quiet town of Guelph, which is a most unlikely destination for a metalcore show. The show featured four bands, the headliner being Killswitch Engage. 

The Guelph Concert Hall holds a crowd of about a 1000 and has recently become the choice venue in southern Ontario for some rather prestigious bands. We arrived early enough to grab a bite to eat. Based on the restaurant patronage, it was obvious there was some sort of event in town. It was an eclectic looking bunch -- present company included. A metal crowd certainly isn't as stereotypical as it once was. My cohorts looked outstanding dressed in their utilikilts and combat boots. (I love my friends!)

The capacity crowd packed into the venue. The first band was already on stage as we stopped by the bar before heading deep into the masses. It was an all ages show, so the venue was split. We found a great spot just a couple of feet from the circle pit. We were behind a small barrier that provided an excellent view and a little shelter from the sweaty bodies hurling each other around and the airborne shoes and beer cans.
My taste in metal has become heavier through the years, but I still have a need for a somewhat audible vocal. The first two bands, although high energy and super thrashy, lacked in that department. They were, however, fun to watch and a great warmup for the crowd. Miss May I was the third band to take the stage and they really delivered.
They are a young, five-piece unit from Troy, Ohio, and have been together for four years. They have the traditional growling metalcore vocalist, but their bass player sings an equal part of the leads and has a phenomenal voice. They're not your typical "I hate everything and everyone" band. Their lyrics are packed full of personal experience and their fans can identify with them well.  I was thoroughly impressed by Miss May I. Don't miss your chance to see them as they continue their summer tour with the Mayhem Festival and then go out in the fall supporting another one of my favorite bands, Five Finger Death Punch.
The crowd was well primed and many were shirtless (yikes!) by the time the headliners took the stage. Killswitch Engage let loose an unbridled fury with former lead singer Jesse Leach back at the helm. The crowd was rabid with excitement as they played one hit after another. The energy was overwhelming. The licensed area didn't have access to the pit, but that didn't stop a constant stream of excited fans trying to rush through time and time again. At one point, we even helped a guy up and over the barrier so he could surf his way to the front.
The set list was stellar! They opened with "New Awakening" from their new album Disarm the Descent. The powerful energy never gave way the whole show. They played many songs from their new album and a lot of favorites from their 2002 landmark CD Alive or Just Breathing. The return of Jesse Leach has been much anticipated and welcomed by the band and fans alike -- and it showed!
Returning to their roots, Killswitch Engage promise to bring a bright, new energy to an already highly successful career. Look for KsE as they continue their headlining tour and again as they head out in the fall with Lamb of God and Testament. 

Killswitch Engage Setlist
Guelph Concert Hall:

New Awakening 
A Bid Farewell 
Fixation on the Darkness 
The Hell in Me 
Life to Lifeless 
No End in Sight 
Take This Oath 
The Arms of Sorrow 
Beyond the Flames 
This Is Absolution 
All We Have 
Rose of Sharyn 
Numbered Days 
Self Revolution 
In Due Time 
My Curse 
The End of Heartache 
My Last Serenade 

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