Friday, October 19th, was a big night for hardcore metal music at Las Vegas' Brooklyn Bowl, and on the bill were three bands from the East Coast (Sanction from Long Island NY, Wage War from Ocala FL, and Emmure from Queens NY) combined with one from the West Coast (Stick To Your Guns from Orange County CA).
Sanction opened the show, in my opinion the hardest of these hardcore bands, basically more along the lines of deathcore. They were definitely a good choice to get the show started and played with a lot of energy and passion, and as soon as they came out a large mosh-pit formed about 6 rows back from the crowd at the rail. Now, I don't go to a lot of hardcore shows, but I do enjoy a good melodic metalcore band and the energy from the crowds that they draw, especially the mosh-pits. But there's a trend now, especially from NY bands, called "crowd killing", where the moshers basically flail and kick as wildly, and were throwing arms and elbows, doing roundhouse kicks - I even saw one guy do multiple roundhouses from one side of the floor to the other, in a capoeira-like dance. This bunch, for the most part, looked like they were intentionally missing each other, and most of the crowd gave them a wide enough berth that they never really came in contact with the onlookers. All of this seemed a bit unnecessary and against the spirit of traditional moshing, but that's just my opinion. Sanction played a fast-paced, short set of about six brutal songs. They are very good musicians, with harsh, growling vocals, and are an up-and-coming band in the Long Island hardcore scene definitely worth a look/listen.
Wage War have been around since 2010, but went under the name Empires early on. After a couple of name and lineup changes they solidified as Wage War and have released two studio albums under that name (Blueprints 2015 and Deadweight 2017). Wage War consists of Briton Bond (vocals), Cody Quistad (guitar/vocals), Seth Blake (guitar), Chris Gaylord (bass), and Stephen Kluesener (drums). They have a good mix of clean and unclean vocals, with hard-hitting drums, fast-paced riffing, and slow breakdowns. All but two songs in their setlist were off of Deadweight, and hearing them live made me a fan. I ordered the CD from Amazon as soon as I got home. These guys are outstanding!
Wage War Set List:
Don't Let Me Fade Away
Wage War Photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Following Wage War was no easy task, but Stick To Your Guns are seasoned veterans and handled it with aplomb. STYG is comprised of Jesse Barnett (lead vocals, piano, guitar), Andrew Rose (bass), George Schmitz (drums), Chris Rawson (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Josh James (lead guitar, backing vocals). They have been around since 2003, so they're not "new" to the scene., and with six studio albums and a few EPs under their belt they have a large catalog to draw from, and played music from almost all of them. "Against Them All" encouraged the crowd to move, they got the mosh-pit going strong once again, although the crowd-killing seemed to have ended and it started to look like a more traditional pit. Stick To Your Guns plays with a ridiculous amount of energy, with all four of the guys out front milling about and jumping around on stage, during their entire set there was a steady flow of bodies pouring over the barrier in front of the stage and the pit stayed active. At one point singer Jesse Barnett jumped downb from the stage to engage the crowd from the barricade, which caused a frenzy and had security on their toes. Stick To Your Guns put on a great show and were the perfect follow-up to Wage War, not to mention a great setup band for the headliner of the evening, Emmure!
Stick to Your Guns Set List:
Against Them All
The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: "Penance of Self"
Married To The Noise
What Choice Did You Give Us?
We Still Believe
The Reach For Me: "Forgiveness of Self"
Nothing You Can Do To Me
Doomed By You
This Is More
Stick To Your Guns Photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
Emmure took to the stage and there was a noticeable surge to the stage front and the crowd thickened significantly in front of the mosh-pit. While Emmure is very much a hardcore/metalcore type of band many of their songs feature a rap-like lyrical delivery. They also have a good mix of harsh, screaming vocals mixed with the occasional clean. Emmure has been around since 2003 but singer Frankie Palmeri is the only remaining orginal member of the band, and was joined by Joshua Travis (guitar), Nicholas Pyatt (bass), and Josh Miller (drums). Emmure released a studio album in 2017 called Look At Yourself, their seventh studio release, and a large percentage of the songs they performed this night came from that album - playing almost the entire album from start to finish. The final six songs were from older works and were obviously more familiar to the crowd, as more began to sing along with Palmeri. Although a very controversial figure, Palmeri is a charismatic performer and front man, keeping the audience thoroughly engaged throughout the set. His vocal delivery is spot-on whether he's doing a growling scream, rapping hardcore, or spilling out clean vocals, he sounds great. Emmure is a fantastic band and their new album sounds incredible when performed live.
Emmure Set List:
You Asked For It
Natural Born Killer
Flag of The Beast
Ice Man Confessions
Russian Hotel Aftermath
Call Me Ninib
4 Poisons 3 Words
Children of Cybertron
Solar Flare Homicide
When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong
Emmure Photos from Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos