There is one thing that will forever differentiate the real music fans, from the fakers (posers, what-have-you) – and that is their undying love for their favorite band’s live shows. Honestly, is there any feeling that really compares to the incredible euphoria that presents itself to your mind while making your way through the sweaty crowd? Singing every song as loud as you can, barely able to catch your breath. Leaving the venue with that unique high and rush of excitement, already reminiscing about what had just happened – what your eyes and ears had just witnessed. At the end of the day, those nights are what we live for – perfection.
Guest Writer – Drew Church’s Favorite Live Show:
The Devil Wears Prada and Killswitch Engage in 2010 @ Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, Oklahoma
When you’ve been to as many shows as I have, picking your favorite is like picking a favorite child. Lucky for me I don’t have that problem yet. Honestly, I can probably count the amount of bands I listen to that I haven’t seen live on one hand. But when one show in particular features your two favorite bands on this planet (or any other), the decision becomes a no-brainer. 2010 kicked off with a bang when Killswitch Engage announced they would be headlining a U.S. Winter Tour with The Devil Wears Prada. 24 states, and to my surprise Oklahoma (my home at the time) was one of them. The tour took an interesting turn when the band announced that frontman Howard Jones would be leaving for “unforeseen circumstances”. Phil Labonte, frontman for All That Remains, would be taking over the reins for the remainder of the tour. You would think the news would affect the show negatively but in all actuality, it may have drastically improved the setlist. The band had just released a new album that failed to live up to their earlier releases. The fill-in vocalist likely led to the band replacing some newer songs with their well-known (earlier/better) material. Prada came out swinging with the ending breakdown from “Lord Xenu” which led into “Hey John” followed by “Sassafras”. It was by far the heaviest beginning to a setlist I had ever witnessed. It was all topped off with my personal favorite track, “Assistant to the Regional Manager”. Mike Hranica was absolutely brilliant and by the end of the concert I found myself thinking, “If only The Devil Wears Prada could have been the headliner.”
Jarrod Church’s Favorite Live Show:
Protest the Hero, A Day To Remember, The Devil Wears Prada, Silverstein in 2007 @ The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts
Honest first impression – looking back on the show, one would think to themselves, “What is Silverstein doing here?” Another would say, “Wait, Silverstein is the headliner?” These would both be perfect observations from an outside spectator, because that was the exact thought running through my head that day. Even when you bring into consideration the fact that the other three bands had not hit that peak popularity (see the date – 2007), it just didn’t make sense. Back then, I considered myself a true metalhead, with an occasional slip-up here or there (Paramore, etc.). I was a huge Protest the Hero and A Day to Remember fan, and over the previous two months, had become heavily infatuated with The Devil Wears Prada. The thought, or even possibility, that all three would be playing together on the same tour – dude. Back in 2007, nobody (especially in the U.S.) knew of PTH, so when Rody Walker and company came on to that stage, the reaction wasn’t all that brilliant. Needless to say, myself and my brother (featured in this month’s Ranks) were the only two screaming back at Rody – every single word.
Moving through the powerhouse lineup, neither ADTR or Prada disappointed in the least. This was my first dose of Mike Hranica (sporting the long hair back then), and his stage presence and sheer punishment of his own vocal chords astounded me. Not to mention the forceful magnitude of shred that accompanied each song’s message. If I am being honest (and I am), I left the crowd prior to Silverstein’s stage entrance. After seeing them twice already, the night’s experience had already been had, or so I thought. No more than two songs into Silverstein’s set, my body found its way back to the pit area (almost as if I was completely powerless). Aside from two distinct years of Warped Tour (2006 and 2012) from my history with the tour, the 2007 powerhouse lineup that showed up that night in Massachusetts will always be the most impressive show of my lifetime – at least thus far. Stay tuned.
Chelsey Milkovich’s Favorite Live Show:
The Devil Wears Prada, Miss May I, Your Demise on August 28, 2010 @ The Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio
The night I fell in love with The Devil Wears Prada. I couldn’t describe a more perfect show than this one. I had little interest in seeing Your Demise, I had never heard of them before…and to be quite honest, I haven’t listened to them since that night. Miss May I played before Prada and this was the first time I was ever introduced to them. My mind was blown (no pun intended) and I listen to them almost daily now. When they closed their set with their cover of “Swing” I was instantly sold. Prada finally came out, and I’ll tell you this set was absolutely intense. It was an extremely small venue; I’ll compare it to the size of a normal-sized high school class room. The crowd was wild and it was so interactive. By the fourth or fifth song, it was obvious the crowd was beat, and then they began to play “Louder Than Thunder”. It was the most beautiful break I’d ever seen a band give. I know I’ll never relive a night where Prada plays in such a small venue, so that concert holds a special place in my heart and it always will.
Alexa Rahmanparast’s Favorite Live Show:
The 2010 Vans Warped Tour in in West Palm Beach, Florida
In the summer of 2010 I moved back to Miami after spending the last three years in Costa Rica. The moment I came back, my cousin excitedly told me about the Vans Warped Tour. As luck would have it, the tour happened to be at the West Palm Beach venue on my birthday and I was ready to spend it with my cousin as a music-filled day. For whatever reason, the fact that Florida is usually unbearably hot and sunny during the summer escaped us and we probably got third degree burns that day, but even then we had the best time. It’s safe to say that I was incredibly overwhelmed by the fact that music was playing in every direction at any given time. We spent the day jamming out to some of my favorite bands at the time, such as Bring Me the Horizon, Pierce the Veil, The Word Alive, Disco Curtis, and many more. Suicide Silence was among those bands, and I was lucky enough to see them before Mitch Lucker’s untimely demise. The tour was completely different from what I expected, but I mean that in the most positive way possible. That year I had the best birthday of my life and I attribute that almost entirely to the Vans Warped Tour.
Craig Roxburgh’s Favorite Live Show:
Jeremy Loops in 2014 @ The Kirstenbosch Gardens in South Africa
My best concert experience has to be a show I attended quite recently. It was the album launch for a South African artist called Jeremy Loops. He was releasing his debut album Trading Change. The show was sold out but luckily I had already got my ticket. We rock up at the venue a few hours beforehand and are greeted with an enormous line to get in. Then and there, I realized this was going to be a show for the books. The venue was a beautiful outdoor area in the Kirstenbosch gardens. Twas a warm autumn evening which contributed to the amazing vibe. Loops’ words before he kicked off the show were, “I want to make you happy.” That night, happiness was a river in Kirstenbosch. Leaping from one upbeat song to another, he led the crowd in enormous sing-alongs as he played all his popular tracks. There was nothing I enjoyed more than standing at the front of that crowd and dancing with complete strangers. You know it’s a good concert when you leave smiling, sore and armed with a signed copy of the album and few shitty selfies. Sorry Linkin Park, but Jeremy Loops knocked you out the ballpark.
Jeremy Vane-Tempest’s Favorite Live Show:
August Burns Red, Parkway Drive and Architects on August 15th, 2009 in Sydney, Australia
August Burns Red got me into metal. Parkway Drive were my favorite band for ages. My one dream was to see them tour together, but of course that could never happen. Things like that just don’t happen.
And then they announced an Australian tour in 2009 with Architects.
The Sydney show on August 15, 2009 was the best show I’ve ever been to. I’m sure it can’t have been good as I remember (rose-tinted glasses and such), but damn it, it was amazing. It was my first time seeing Architects, my first time seeing my gateway band, August Burns Red, and my third time seeing Parkway Drive. ABR slayed them all, because of course they did, but Parkway played “It’s Hard to Speak Without a Tongue” and got a circle pit with 2,000 people in it.
Anyway, my two favorite bands touring Australia together could never happen twice, let alone twice in two years…
Jason Gardner’s Favorite Live Show:
La Dispute @ Howell Opera House
I honestly wish I could remember more of this show – including the openers – but there’s too much story to this show in particular to consider anything else as perhaps the pinnacle of my concert-going experience. While I’ve seen the likes of Justin Timberlake and Brand New in my time, La Dispute captured something quite special that day when they played Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair in its entirety. Aside from the personal fanfare of that show – it was the first time my now-wife and I saw bands together – La Dispute churned through those songs with such emotion and vigor that it would cement the band as among my favorites to this day. The songs still ring with heartache and create many a lost voice, even as the band has released two full-lengths since.
Alexandra Bruckner’s Favorite Live Show:
Muse in Manchester
For the first 30 seconds of thinking about my absolute favorite show, a lot of options ran through my head…and then I realized that there was really only one possible winner, and that was Muse. I’ve seen Muse seven times – three different continents, four different countries, six different cities. To put it lightly, a Muse gig will top just about anything else for me.
And of those seven Muse concerts, #3 really sticks out: September 4th, 2010 at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester. What started as a pipe dream became the pinnacle of my Muse fanaticism. Looking back, the lengths I went to were pretty crazy. And other people thought so too, if we’re going by the incredulous tone of the immigration officer at the airport in Manchester as he asked me, “…you flew here from America for a concert? And you’re only here for two days?”
But it was worth every dollar and mile. I moshed, swooned, and danced through the set alongside 60,000 other screaming fans. From seeing “Citizen Erased” in all its shrieking, epic glory for the first time to drooling over Matt Bellamy’s LED-bedecked suit to getting a thrill over the first fluttering piano notes of “New Born”, this concert was my Muse grail. It’s the concert all others have to live up to. That following Monday, when I was back in America, sitting in my first classes of the semester, I may have been fighting through dozens of jet-lagged yawns on the outside, but in my head, I was reliving every laser-filled, eardrum-ringing, face-melting moment of the time I saw Muse in Manchester.
Eric Spitz’s Favorite Live Show:
Motion City Soundtrack, And We Danced on December 31 @ The Bottom Lounge in Chicago, Illinois
I’ve been to a lot of awesome concerts throughout the years, but if I had to pick one to call my favorite, it would probably be Motion City Soundtrack with And We Danced at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL on December 31. Motion City Soundtrack rang in the New Year (no pun intended), and brought a ton of energy to the bar venue by playing their debut album I Am the Movie in its entirety, along with some of their other hits.
The concert was a nostalgic trip for me, hearing songs such as “Indoor Living”, “Last Night”, and “Broken Heart”. After the concert, I had the privilege of meeting vocalist/guitarist Justin Pierre along with drummer Claudio Rivera. They were very genuine and down-to-earth dudes, which was just the cherry on top. Seeing one of my favorite bands live in Chicago on New Year’s Eve and even getting to meet the very musicians I idolize definitely made for a very good night.
Emma Guido’s Favorite Live Show:
The Started From the Bottom Now We Here Tour in 2013 @ Crocodile Rock in Allentown, Pennsylvania
The Started From The Bottom Now We Here Tour is one of the top shows I went to in 2013. With an entire crowd of people packed into the small space of Crocodile Rock in Allentown, PA, these bombastic bands got the entire venue moving and moshing to the electronic beats and brutal breakdowns. Palisades brought this party atmosphere to life and set the stage for DayShell to rock the audience with their stellar debut album. They were an odd group to throw into the lineup, but the smooth rock and roll sound they brought to the show complemented the other genres nicely. When Crown the Empire hit the stage, they tore it apart with their unique and heavy sound. This band’s quickly growing popularity is exciting to watch as their stage presence takes the show to a completely new level.
Although The Word Alive closed the show with their fierce sound, the highlight of the show was the incredible energy from I See Stars’ set. The crowd completely absorbed the fun and vigorous sound they create, and was given off by the spirited band who were having the time of their lives on stage. And of course, the dancing man on stage in a chicken suit during “Violent Bounce” certainly can’t be forgotten. This show had the precise balance of sound within bands that overall put on a show full of overwhelming energy, passionate excitement, and liberating exuberance, making it one I will never forget.