By Matt “Rabit” Martinez, Red Hare Images
The music industry can be a tough industry to get into and stay relevant. With popular opinion constantly changing, trends coming and going, and band line ups constantly changing. It can be a very rare thing to see bands last more than 10 years with the same line up and relevance throughout their career, especially in the metal genre. However, some bands do manage to do it and a lot of that comes down to fan support. One of those bands is metalcore greats Atreyu, who have embarked on their 20 year anniversary tour. On top of how long they have been going, they have been sporting the same line up since 2004, which is a hell of an accomplishment. Bringing with them are deathcore giants Whitechapel, He is Legend, rising stars Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz (who we unfortunately missed due to traffic).
The first band we got to see that night was home town heroes Tempting Fate. The band came out with the most energy of any band of the night, except Atreyu later that night, and ready to get the crowd pumped up. Front man Corey Beecher got the set started with “Filthy” attacking the audience with his vocal tenacity. Guitarist Shane Beecher and bassist Matt Campbell could be seen messing with each other throughout the set, yet never causing each other to stumble over their instruments. It was great to see the comradery of the band members playing off each other throughout the set. Not to be forgotten drummer Alex Rivas blasted his cymbals and bass with power to make you aware he was just as energetic as the rest of the band. At one-point Corey jumped into the crowd to sing and mosh with the audience. Though Tempting Fate had only a 30 minute set consisting of songs like “Eminence,” “Falling to Pieces,” “I’d Rather Burn,” “A Place Called Home,” and “Sik” they left a lasting impression on the crowd. Including myself, as I picked up their whole album collection after their set.
Full Tempting Fate gallery below:
Up next was a change of pace with He is Legend. The boys from North Carolina find a way to fluently mix stoner rock, psychedelic rock, and alt metal to create a unique sound. Starting the night with “White Bat,” lead singer Schuylar Croom came out dancing before going into his crooning screamed vocals. Guitarist Adam Tanbouz comes in with some of the crunchiest guitar riffs of the night. While bassist Matty Williams and drummer Jesse Shelley keep the beat strong that allows Croom to dance all night long. He is Legend finds a way to mix a slew of genres into a type of jazz metal with songs like “Burn All Your Rock Records,” “The Widow of Magnolia,” “Attack of the Dungeon Witch,” “Everyone I Know Has Fangs,” and “Boogeywoman.” He is Legend got people moving on the dance floor and in the pit that night.
Full He is Legend gallery below:
Coming up next was easily the heaviest band of the night, and one of the most epic bands in the deathcore genre. I am of course talking about Whitechapel, fronted by the beloved Phil Bozeman. Bozeman manages to have one of the deepest and guttural screams in metal yet you can still understand what he is singing. His ferocity on stage is only amplified by the crowd screaming back at him and the mosh pit going crazy. Whitechapel also boasts three guitarists consisting of Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder who all layer their guitar work to create heavy guitar riffs, melodic interludes, and crunchy djent rhythms. Bassist Gabe Crisp is a towering monster on stage who makes his bass guitar look like a child’s play thing in his hands, while touring drummer Alex Rüdinger goes ham on his cymbals and snare. This was my first time seeing Whitechapel, and after hearing all the praise this band gets, I finally understand why. What probably surprised me the most was the song “Hickory Creek” which is a relatively slow song, and Bozeman actually sings clean. It was the most melodic song of their set, yet still had movements to it where you were just swaying to the melody, then shifting into full on head banging. The band is ferocious with how it attacks each song like “Forgiveness is Weakness,” “Black Bear,” “When a Demon Defiles a Witch,” “Our Endless War,” and ending the night with “The Saw is the Law.” Whitechapel made me a fan that night, and probably a few others who also were seeing them for the first time.
Full Whitechapel gallery below:
Though the Belasco theatre is a decent size, it can only hold up to 1,000 people in the venue. That wasn’t gonna stop Atreyu from bringing an arena style rock show to the citizens of LA. Stacking the back of the stage with huge light racks, bringing in multiple layered ramps for the band to run up, and positioning drummer Brandon Saller seemingly 15ft in the air, we were gonna get a bigger style show than we expected that night. Starting the night off with “The Time is Now” off of their latest album In Our Wake, the lights light up the Belasco Theatre and out ran Atreyu. Handling the drums and co-vocals Brandon Saller could be seen beating on his kit while singing the opening to the song, as Alex Varkatzas picks it up during the chorus. Guitarist Dan Jacobs could be seen running around the stage playing to every fan in attendance that night, while fellow guitarist Travis Miguel traded lead and rhythm duties on guitar. Not to be outclassed in stage antics, bassist Porter McKnight would fling his bass over his head while whipping his chest long beard everywhere. McKnight even ran into the crowd and up to the second level to play an entire song surrounded by fans in the nose bleeds. The band was in high spirits performing for their home town.
As Atreyu was celebrating 20 years of being a band, they gave the fans a performance that consisted of songs across their entire discography. With songs off their first album Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kiss like “Ain’t Love Grand” & “Lip Gloss and Black.” To songs off their critically acclaimed album Lead Sails Paper Anchor like “Becoming the Bull,” “Doomsday,” and my personal favorite “Blow.” Playing the most amount of songs off their two albums The Curse and A Death-Grip on Yesterday like “Right Side of the Bed,” “The Crimson,” “Bleeding Mascara,” “Ex’s and Oh’s,” “My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in My Back),” and “Our Sick Story (Thus Far).” Atreyu created this tour as a thank you to all the fans that have supported them over the course of their 20 year career. From fans who have been following them since the beginning, to the fans that may have just got into them with their latest album. Regardless of when you found Atreyu, this show was for you and you could tell each band member was just having fun on stage playing for the crowd that night.
Full Atreyu gallery below:
It takes a great band, and special bond from each member to last for 20 years without a significant line up change, but Atreyu has that bond and special connection with the fans. Seeing their energy on stage, you know there is no stopping for this band any time soon. Though they are not as well-known Tempting Fate has the potential to be headlining their own shows in the near future. He is Legend continue to groove on their stoner rock vibes. While Whitechapel use their stage presence and sheer force of will to turn non-deathcore fans into Whitechapel fans. This was a special kind of tour that is unfortunate for any Atreyu fan who may have missed it. But don’t worry, Atreyu will be back again.