All posts in concerts

29Jun

Memphis May Fire at Union Transfer

In conjunction with the release of their seventh studio album, Memphis May Fire embarked on a 30-show, cross country tour with the help of some notable friends. Along with From Ashes to New, Rain City Drive and Wolves at the Gate, the Texas-based quartet hit the road for the SiriusXM Octane Presents The Remade In Misery Tour.

In the main event of the evening, Memphis May Fire wasted no time diving into their hourlong performance, starting with “Blood & Water,” the opening track on their seventh studio album, Remade in Misery, which dropped on June 3. Matty Mullins, Kellen McGregor, Cory Elder and Jake Garland clearly put a ton of time and energy into their latest record, which is littered with numerous singles that’ll be featured on hard rock charts in the coming weeks and months.

While Memphis May Fire will always be known for their hard rock/metalcore sound, the coolest moment of their performance was when they paused to dedicate one of their slower tracks, “Miles Away,” to the men and women who willingly serve in the military and, in Mullins’ words, truly understand what it means to pack up, leave your family behind and follow orders.

28Jun

From Ashes to New at Union Transfer

From Ashes to New were up next and, considering the band was started in Pennsylvania in 2013, it’s safe to say that they were just as excited for the opportunity to play a hometown show as the crowd was to see them live. While From Ashes to New — which is Danny Case (lead vocals), Matt Brandyberry (rap/clean vocals), Lance Dowdle (lead guitar) and Mat Madiro (drums) — have released three studio albums, they also spent much of their pandemic-induced downtime creating a series of Quarantine Chronicles EPs. In short, they have plenty of new material for fans and it showed with their lengthy setlist for the evening.

From Ashes to New’s well-polished performance included several highlights, including their newest single “Heartache” which was recently released. Before diving into “Scars That I’m Hiding,” Brandyberry earned a loud and warm ovation when he said to the crowd: “All the hard work of the last decade means something or if I’m in a popularity contest. You fuckers save me every single night.”

One of the more humorous moments of the evening came when Case exclaimed, “This one goes out to all of you” as he strummed the first notes of “Crazy” on his acoustic guitar. Anyone familiar with the reputation of Philadelphia sports fans completely understood where he was coming from.

27Jun

Rain City Drive at Union Transfer

While Rain City Drive might not necessarily be a household name just yet, it’s safe to say you’ve probably heard of them and are familiar with several of their singles over the years. That’s because, until last year, they were known as Slaves and they’ve been a mainstay on hard rock stations for years.

While Matt McAndrew (lead vocals), Colin Vieira (bass), Weston Richmond (lead guitar), Felipe Sanchez (rhythm guitar) and Zachary Baker (drums) might go by a new name these days, they smartly played a set featuring their biggest hits to remind the packed venue this isn’t their first rodeo. Their setlist for the evening included many of their most well known hits, such as “Waiting On You,” “Talk to a Friend” and “Dreams.”

That said, the standout song from Rain City Drive’s performance in Philadelphia was “Blood Runs Cold,” their upcoming single which will be hitting Octane’s airwaves in the not-too-distant future.

27Jun

Wolves at the Gate at Union Transfer

Before they were announced as part of the SiriusXM Octane Presents The Remade In Misery Tour, I wasn’t very familiar with Wolves at the Gate. After seen them live, I now consider myself a fan.

Christian metal group Wolves at the Gate, which is comprised of rhythm guitarist/clean vocalist Steve Cobucci, bass guitarist Ben Summers, unclean vocalist Nick Detty, drummer Abishai Collingsworth and lead guitarist Joey Alarcon, set the tone early with a high-energy set that raised the bar for everyone taking the stage that evening.

For any hard rock fans who were unfamiliar with Wolves at the Gate, diving into “Peace That Starts the War” and “Lights & Fire” back to back at the top of their set was a brilliant introduction to their sound. As the band took a quick breath midway through their allotted time, Cobucci won the crowd over when he shared, “My kids are 5-years-old and have never seen me play, but they’re here tonight.”

18May

Buckcherry at Tally Ho Theater

Buckcherry could absolutely be the poster child for the quintessential rock band, experiencing the highest of highs and lowest of lows that come with living life on the road in such a volatile occupation.

The Anaheim band, led by frontman Josh Todd, was created in 1995, saw its self-titled debut album earn gold status in ’99 and then, thanks to internal issues, Buckcherry broke up in 2002. And yet, two decades later, the band is touring in support of their ninth-studio album, Hellbound, which was released last June.

With a sound that, at times, has been referred to as sleaze rock, Todd, along with Stevie D. and Billy Rowe on guitar, bassist Kelly LeMieux and drummer Francis Ruiz, are still going strong. Yes, they still roll out their smash hits, like “Crazy Bitch” and “Lit Up,” but newer tracks such as “Hellhound” are worth your time as well.

17May

Blacktop Mojo at Tally Ho Theater

Although they’ve only been around since 2012, it feels like Blacktop Mojo has been around much longer.

Maybe it has something to do with their throwback sound, which has been described as a cross between Soundgarden and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Maybe it’s the soulful sounds that emanate from frontman Matt James’ pipes when he bellows out the lyrics along with the musical stylings of guitarist Chuck Wepfer, bassist Matt Curtis, drummer Nathan Gillis and touring guitarist Malcolm Booher. Whatever the case, the boys from Palestine, Texas continue to produce music I cannot get enough of.

From those uninitiated, might I suggest the band’s amazing cover of “Dream On,” by Aerosmith, which, at last count, had more than 23 million views. From there, be sure to check out “Where the Wind Blows” and “Tail Lights.” And if Blacktop Mojo happens to come to your town, you’d be wise to see them live. Because they definitely know how to put on one helluva performance.

19Apr

Fozzy at Tally Ho Theater

For more than 30 years, Chris Jericho has entertained millions of fans around the globe as one of the biggest names in professional wrestling. In addition to being one of the faces and founding members of All Elite Wrestling, Jericho is also the lead singer for a hard rock band that continually punches above its weight class.

“If Metallica and Journey had a bastard child, it would be Fozzy.” That’s how wrestler-turned-frontman Jericho once described his band, and it makes a lot of sense. When Jericho takes to the stage with lead guitarist Rich “The Duke” Ward, rhythm guitarist Billy Grey, bassist P. J. Farley and drummer Grant Brooks, big things happen.

With five consecutive top 20 singles, including “Judas,” which earned certified gold status earlier this year, Fozzy has absolutely established themselves as a heavyweight in the world of hard rock. When they came to Virginia, their most recent track, “I Still Burn,” was the most added song in hard rock. And yet, none of those accolades addresses just how much fun Fozzy is live and in person. Whether they’re playing an intimate venue or a massive music festival, the charisma and energy level never waivers. Bottom line: these five performers are world-class entertainers.

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