All posts in concerts


Motionless In White at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena

Like an iconic movie franchise, the Trinity of Terror tour was destined to be immortalized as a trilogy.

Three of hard rock’s heaviest hitters have been performing together for close to a year now and are showing no signs of slowing down. Co-headliners Black Veil Brides, Ice Nine Kills and Motionless In White rolled into Baltimore, in the midst of the third leg of the aptly named Trinity Of Terror tour, and put on one helluva show for those who braved a cold and dreary evening to get to Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena.

Regardless of the order, all three acts command a stage as if they’re the headliner so in spite of the early start time, Motionless In White immediately sent the sellout crowd into a frenzy as soon as lead singer Chris Motionless implored those in attendance to “Get up! Get up!” with the opening line of “Disguise.”

For the next 50 minutes, the pride of Scranton, Pennsylvania, had the entire building eating out of their proverbial hands as they performed tracks such as “Werewolf,” their smash-hit “Masterpiece” and their unique rendition of The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me.”

According to the band, which was formed in 2005, their name is derived from a song called “Motionless and White” by Eighteen Visions. Regardless of their initial inspiration, they are a well-oiled machine at this stage of their musical careers. And, after seeing Motionless In White live for the first time, it makes perfect sense why they would lend one of their tracks to World Wrestling Entertainment for Rhea Ripley’s entrance music. Chris Motionless and friends have a similar charisma and stage presence to those world-class entertainers, so the pairing is an all-time no-brainer. As soon as their set came to a close, concert-goers could be heard already looking forward to the next time they would be able to see Motionless In White in concert again.


Black Veil Brides at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena

In Roman Catholic terminology, a “black veil bride” is a woman who marries into the church and gives up all the pleasures of life in devotion to God. If that’s the case with the Hollywood-based band of the same name, they’re doing a splendid job of hiding it these days. The look, feel and sound of Black Veil Brides has changed since they initially formed back in 2006, but throughout that time they’ve always put on an entertaining live show that is anything but devoid of pleasure.

During their Baltimore show, Black Veil Brides captivated Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena with an 11-song set that spanned seven different albums. Lead singer Andy Biersack, who looks like a cross between Cobra Kai actor Tanner Buchanan and international soccer star Christiano Ronaldo, moves about the stage and sings with an ease and confidence that is very Mick Jagger-esque.

While “Scarlet Cross,” “Fallen Angels” and “In the End” got the biggest pop from those in attendance, Black Veil Brides put on a highly-enjoyable showing that absolutely sent everyone happy. And probably exhausted. But definitely fulfilled.


Atreyu at Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena

My first chance to cover Atreyu came when they visited Baltimore in November of 2021. My second chance to cover Atreyu came when they visited Baltimore in November of 2022, as the opening act for the Trinity of Terror tour.

It’s always a tough task to walk onto a cold and quiet stage as the opener, but Atreyu did a phenomenal job of setting the tone for the evening with a high-energy set that included several of the band’s biggest tracks and even a guest appearance from Zero 9:36, who joined the Orange County, California-based band on stage to perform their hit collaboration “Warrior.” And just when you thought you’d see it all, Atreyu decided to throw a curveball and play a little gag on the unsuspecting audience.

The band had a little fun with the crowd as they temporarily dove into Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” before lead singer Brandon Saller killed the bit and reminded everyone they were still at a heavy metal show. Atreyu then finished their portion of the evening with “Blow,” a fun throwback of a track that seemed like the perfect ending to an enjoyable set.

If this is now an annual event, I absolutely look forward to covering Atreyu for the third time when they visit Baltimore in November of 2023.


Nothing More at Baltimore Soundstage

Life on the road is tough. It’s infinitely tougher when you’re a band being told you can’t play your music. 

That’s where Nothing More found themselves when members of In This Moment fell ill and had to back out of a series of shows during their “Blood 1983” tour. While In This Moment was unable to perform, they same could not be said of Nothing More, who immediately let it be known that they were willing and able to play every show on their calendar — with or without the headliner. 

Unfortunately, the band was told that wasn’t possible, thanks to difficulties involving promoters and Ticketmaster. Determined to find a way to play, the San Antonio-based quartet called an audible and quickly scheduled an impromptu show in Baltimore. Rather than playing an abbreviated 45-minute set supporting another band, Nothing More performed a full 90-minute spectacle that spanned their entire catalog and blew the doors off of the Baltimore Soundstage. 

Lead singer Jonny Hawkins, guitarist Mark Vollelunga, bass guitarist Daniel Oliver and drummer Ben Anderson clearly picked a healthy way to work through whatever pent-up frustrations the band came into the evening with, after being initially told they couldn’t play for fans who had purchased tickets to see them in concert. They worked each and every inch of the stage during the evening and, when that wasn’t enough, used a 14-foot-tall contraption made of scrap metal and auto parts, affectionately known as “Scorpion’s Tail,” to elevate Hawkins above the stage.

Nothing More will drop its sixth studio album, Spirits, Oct. 14. Several songs, including “Tired of Winning” and “Turn It Up Like (Stand in the Fire),” have already been released and were very well received by the sellout crowd while fan favorites “Go to War” and “Jenny,” which is about Hawkins’ sister, received the loudest ovations during the evening. 


Sleep Token at Baltimore Soundstage

If you’re unfamiliar with Sleep Token, don’t feel bad. Not much is known about the British rock collective.

Sleep Token are a masked, anonymous collective of musicians united by their worship of an ancient deity crudely dubbed “Sleep,” since no modern tongue can properly express its name. In case you were wondering, “Sleep” appeared to the band’s lead singer, “Vessel,” in a dream. And the rest is history, apparently.

Their second album This Place Will Become Your Tomb was elected by Loudwire as one of the best rock/metal album of 2021. For the uninitiated, “Alkaline,” “Mine” and “The Offering” are solid starting points to get a feel for what the band is all about. At a surprise show on a random Wednesday night in Baltimore, Sleep Token enthralled and captivated an audience that seemed unsure at the start, but was all in by the time the collective finished their set.


The Weeknd at FedEx Field

It’s Abel Tesfaye’s world; the rest of us are just living in it.

And judging from the massive and elaborate set for his current “After Hours Til Dawn” stadium tour, that world is very much of a post-apocalyptic variety … not that anyone appears to mind. That was evident as a boisterous sellout crowd eagerly awaited the arrival of one of the biggest names in pop music today.

By the time The Weeknd took to the stage in a plastic mask and hit the first note of his opening track, “Alone Again,” it was absolute pandemonium in Landover, Maryland. If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s safe to say The Weeknd knows how to capture the attention of his ever-growing audience. Whether he’s performing during halftime of the Super Bowl, boycotting the Grammys or releasing smash hit after smash hit, people seemingly cannot get enough of the Toronto native.

Although COVID-19 concerns delayed the tour for nearly two years and opening act Doja Cat was forced to withdraw due to issues with her tonsils that required a second surgery, none of that mattered on a warm summer night down the road from our nation’s capital. For nearly two hours, The Weeknd delivered a highly-energetic and captivating set that spanned his entire catalog, including “Can’t Feel My Face,” “Starboy,” “The Hills,” “Blinding Lights” and so much more.

Since his last tour, The Weeknd has shifted from arenas to stadiums. In such a massive venue, a lesser artist runs the risk of alienating concert goers who might feel acres away from the stage. But the sheer size of it all — the set, the stage, the catwalk that ran the entire length of the football field, the army of dancers who appeared to be on loan from The Handmaid’s Tale — made it virtually impossible to not feel immersed in the pure spectacle of it all.


A Day To Remember at MECU Pavilion

For nearly two decades, A Day To Remember has provided the soundtrack to whatever I’m doing wherever I’m doing it. Inexplicably, I had never managed to see them live though, so when they announced their massive North American tour for 2022 I knew I needed to rectify the situation.

As luck would have it, the Ocala, Florida, based band kicked off their “Just Some Shows” tour in Baltimore, along with Beartooth and Bad Omens. And if opening night was any indication, this is going to be one helluva tour. My only question is how on earth lead singer Jeremy McKinnon, lead guitarist Kevin Skaff, rhythm guitarist Neil Westfall and drummer Alex Shelnutt are going to go this hard for this long if they’re playing essentially every night from now until the end of October?

Baltimore was treated to a high-energy, 20-song set that included the live debut of their new single “Miracle,” which was released one week earlier, and seemingly every other fan favorite from their extensive catalog — including “The Downfall Of Us All,” “Mindreader,” “Resentment” and so much more.

“Miracle” represents ADTR’s first new music since the band released You’re Welcome, their seventh studio album which dropped in March of 2021. Judging by how many people in the crowd sang along with McKinnon, it’s safe to say it’s yet another smash hit from a band showing absolute zero signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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