GIG REVIEW: Killswitch Engage, Memphis May Fire, 36 Crazyfists & Toothgrinder Live at Dallas, TX
I’ve been to the House of Blues in Dallas quite a few times and there’s always something new to witness. The security personnel there are very professional and it’s nice to see a healthy group of concert goers assemble for the evening to enjoy metalcore at its finest. I’ve been listening to Killswitch Engage’s ‘Incarnate’ for a couple of weeks now so I was expecting this show to showcase the songs off this record. Other than that, it was my first time seeing all the other bands on the bill, and I was not disappointed at all.
Toothgrinder opened the evening. It was a curious sound, full of odd-time signatures. The progressive-metal influences were very obvious with a coating of metalcore sensibility. The vocalist Justin Matthews did a stellar job with consistently harsh and equally menacing singing. Jason Goss shredded his way from song to song over an intricate foundation of rhythm built by drummer Wills Weller and bassist Matt Arensdorf. I am sure to go back and check out their albums put out so far.
The next to hit the stage were 36 Crazyfists, coming straight from Anchorage, Alaska. They’ve got six albums under their belt and have a very strong sense of melody. They took the stage to shake things up and boy did they deliver. I saw a couple of die-hard fans rocking out and singing the words to their song. That made me very happy, and honestly I suspect that’s what a band hopes for. They played a mix bag of their newer and older material and the interaction with the crowd was pretty lighthearted. I even managed to grab a guitar pick.
Following 36 Crazyfists, were Dallas’s own – Memphis May Fire. It’s actually a bit disappointing that I could not pay a lot of attention to this band due to all the unruly pushing and pulling taking place where I was standing amongst the crowd. I caught a few glimpses from time to time, but with all that was happening around me, it was very hard to focus. From what I gathered, they had a very American metalcore sound with some interesting choruses; almost anthem like.
Killswitch Engage did not take a lot of time to take the stage, something that is very rare to see in shows these days. I think it’s got something to do with the crowd-culture related to hardcore music. There were fans that were new, fans that date back to their early records and some who joined the bandwagon during the ‘The End of Heartache’ era. Since this was their ‘Incarnate’ tour, they opened with “Strength of the Mind” which was an absolute cracker. This was followed by “A Bid Farewell” and “Numbered Days”, two numbers that I knew all the words to and which transported me back to the sixth grade. They played seventeen songs in total and all the songs were strong, punchy and well delivered. This band has always been consistent in delivery and excellent in their tones. It was very awe-inspiring to see the craziness on the stage carried out with such sense of honesty and perfection. I was not disappointed with the onstage antics that Adam D is known for. The sense of humour hit home. That was a nice contrast to the serious tone that Jesse Leach sang with. The subject matter was heavy and needed a bit of self-introspection from the crowd as well as the singer. They played hits like “Vide Infra”, “My Last Serenade” and “The End of Heartache” from their earlier albums; “Alone I Stand”, “Hate By Design” and “Quite Distress” from their latest record. It was a nice mixed bag. I walked away from the evening totally satisfied and looking forward to the next time the boys from Massachusetts visit town.