Review: Adrenaline Mob, HellYeah, & Avenged Sevenfold @ the VBC

On Wednesday, April 23rd, I went to see Avenged Sevenfold at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Their opening acts were Adrenaline Mob and HellYeah. Doors opened at roughly 6:30 p.m. and the show began at 7:22 p.m., according to the usher we befriended. Ha!

I wasn’t very familiar with Adrenaline Mob. I had done a little research prior to the show, but all I really found out was that they are a super group and that their bassist is John Moyer, who used to be with Disturbed (a fact that excited me, since I love Disturbed). The band totally rocked it. They were a great way to kick things off, closing their set with their first single, “Come On, Get Up.”

Then came HellYeah. Vocalist Chad Gray knew exactly how to work a crowd and by the time they finished, the room was positively buzzing. Highlights from their set included “Drink, Drank, Drunk” and the title track from their upcoming release, “Blood for Blood.”

Finally, it was time for the main act. Avenged Sevenfold took the stage to the familiar sounds of “Shepherd of Fire” and the audience went insane. I can’t even begin to describe how I felt at that moment, and the feeling didn’t leave me for the entire set. The guys were a little more lackluster than I remembered, yet their performance still held a magic that only Avenged Sevenfold can create for me. The set list was spectacular and hit every high point of their fifteen year career. Each song filled me with joy and made me think “I can’t believe I’m here.” However, the crowning moments for me were “Hail to the King” and “Fiction,” for I had never before seen them do either song live.

I have now been to six Avenged Sevenfold concerts and though this was not the best, the California natives did not disappoint. I look forward to seeing them again, hopefully in the very near future.

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[Photo credit goes to my brother Rick, who was closer than I was.]

Oh, and after the show, we ran into Adrenaline Mob at a Waffle House. They were extremely nice!

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Song of the Week: “Hail to the King”

I took this video at the show in Huntsville last week. As mentioned in the description, the sound quality is a bit rough, but I really love what I was able to capture, especially the moments of M. Shadows standing in front of a crowd all pumping their fists in unison!

Avenged Sevenfold: “Hail to the King,” from the album of the same name, performed live at the Von Braun Center, Propst Arena.

Review: Monster Truck & Alter Bridge @ The Tabernacle

This past Saturday–April 19th–I was in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Alter Bridge show. I was accompanied by two of my favorite people, my brother Rick and my friend Jesse. I was fortunate enough to make my way through the mob to the front. Two very kind Alter Bridge fans let me squeeze in beside them, right on the barrier. Needless to say, I refused to move for the rest of the evening.

The opening act, a band that hailed from Canada called Monster Truck, was really good. They were a mix of rock and blues. All I could think was “If Led Zeppelin and all the Southern rock bands had a baby, this would be it.” Ha! Seriously, though, their guitarist was super enthusiastic and the band was a lot of fun. They set the tone for the evening–high energy rock & roll–and the fans showed them a ton of respect as they filed off the stage.

When Alter Bridge came out roughly thirty minutes later, the noise was tremendous! They tore straight into “Addicted to Pain” and from that moment, it was a case of nonstop greatness. My favorite thing about it was the fact that the crowd was made up mostly of hardcore Alter Bridge fans, the kind that sing every single word. There is nothing more magical than hearing a crowd of 2000+ belting out “Broken Wings,” “Open Your Eyes,” and “Rise Today.” It was obvious that vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall, and drummer Scott Phillips were feeding off the audience’s energy and adoration. It is also apparent that the four of them truly love what they do, and that always adds to the experience for the fans. Alter Bridge put on one hell of a show, and Myles stopped to give the fans a heartfelt thanks more than once, saying that if it wasn’t for us, the band wouldn’t be celebrating its ten-year anniversary.

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From L to R: bassist Brian Marshall, vocalist/guitarist Myles Kennedy, and guitarist Mark Tremonti

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Myles Kennedy grinning at me during “Rise Today.”

Highlights from the show were “Blackbird,” Myles instructing the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to Tremonti, who had turned 40 the previous day, and the guitar dual between Myles and Tremonti, which led straight into the final song of the evening, “Rise Today.” A personal highlight was receiving a pick from Myles…that pretty much made my night.

Alter Bridge is easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen in concert. If you haven’t made it out for a show yet, you should seriously remedy that immediately. I guarantee that you will have the time of your life.

Bands You Should Know: Within Reason

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Band: Within Reason

Genre: Rock

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Sounds like: A mix of Linkin Park, Daughtry, and Breaking Benjamin

Discography: Bloodshot Life (2009) and After the Crawl (2012)

Suggested Tracks: “We’ll Have It All,” “Here Comes the Light,” “Favorite Sin,” and “Instigator”

I saw Within Reason for the first time in October of 2008 and immediately fell in love. Perhaps the best thing about their performance was how apparent it was that they enjoyed each other, as well as the crowd. It always makes me happy when I have the chance to witness that camaraderie between members of a band, that certain something that shows that they don’t view this as only a job. This is their passion. These guys live for their music.

Within Reason’s music is something else. “Unique,” “astounding,” “addictive”…all of these words can be used to describe it. I have compared them to Linkin Park, Daughtry, and Breaking Benjamin, but that isn’t quite right, it’s just the closest I could get. Vocalist Chris Dow, bassist David Koonce, guitarist Chase Davidson, and drummer Griffin Zarbough create a sound that isn’t exactly like any other band. Therefore, I asked my friends for help describing their music. Here is what I was given:

“Their music is honest, pure, and just all-around great to listen to on any occasion, no matter what mood you’re in…”

“[Our songs] are songs by everyday people, just like you and me, about everyday issues.”

“They are one of the best bands I’ve ever been introduced to. The vocals are captivating, the lyrics amazing, and the music perfect.”

“[Within Reason] has a variety of music to listen to. None of their songs sound the same, and there’s a song to fit any mood.”

“[Within Reason’s music] is something a little different that will hook you and pull you in because you will identify with the lyrics.”

All of these descriptions are accurate. Within Reason writes about real aspects of day-to-day life, things that everyone can understand. Two great examples of this are “We’ll Have It All,” a track that deals with personal loss, yet is also an anthem of hope and encouragement, and “Don’t Walk Away,” written for a soldier who served in Iraq. While the band is undoubtedly not afraid to touch on serious issues, they do occasionally break away for some fun. Their cover of 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake’s “Ayo Technology” is absolutely fantastic and will give you a whole new love for the song, whether you cared for the original or not. (At live shows, Within Reason breaks out some of the most random covers, such as “Bleed It Out” by Linkin Park, “Boom” by POD, and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley.)

Last, but certainly not least, is the fact that the guys themselves are amazing. All four of them are humble and down-to-Earth. They are always willing to take time out of their day to talk to a fan, sign an autograph, pose for a picture. I have never had a bad experience when in their presence, and that serves to add to my love for the band. This loyalty they inspire won them the Garage to Grammy contest in early 2013.

Relatable, fun, and entertaining, Within Reason is another band that I believe should hold a place in your music library. So give ’em a listen. They will not disappoint.

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