Friday, June 14, 2013

Killswitch Engage/ Miss May I/ Darkest Hour @ The Fillmore, Silver Spring 6/12/2013

We went to see Killswitch Engage at the Fillmore, and met up with Tony and a couple of his buddies. We saw Scott and Dorothy there as well! This was not a sold out show, but pretty damn close. I love Killswitch- they are one of the few metalcore bands that I really dig, but their choice of tourmates IMO was.... lacking. Note that some bands replaced As I Lay Dying, due to Tim Lambesis' ... recent legal troubles... forcing them to drop off the tour. I would have been fine with Shadows Fall instead....

Milla got there in time to see all of Darkest Hour, but I only saw half of their set (slow waitress!). I thought they sounded better than I expected, but still in need of some refinement. The song I came in on was at a soloish part, and the tandem judas Priest style guitars sounded really good. Now that kind of melody and power I can get behind... then the vocalist started up, cutting the best parts of the song too short. This pattern repeated itself for the other songs, some beginnings of nice guitar parts, then ending way too soon (IMO). I wouldn't be opposed to looking them up a bit more, but nothing really striking about them.

KSE had some generic shirts w/ tattoo type artwork, one with the logo, and another with album cover. They had their new CD ($20)  as well. Darkest Hour had several shirts, most of which seemed like references to other band album covers (Ex: Black Sabbath). Miss may I had some shirts too, including something that looked 'ironic' about 'Stay[ing] Metal.'

 Miss May I? No, you may NOT.

The unfortunately named Miss May I was on next. I thought Darkest Hour was way better, but perhaps a bit less energetic. I thought the vocalist's addressing the crowd sounded like Sebastian Bach (but his harsh vocals did not sound anything like him), and looked pretty metal with his hair. They sounded like... well, somewhat generic metalcore to me. Near the end, some songs had the beginnings of good breakdowns or even the beginnings of some guitars that get to do something, but then just stopped. The song 'Relentless Chaos' (their last one) sounded just like that- discordant chaos. Inklings of potential, especially since they all looked so young, but IMO they need to work on their crafts of songwriting and musicianship. Also, the clean vocals were annoying and not... enjoyable. I would not be looking these guys up in the future. I've heard way worse, but these guys... just not anything memorable about them to me.

The place was pretty crowded and it seemed close to sold out. There were some sort of pits for both Darkest Hour and Miss May I, but I couldn't really tell, as they were not THAT rowdy, and we were in the back. I think I need to get in a more open mindset for metalcore- all the technical music really puts Darkest Hour and Miss May I look like toddlers in comparison.

Killswitch Engage came on to the sweet tunes of Wang Chung, before  storming into a new song. They sounded great, but maybe a little bass heavy bleeding, which was a little less than the usually crystal clear sound that the Fillmore Silver Spring is known for. The crowd went ape for most of the set, with the new songs (except for the singles- 'The Hell in Me' and 'In Due Time')  having less of a reaction. I know there were some sort of pits going on, but I couldn't really tell like you usually can for more metal shows, but we were far in the back. I was also headbanging throughout most of the songs. I thought their set was great- 6 new songs, pretty much all their hits, and a nice mix of Jesse and Howard songs. I could have used a LONGER setlist.

Gripes: something about the light show was really annoying. I don't know if it was where I was standing, the frequency or motion of the lights, but I really was blinded a lot by the strobes and strafing lights. This particularly struck me, as out of all the shows I've been to, this is probably one of a handful where the lights were just painful and making the show unenjoyable. I try to look at the band and get a face full of blinding light. WTF! The lights are supposed to enhance the show, not detract from it.  Thankfully I was able to close my eyes and headbang for most of the set.

I also have my usual odd complaint of Adam's zaniness. It just seems to jarring that the rest of the band is the straight man, and he is goofing off. Usually I'm fine with the band not taking themselves too seriously. However, something about Killswitch .. it just doesn't work for me and it's like Adam is going off on his own and the rest of the band kind of just tolerates it. Wearing a goofy bandana, prancing around stage, some silly stage banter, and silly faces. Maybe there is something about him I just don't like, ever since the first time I saw them and he had a half cape on. 

Some people may prefer Howard, and others demand Jesse, but whatever the case Killswitch sounds great with either singer. I think Jesse coming back has breathed new life into them- not only live but also creatively. Their most recent album is  decisively a better record than their last (s/t) one. As one of the few metalcore bands that do it right, I have to say Killswitch put on a great show and blew all other bands off the stage.  Overall a great show, despite the IMO poor choice of openers

Next Show: Lamb of God at Ram's Head Live \m/

Blurriest Darkest Hour
Miss May I (no)
Killswitch Lights
Killswitch Engage


Darkest Hour (~8:55- 9:25) (seems like they matched up with the other show(s) on the tour)
  • Doomsayer (The Beginning of the End)
  • Sound the Surrender
  • Savor the Kill
  • With A Thousand Words to Say but One
  • Violent by Nature
  • Love as a Weapon
  • The Sadist Nation

Miss May I (9:40- 10:10) (the last few songs seemed like they matched up with the other show(s) on the tour)
  • At Heart
  • Hey Mister
  • Day by Day
  • Our Kings
  • Masses of a Dying Breed
  • Ballad of a Broken Man
  • Forgive and Forget
  • Relentless Chaos

Killswitch Engage (10:35- 11:45)
  • The New Awakening
  • A Bid Farewell
  • Fixation on the Darkness
  • The Hell in Me
  • Life to Lifeless
  • No End in Sight
  • Take This Oath
  • The Arms of Sorrow
  • Beyond the Flames
  • This is Absolution
  • All We Have
  • Rose of Sharyn
  • Numbered Days
  • Self Revolution
  • In Due Time
  • My Curse
  • The End of Heartache
  • My Last Serenade