Lancaster, PA metalcore giants August Burns Red just wrapped up a massive run of North America in support of their latest release Phantom Anthem. Out with them on the tour were Born of Osiris, ERRA, and Ocean Grove. We caught up with the tour in its final week as it hit The Palladium in Worcester, MA on a Friday night to play before a packed venue.
The night started off with Australia's Ocean Grove, a band that is relatively new to touring in the USA. These guys are a lot of fun, both musically and visually--with bassist Dale Tanner sporting a mohawk, pink wrap-around sunglasses and coveralls. For an act that's pretty new to the states, they got the crowd going pretty well.
Birmingham, AL's ERRA were up next--pulling out mostly new material. Despite being on the tail end of the tour, the band seemed to be in great shape, and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cash sounded the best I've ever heard him vocally. The band played a set that was mostly comprised of songs from their most recent full-length Drift, including "Irreversible," "Drift," and "The Hypnotist." But for longtime fans, their short set did also feature some older material, namely "Seven" from 2011's Impulse and fan-favorite "Hybrid Earth" from 2013's Augment. I'm really hoping for some new music and a headline or major tour support slot for these guys this year--they deserve it.
Djent veterans Born of Osiris were in their usual fun form for their set, bringing the signature "BOO Bounce" to the masses. The band wasted no time, launching straight into "Divergency" from Tomorrow We Die Alive. I remember the first time I saw BOO, in a tiny pool hall venue on one of their first nationwide tours in support of The New Reign. Since then, they've endured lineup changes and admittedly suffered for them at times, though they seem to have finally regained that energy that was there when I saw them nearly 10 years ago. It was therefore cool to see them playing older tracks from the reissued/reimagined version of that album, including "Abstract Art," "Empires Erased," and of course, "Bow Down." These dudes have definitely still got it.
At last, it was time for August Burns Red to kick the night into high gear. The last time the band was in Worcester, just about a year before this night, there was a massive blizzard--I remember driving past a dozen accidents on the way. Luckily, the weather cooperated this time around, and the venue's floor level was full of eager fans. As this is the Phantom Anthem Tour, much of the band's set included material from their latest record, including their first song of the set, "King of Sorrow." Having also recently released a re-master of their classic album Messengers, one would've thought they might play more of that record, but alas, the only song making an appearance was "Composure."
Fans were treated to the usual ridiculous display of musicianship by all band members, but especially Matt Greiner who had a new drum solo this time around that blew me away. Each night of the tour has seen ERRA's JT Cavey performing "White Washed" alongside ABR frontman Jake Luhrs and tonight was no different, with Cavey and Luhrs belting out "You're the straw that's crushing my back! You are the salt that's burning my wounds" in unison. If you missed this tour...you really messed up. I'm holding out a bit of hope that ABR might be on this year's Warped Tour lineup, given their history of playing the tour frequently and that it's the last year of the tour. Otherwise you can catch them at Self Help Fest on March 3rd in San Bernardino, CA, followed almost immediately by their European tour.