On Tuesday, November 2nd I attended to the Congregation of the Damned tour at the The Phoenix. The show consisted of five very talented bands that all brought a different sound to the stage, and a different reaction from the crowd.
The opening band was Endless Hallway. Compared to the four other metal bands on the bill, these guys brought a softer, alternative sound to the room. Frontman, Ryan Jackson, was very charismatic and engaged with his songs. Afterward, the venue got much more rock’n’roll with UK metal group Architects. During songs like "Day in, Day Out" and "Follow the Water" the floor went insane. The entire room was moving, even the people at the bar were jumping up and down with a beer in their hand. Their delivery tore the place apart.
Once Architects finished their set, you could sense the crowds’ anxiety for the following act, Chiodos. This was the first time Chiodos would be performing in Toronto since the departure of frontman Craig Owens. I sensed people’s excitement and their nervousness, as they wondered would Brandon Bolmer be able to fill Craig Owen’s big shoes? The band opened up with the legendary song "The Undertaker’s Thirst is Unquenchable," and as they progressed to play two other Craig-era songs, I felt as if I was watching a Chiodos cover band. I’ve seen Owens perform these songs before, and Bolmer lacked the passion and dramatics that Owens had. However, when Chiodos played their new material they were nothing short of amazing and proved that Chiodos had re-invented themselves for the better. Old fans were won over, and they were the only opening band that got chanted to play an encore.
Co-headliners Bless the Fall were next. These Arizona natives had the most active crowd of the entire night. They interacted with the fans, inviting them to stage dive and encouraging them to start circle pits. They put on a solid performance, playing old favourites ("Rise Up," "Guys like You Make Us Look Bad") and newer tracks from their recent Fearless Records release, Witness. They ended their set by treating their fans a song they rarely execute live, their new single "Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted."
Finally, headliners Atreyu took the spotlight. I was very excited to see them, considering Atreyu has been one of my favourite bands since 2002’s Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses. I enjoyed their set as it combined old favourites and new material. The entire venue loudly sang the lyrics to each and every song - the band is a very cohesive group live. They closed the show perfectly with their classic "Lip Gloss and Black," ending the night on a solid note. [ END ]