Show review: FOR TODAY at UCH Jan 29th

Going into the concert most people there knew that For Today was a Christian metalcore band.  What came to a shock to most everyone was when they stopped in the midst of an otherwise powerful set to preach.  Unclean vocalist, Mattie Montgomery, stood on the stage, raised his hands in the air, and “Praised Jesus” for the time that they could have played a whole song.  While most of the impressionable youth in the audience seemingly embraced the message, it left quite a few confused.

Gideon started the show with pounding drums… deafening to those in the front of Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park.  The windows shook as the band rocked the audiences’ faces off.  As the mostly teen crowd fought their way to the stage it was as if the band was trying to ward off the assault with waves of “Alabama hardcore.” When a pit finally opened up and the brave masses decided to mosh their Tuesday blues away.

Upon A Burning Body

When Upon a Burning Body from Texas came on stage it looked like an insurance convention.  The gentlemen donned nice suits, spiffy ties and enough product in their hair for a guest appearance on the Jersey Shore.  However, when they fired up their guitars, I swear they must have been gas powered.  They reminded me of the wood chipper back home, in a good way.  They shredded the air around Upstate NewYork.  If you looked closely the drummer, Jonathon Gonzales, had three feet, because no mere human with two feet could pounce on the bass drums that fast.  He’d compete with Neil Peart, in that element alone.  The energy in the room was building with three more bands yet to come.  With the night still young, and the stars are bright in the heart of Texas.  After a lot of coaxing, the pit spun out of control and the whirlpool sucked the onlookers into the mayhem.

The Word Alive
The Word Alive

All the way from Phoenix, Arizona, The Word Alive came out in a fury.  Though in the middle of their set the vocals went and “Telle” Smith sang heavily into a dead mic during the majority of one song.  These things happen on even the most organized tours. As Telle left the stage the band didn’t miss a beat and played as their two guitarists (Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti) dueled it out on the stage and got the crowd into the instrumental sensation.  Then Smith returned to the stage thinking the sound issues were over, but apparently they weren’t quite fixed.  Luckily, the crowd sang along and life was somewhat normal again.  As normal as it can be at a hardcore show in Upstate NY on a Tuesday in Winter.  The drummer, Luke Holland, played as of he was at a firing range and the under 21 crowd before him was his prey.  Then the lights went out but the music didn’t stop. Just the vocals… still.  So with guitars, bass and drums and no lights, UCH was alive.  The mic finally came back to life, the band kept it in stride and thanked the crowd for singing the songs for them.  The Word Alive ended with the title track off their new album “Life Cycles”, and reminded the crowd that they’d rather die for what they believe.

Where they there for a metal show or a evangelistic revival?  Upstate Metal was there to rock our faces off and For Today did that, when they played.  Their set was solid, both the clean and unclean vocals were great, guitars shredded, the new drummer, David Puckett, was spot on.  It was the preaching that made this writer pause and say “what happened to the music?”  Christian metal has it’s place, it can be quite good and carry a solid message.  However, preaching doesn’t do it for me.  What’s more is that a couple songs later, Mattie did it again.  I’d much rather he took the 10 minutes telling me how his soul was saved and spent it playing two new tracks of the album Immortal that came out last year.  Either that or give The Word Alive the 10 minutes to play the songs that the mic went dead.

Memphis May Fire, another Texas band, braved the bitter northeast again to greet many adorning fans.  Just a month and a half ago MMF was at Upstate Concert Hall opening up for As I Lay Dying.  On this night, the young, eager crowd was ready for them.  A lot of repeat concert goers were in the audience and were familiar with the songs and sang, urrr.. screamed along. When the anthem “Legacy” started up halfway through the set, you’d have thought that Memphis May Fire was the headliner.  All eyes were on the stage, except those in the ever growing pit that seemed to consume the majority of the floor in front of the stage.

The drum solo by Jeremy Grisham after “Legacy” was one of the more impressive ones I’ve witnessed lately and that led to more mania from the crowd.  As with the three bands before them, the sets grew slightly longer and the crowd surfing, jumping up and down and shrieks from the audience was quickly hitting “10” on the dial.  When the band ask if anyone had seen them before, nearly half the crowd cheered.  Finally when MMF performed “The Victor” that had vocalist, Chase Ryan, going back and forth between singing and screaming, a multiple personality madman intriguing the bouncing teens before him.

For Today
For Today

Overall, Upstate Concert Hall was another gracious host to a night of kickass metal.  They provide a great outlet for the Capital region.  In the next week, Sevendust and Trapt will be at UCH.  Shows that this writer does not plan to miss.

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