*All photos by Tom Miller
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.
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. 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.
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.