“Old News” #2: The Momentum Tour

Here’s a review from another memorable show I attended during my internship.

March 26th, 2013: Till the End Management Presents Close to Home, Adestria, Alive, In Standby, and Dismember the Fallen at Bogies.

By Jay Frost

This event, organized by the independent Till the End Management in conjunction with Bogies and Upstate Black ‘N’ Blue Productions, saw a number of lesser-known out-of-state touring bands playing alongside a handful of locals. As a result of my immovable work schedule, I arrived an hour after doors and missed all of the locals – most regrettably Cancel My Funeral, whom I had shared the stage with just a week before.

The four national acts hailed from as far away as San Diego, California (Adestria), Detroit, Michigan (Dismember the Fallen, Alive, In Standby) and Cincinnati, Ohio (headliners Close to Home).  Whether they had a diehard local following or the core of their respective hometown posses were following them on the road was unknown to me, but with the exception of the BNB staff I didn’t know a soul in the room. Notwithstanding, it was still a good night.

Detroit Rock City was first on the roll-call of visiting bands with a brutal set by Dismember the Fallen. A traditional five-piece metal band complete with front man and guitar duo plus one – a sample/synth man and back-up vocalist, DTF take the melodic deathcore made popular by bands like Shadows Fall and combine it with the sledgehammer delivery akin to Remembering Never/The Acacia Strain, as well as carefully arranged symphonic compositions that clearly serve as more than superfluous ornaments to the searing, chugging darkness that permeates their sound. Beautiful, nocturnal hymns evocative of the woods in winter wove in an out of soul-wrenching guitar runs, propelled by a fury of double-bass heavy gallops. Vocals leaned towards the more guttural end of the spectrum, a characteristic that speaks to the deathcore influence that Dismember the Fallen draws upon. Despite their penchant for crushing riffs and blast-beats, their tendency toward the melodic and symphonic is the unifying thread between DTF and Shadows Fall, Darkest Hour and All That Remains. However, there were moments when DTF showcased their hardcore and black metal influences. There was an inherent wickedness about them in general that, if I were a music anthropologist, would add the tag of “blackened” to their already diverse style.

By way of correspondence, I learned that DTF are unleashing a new single unto the masses entitled “The End Of”. I was also told that there is a strong possibility this single may receive air play. Good for them, really. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it in this business, and every victory, no matter how great or small, is another step closer to realizing the dream.

Darkness gave way to light when Alive, In Standby graced the stage with their brand of positive post-hardcore/pop-punk. A five piece band whose energetic front-man handles light synth duties, Alive…was a mix of the old and the new: smooth Leeway-like tenors coexisted alongside Saves the Day falsettos with harsh backing vocals applied conservatively as to not dilute the edgy, groove tinged punk. Occasional piano interludes brought to mind acts like Chiodos.

Along with the obvious pop-punk influence and other elements listed above, Alive… were not afraid to show their heavy side: though never crossing the threshold into the dark realm occupied by DTF, heavy mosh parts played a big role in the composition of their tunes – something that made them appealing to devotees of heavier genres who would have normally dismissed them as “just another pop band”. As far as stage presence is concerned, Alive, In Standby were not in the least bit forgettable. While the band concentrated on executing each composition with precision, the front man kept up meaningful banter between songs and in the quieter moments within. It was good to see a band so in tune with the positive mental attitude that is so necessary to make it in the music world.

A short break in the action for load-off and sound-check gave way to San Diego hardcore act Adestria. Not being familiar with them until tonight, and thus having never heard them, it was difficult for me to describe them in terms of any other genre. Though there are occasional guitar and vocal melodies present in the mix, they are more akin to those found in post-hardcore, not metalcore. Tuned to drop-C and featuring a predominantly harsh vocal style, Adestria had more in common with Hatebreed than Darkest Hour or Alexisonfire.

It seemed that the majority of the audience was there to see Adestria this evening. While not necessarily a negative, the crowd they drew left promptly after their set, leaving Bogies nearly empty for headliners Close to Home. This didn’t discourage them in the least. From the first sample drop to the final sing-along, the Cincinnati-based band made a point of informing those remaining that they couldn’t care less how many people they were playing for, be it five or five-hundred; they were happy to be playing for anyone. Once again infusing the better parts of post-hardcore with punk, metal and hardcore, Close to Home’s style was very danceable and loaded with sing-along parts. I give them a lot of credit for playing a phenomenal set under somewhat disheartening circumstances in a small club so far away from their hometown. My best wishes go out to them and the other acts on this bill for a successful completion of their tour. Maybe we’ll see them all again in Albany.