Birthday Bash at Starland Ballroom was a hit with Life Of Agony and Walls Of JerichoWalls Of JerichoBirthday Bash at Starland Ballroom was a hit with Life Of Agony and Walls Of Jericho

On Sunday December 6, Life Of Agony frontwoman Mina Caputo celebrated her birthday playing their last US show of 2015 and boy did they make it memorable.  The show was held at Sayreville, New Jersey’s Starland Ballroom, and this was my first visit to the venue.  Let me start off by saying how awesome that venue is.  The stage is big, can be seen from just about anywhere, with a nice open floor with bars in every corner of the building.  Great sound, great service and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Detroit hardcore outfit Walls Of Jericho opened the show with a small but stellar set.  Like the headliners, this band has not been touring a whole lot and have been playing select shows so it was a real treat to have been able to see them.  “Fuck The American Dream” was definitely the highlight of their set.

I was very giddy to be seeing Life Of Agony again.  I was fortunate enough to have seen them a few months back at the East Coast Tsunami Fest, so I already had a grasp on what to expect.  But this time through, there was more to celebrate and even better, Life Of Agony played a longer set.  The band played just about everything off their trademark debut album River Runs Red and select songs off the rest of their catalog.

They kicked off their set with “Bad Seed” and right into “River  Runs Red” and the crowd erupted.  One thing that makes this band so special is the way they utilize and share the stage with one another.  Guitarist Joey Z. and Bassist Alan Robert were constantly moving, with singer Mina anchoring the stage and using her golden vocals behind the mic.   Its fascinating watching Mina on stage because of someone who is so physically small have the lung power to belt those songs out the way they’re meant to be heard out is really a sight to behold.  And of course Sal Abruscato is a stud behind the drum kit.  Everything sounded loud, clean and crystal clear.  No feedback. Nothing overpowering.

Other highlights of the set included “Other Side Of The River” and “Respect” to me was the most fun to hear live, but later the band took a moment to help a fan have his moment.  Just after performing “Lost At 22,”  this fan was invited on stage to propose to his girlfriend (which takes LOTS of guts).  Another special moment was Joey Z got the crowd to sing happy birthday to Mina which was lots of fun.  But the most special moment of the night, Mina and Joey Z performed a very heartfelt tribute to Scott Weiland by performing an acoustic cover of Stone Temple Pilots “Plush.”  Anyone familiar with that version of that song will tell you that they did that song JUSTICE.

The rest of the band came out and finished with a few more songs off River Runs Red and closed with “Underground” to put a stamp on what was the most memorable concert experience I have had the pleasure of covering in quite some time.

From what I gather, Life Of Agony is gearing up to a brief European tour in January, and no other shows have been announced as of yet.  Obviously if we hear about it, NYS Music will let fans know, but the point is, this show was special moment, so if we are lucky enough to get more shows from Life Of Agony here on the east coast, you need to go see them.

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