The ‘American Nightmare’ Tour hits New York City: A Tour to Die For [review + photo gallery]
Last night, I got the chance to head down to New York City to see the "American Nightmare" tour. This tour features an unbelievably solid lineup of Beartooth, Underoath, and Bring Me The Horizon (headlining), and has been full of sold out shows already. I myself saw the second of two sold out shows in New York, and my ears are still ringing from three and a half hours of solid, energy-packed, no holds-barred rock.
Beartooth opened up with a thirty minute set, playing both older and newer material. The last time I got to see the band was at their Albany tour stop this past fall, when they came to the Q103 studio for a Garage Session, as well as played at Upstate Concert Hall with Every Time I Die and Fit For A King. Since then, Beartooth has had success with their single "Hated" as well as has had a huge amount of momentum with their most recent album, "Aggressive." For as great as they were at their Albany stop, they were EVEN better last night. It seems as the band continues to tour, they continue to grow in to themselves. Vocalist Caleb Shomo spent the entire set running back and forth on stage, jumping up and down, headbanging, and cementing the bands spot on a tour with the seasoned post-hardcore legends Underoath and the momentous Bring Me The Horizon. Spot-on vocally, with what I like to call a 'man-belt' (hitting notes and belting with the perfect amount of grit and scream), Caleb took moments to not just sing lyrics but to showcase his vocal range and belt notes in between songs. The band was perfectly in sync on stage, and by the time 7:30 came and they played their last song, "Hated," I forgot that there were two more bands to come. Beartooth is at a place where they were not an opening band, but what I considered to be one band on a tour of three headliners.
Up next was Underoath, a band that I have loved since I was a teenager. I can't even begin to describe the amount that Underoath has effected and shaped my love of rock music, so anytime I get to see them live is something surreal. Last year, almost one year ago to date, I caught Underoath at the So What! Music Festival in Texas, and I'm pretty sure seeing them live should just become an annual tradition. Coming out heavy, I heard only a few guitar rifts before a crowd member looked at me and goes "s**t's about to get wild." At that moment, I felt myself (up front at the stage left barrier) getting pushed back, forward, and to the side by a sea of raucous, energetic, perfectly-aggressive, crowd-surfing, moshing rock fans that erupted. At a risk to sound cliche, it was a live-music rock dream come true. Vocalist Spencer Chamberlain, clad in a heavy leather jacket and converse sneakers, brought a deep and passionate heaviness amidst whipping around a microphone in twirls and jumping on the crowd to sing. Drummer Aaron Gillespie is one of my favorites, as both an Underoath member since the 1990's, but also during his stint as drummer with rock band Paramore. He is a drum legend, and getting to see him destroy the drums and backup vocals from only feet away was beyond surreal. The last time I saw Aaron Gillespie in person was when I was backstage at So What! and I accidentally made fun of a batman pin he was wearing, not realizing who he was under his hat. This time, I just stood, jumped, and screamed along in amazement, as well as even got myself a drum stick [photo in gallery below]. Over a forty-five minute set, Underoath played a mix of songs, and ended with two of my favorites- "Reinventing Your Exit" and "Writing on the Walls." Mind. Blown.
In the minutes before Bring Me The Horizon came on stage, I looked over at another crowd-goer in shock. "There's seriously another band after that!" was all I could mutter out- in part because my ears were still pulsating from Underoath and I couldn't hear what I was saying, and also in part to the true shock I was in that there was yet another huge rock band performing. The lights dimmed, a huge video screen of shimmering lights and LED risers lit up, and the band come on stage. All of a sudden, the band erupted with their hit "Happy Song", smoke pillars flew from the stage, and streamers poured out. From that moment, Bring Me The Horizon did not let up, playing an hour and half set full of hits and heaviness. They played a perfect blend to appease all fans of more radio-friendly songs off of the most recent album "That's the Spirit" and past heavy-hitters like "Sempiternal" and "Shadow Moses." Vocalist Oliver Sykes engaged the crowd, and got a circle pit to erupt during "The House of Wolves," and showed that while some of the new music may be more melodic, he's still got every bit of his dark heaviness as a rock and roller. There was a point where I actually got chills as he screamed along to "Sempiternal." The band's performance of "Antivist" was accompanied by a 'wall of death' in the crowd, and at yet another point Sykes jumped onto the crowd to scream. He got people crowd-surfing to the front to clap his hand, ran up and down LED risers, jumped around ALMOST as much as David Lee Roth (who really should hold a record for round-house kicks which he did non-stop when I saw Van Halen live), had crowd-goers get up on shoulders, and showcased exactly why Bring Me The Horizon has found so much success. Sykes is a front-man through and through, matched by his unbelievably talented band. If my mind was blown after Underoath, it exploded after Bring Me The Horizon.
My adrenaline raced until about 3 AM when I finally passed out, and I woke up today reliving the show all over again through photos and videos. This was hands down the BEST concert that I have seen this year to date, and I'm that much more excited to see what live music event will top this for me in 2017. Check out my photos below (all photos credit: Tatiana):