Monday, June 17, 2019

68, Dance With The Dead, Devin Townsend, and Avatar

Photos and Recap by Anthony Jacobsen

While this was an exceptional(y) weird show, it was amazing nonetheless. I had never seen Avatar, and to be honest, Dance with the Dead was the main reason I was going, because I absolutely am hooked on those dudes.

First up, was the interesting, comical, and avant-garde duo that called themselves 68.  It was a drummer and guitarist, but they managed to sound like a whole band. It would be difficult to describe their music correctly, aside from rock riff/ chaotic experimentation, that was extremely well executed. Definitely check them out.

I am still pretty disappointed at the lighting situation at Starland. For some reason, even though they have a great lighting setup, they choose to only use dark red lights on all the opening bands. I have heard a few bands even ask for slightly more lighting because of how dimly lit the stage it is. This is horrendous for photos, and many great acts kind of get the shaft for it. But so it goes.

Dance With the Dead is one of my absolute favorite sythnwave bands.  They blend an amazing retro synth sound with darkwave, and flawless metal riffs, executing exceptional of pairing of multiple music genres. There were some old and new fan favorites in the mix, and I couldn't tell if the crowd was prepared for the wall of awesome they had constructed. I feel safe saying there is something for everyone in their catalog of music.

"Whats more awkward than a dude playing weird acoustic music right before a theatrical metal band?" Devin Townsend.  (His words, not mine.)  But in all honesty, he is a master at his craft, people love what he does, and it's always a pleasure to see what he comes up with. That being said, it was quiet, slow, and odd compared to the opening and closing acts.

Over the past couple years, there have been only a few shows where previously unseen bands have surprised me. This was one of those shows. I had not expected to be the only photographer there, which was an added bonus. The theatrics were set to maximum, and rising from the shadows was the King of Avatar Country. Glory to our King!
Their performance was nothing short of epic, with sound, lights, and acting taken to the next level. With flawless synchronized circle headbanging that rivaled a windmill farm, Avatar put on a performance that no one will soon forget the Legend of the King.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

In This Moment, Sevendust, Light the Torch and Hyde

Photos and Review by Ryan Mullaney

It was a cold winter's night in May (Pennsylvania is weird). A near-capacity crowd packed the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg for an evening of rock music, theatricality, and good old fashioned fun. 

Openers HYDE hit the stage 30 minutes early and started warming the place up with a enticing set delivered in unique stage garb and a feverish intensity. Despite their early start, we were still able to capture some photos of their performance before they handed the stage over to Light The Torch. 

 After a speedy set change, the newest project from former Killswitch Engage frontman Howard Jones took off, igniting the fans and sending the venue into a blaze of energy. Jones stalked relentlessly from one end of the stage to the other and back again like a man possessed, singing and screaming with everything he had as the band played as if they were at a festival in front of a hundred-thousand.

 If that wasn't enough, stalwart rockers Sevendust was up next. I remember them from when I was in high school, but I never had the opportunity to catch them live. I am now regretting having not seen them before this particular night, because their production, lighting, sound, and performance were all fantastic to behold. Coupled with a genuine desire to be there and a true devotion to their fans, they're a group you should make an effort to see. They are still around for a reason, and if this night was any indication, they will still be around for many more years to come.

The three support acts all fit the bill quite well, each one similar yet different enough. A compliment to one another as well as to the headliner. With anticipation at its climax, it was then time for In This Moment. It took a massive set change to (quite literally) set the stage for one of the most theatrical acts in the rock and metal genres today. The Kabuki went down and the lights went up, and what a production it was. From lights and fog to costume changes and backup dancers to makeup and accessories to fog and smoke to even more props and set-pieces that you don't see in photos due to the 4-song photography limit, it was evident that no expense was spared. To think the band and their crew do this almost every night for months while on tour shows a remarkable commitment and dedication to their fans. Above-and-beyond is too small a phrase for the effort put into delivering a show that fans, new and old alike, won't soon - if ever - forget.

More could be written, but words would fail to do the production justice. Therefore, we leave you with the photo gallery.