It’s the beginning of May – it’s a rough sell for tickets to a rock show on a Tuesday night. Philadelphia college students are packing their bags to head home for the summer, high school students are preparing for finals and SATS, and those who work in the city are sitting in rush hour traffic to go home by the time six o’ clock comes around. One would normally expect disappointment showing up to the TLA filled at only half-capacity, but it proved to make for a better show.
Every fan there was sporting their favorite band’s teeshirt and watched in comfort as the bands hit the stage. The two opening acts – Glamour of the Kill and Avatar were generally unknown to most members of the crowd (with the exception of those who’ve been to Warped Tour or have a Sirius XM Octane subscription), but they fit the bill perfectly.
Glamour of the Kill took the time to thank their new “brothers” Avatar and Pop Evil and their old family in Escape the Fate. The post-hardcore quartet was perfect for the type of genre the crowd was used to – after playing songs from their new album Savages, the band had made it clear they were evolving from the typical “Warped Tour hardcore” into a hybrid of the former and pure hard rock. Fans in the front row who were familiar with the group were excited to see them open, screaming the band’s name as well as several “We love you!”s in their direction.
Once Avatar hit the stage, there was an air of uncertainty with how they would perform. Most of the crowd had no idea who they were other than the first impression of what they saw walking onstage – a group of Swedish men with long hair, face paint, makeup and marching band style uniforms. It was safe to say that no one knew what to expect. Once they started playing, singer Johannes Eckerström instantly had the command of the crowd. He made sure the band put on an unforgettable performance – even if that meant reminding the crowd, “We are Avatar from Gothenburg, Sweden!” every couple of songs. The roar of the crowd every time he repeated this, however, could easily convince an outsider that these guys had been touring the U.S. for years. Crowd favorites included “Smells Like A Freakshow”, “Paint It Red” and “Hail The Apocalypse”.
The crowd had lost their minds once Escape the Fate hit the stage. The thinness of the crowd did nothing to stop crowdsurfers from making their way over the barricade. The band’s newest lineup, featuring former LoveHateHero guitarist Kevin Thrasher and former Motionless in White guitarist TJ Bell, is probably their most cohesive and cooperative they’ve had in years. There was a sense of true brotherhood onstage rather than the animosity that has been seen in the band in recent years
However, noticeably missing from the stage this week was bassist Max Green. Green had rejoined the band back in October following recovery from a heroin addiction. Prior to the show, fans had been reassured that he was missing shows due to a family emergency. Unfortunately, it was announced Friday that Green would be once again leaving Escape the Fate, citing personal reasons (not involving drugs). Glamour of the Kill frontman and bassist Davey Richmond has been taking his place for the time being.
Many of the songs performed that evening were from the band’s latest release, Ungrateful, including “Picture Perfect”, “Live Fast, Die Beautiful” and the radio hit “One For The Money”. A small, yet active mosh pit had opened up toward the back of the crowd for the majority of their set. The band also had great interaction with the crowd that night, some of which included TJ Bell calling out a couple in the crowd who was making out during the set to introduce “10 Miles Wide”.
Pop Evil had been making their rounds around the country ever since their sophomore album, War Of Angels hit the record stores. After songs such as “Monster You Made”, “Purple” and “Boss’s Daughter”, it became clear to rock radio listeners everywhere that these guys were versatile musicians. This tour followed a sold-out stint with Corey Taylor’s hard rock project, Stone Sour. Their set Tuesday night covered songs from their trilogy of albums, but there was a strong focus on their latest release, Onyx – featuring songs that recently broke into heavy rotation “Trenches” and “Deal With The Devil”. Other notable songs included “Hero” and the ballad “100 in A 55” from their debut album, Lipstick On The Mirror.
The band was tight and played flawlessly, not taking up too much time to talk with the crowd. However, singer Leigh Kakaty did take the time to thank the fans for still being true to the music and taking the time to go to a rock n’ roll show on a Tuesday night.
Pop Evil and Escape the Fate continue to coheadline this tour throughout the United States throughout the month of May.
Glamour of the Kill’s new album Savages will be available for purchase on May 13th (or even earlier if you can make it to a show!)