Bring it Back to the Streets Tour

Last thursday, a couple of friends and I traveled on down to The Championship in Lemoyne PA to see a show featuring some of the biggest names in hardcore music including Counterparts, Structures, and headliners Stray from the Path. After making a few pit stops, we arrived at the venue just as the local opening bands were wrapping up (the champ always features at least one local band to open up no matter how big the other bands are). The first band on the “Bring it Back to the Streets Tour” was Betrayal, a hardcore/metalcore band from the San Fernando area in California. I came into the show with fairly low expectations of the band considering I never really heard of them before and I didn’t think I would need to pay much attention. They were actually really good and I was pleasantly surprised. They were so good, in fact, that I decided to look up all of their music as soon as I got back that night.

Following Betrayal were Counterparts, who are just so amazing. I was slightly disappointed that they were so low on the bill because I think they’re better than half the bands on the bill. One of friends who I was with put it best when he said, “they’re a heavier Bayside”, Bayside being an emo band that never seemed to explode like Taking Back Sunday or 30 Seconds to Mars. I really love Counterparts because they’re such a true and pure hardcore band in a sea of copycats and frauds. Where most bands thrive on beatdowns in order to fuel their publics’ interest, Counterparts barely have any beatdowns and are proving that you don’t need that in order to be successful. Counterparts put on a spectacular show and besides the headliner, I don’t any other band got the crowd going quite like Counterparts.

Structures followed and I was a big fan before this show, and I really wanted to love their performance, but their vocalist really proved how weak he was when he could barely sign a full phrase without having to clean sing for a bit and give his screaming a break. He’s not a terribly good singer and when you’re in the studio, you can take as many takes as you like in order to get it all down, but the live shows really prove the forcefulness of a singer and Nick just isn’t that good. I still love the band on record, but I won’t go out of my way to see them live again.

Following Structures was a band called Cruel Hand, who at times I felt sounded like a a group of guys playing Load by Metallica at 100 miles and hour. It was so fierce and so stripped down in terms of heaviness and in the low end that it was actually quite thrashy. They were another really pleasant surprise and I looked up their back catalogue as well when I got home that night.

Finally, Stray from the Path, who I’ve been a fan of ever since the band made a name for themselves through Sumerian records. I loved their raw intensity and historical references in their songs, but not in a overtly anti-political way. They’ve always been about the streets and their new album, Rising Sun, is a testament to that creed. I’ve heard stories about how crazy their live shows are and how much of an animal (singer) Drew York can be on stage, but I knew I had to be right up there front and center for this show. The band were simply phenomenal. For about forty minutes, it was as if a nuclear bomb exploded in The Champ. Everyone was going mental and doing everything they could to try and get Drew’s attention. The band were on top of their game, sounding better live than on the record and bringing such a sheer, raw amount of anger and intensity that you can’t get across on the CD. Every breakdown was like an explosion in the room and the excitement and chaos never let up. For their last song “Damien”, Drew indirectly invited everyone on stage to sing with him for this last song, so you can imagine how insane it was for those three minutes. Everyone was stage diving and jumping onto the stage to sing with Drew and their were easily more people going crazy on the stage than on the floor. At one point, I even got on the stage and stage dived, which is something I’ve never done before. It was truly a magical evening.

Luke Helker

 

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