My journey to The Cool Tour 2010 started with a 2 hour drive to Columbus from Akron, by myself. Yes, I went to the show alone. Why? Because my friends aren't fucking metal. Sometimes being HxC can be a burden. Anyway, here are some short reviews/articles for the bands that played. Enjoy!
First up was War Of Ages. When they started playing I was a little surprised to see people in the crowd that were actually there to see them, since they were the first act. They were the only band I hadn't heard of on the bill, but seemed to have a bigger fan base than the next 2 bands. People started moshing right when they began playing, and these were hardcore moshers. One guy, who I presumed to be "The King of The Pit," even had a mouth guard. It's probably a good thing he put safety first. If he was injured then the pit would be king-less, and a pit without a king is like Rob Schneider without Adam Sandler, doomed (I'm really sorry I just made that joke).
Ok, the pit was funny (and lasted all 7 hours the show was going on, BROOTAL), but let's get to what matters, THE MUSIC. War of Ages sounded like....let's see, how should I put this....KILLSWITCH ENGAGE (and occasionally like Bullet For My Valentine). Their music was very unoriginal, but they did sound good. The crowd got really into it, which kind of sucked for the next 2 bands because they didn't get near the reaction. To sum up War of Ages' set it was good, but forgettable, very forgettable.
No more than 10 minutes after War of Ages finished Cancer Bats started (The setup up time between each band was only about 10 minutes for the first 5 bands, it was pretty nice). I had only heard a couple of Cancer Bats songs before and I kind of liked them, but my opinion on the band was pretty neutral. Right when they started a bunch of people ran from the back to the front so they could mosh. Right at that point I realized that Cancer Bats didn't really fit in. They are definitely heavy enough to mosh to, but their sound had too much punk and not enough metal for the mosh bros. Cancer Bats put on a pretty energetic show, but a lot of their songs sounded the same and, as I said before, the crowd couldn't get into it.
Instead of getting angry about the crowd or pretending like everything was all right, the band addressed the situation in a humorous way. They said something along the lines of "It's hard seeing a band you've never listened to before...I know some of you came to fist pump with your bros to Acacia Strain and you're like who are these Canadian assholes on stage?" It was pretty funny and a lot of the crowd openly agreed with the statement, which made it funnier. The bros next to me, who were already trashed at 5:00 and 2 bands in, kept giving the band the middle finger and yelling "fuck you!" and "get off the stage!" One of the times the bass player gave them the finger back and that only made them more angry. The more confusing thing about these bros is that they would "WOOOOOO" and clap the loudest after every song, and during Cancer Bats' last song, Hail Destroyer, they were even singing along. I am still confused about that.
The next band was Architects. I had heard pretty good things about this band so I was expecting them to be one of the better acts at the show. I will just tell you now, I was pretty disappointed. I did enjoy their set more than the first two bands, but it got boring fast. The band, at times, sounded quite a bit like Underoath, but a little more technical and a lot more boring. I had also heard them labeled as a progressive metalcore band, which is a pretty untrue statement. Aside from the occasional odd rhythm or delayed tapping line, the band was cookie cutter boring metalcore. I'm probably making them sound worse than they really were, but I that's just because I had higher expectations.
The next band was the god-awful The Acacia Strain. I sat down through most of their set and tried to take a small nap because I was completely uninterested with their music. The part of the crowd that could actually sit through their set got pretty into it, but many people used this time to go outside for a smoke, get a drink, or sit down and rest. Not only was their music awful, their vocalist was a huge dick. He constantly reiterated that he is "AN ANGRY PERSON." He even had the mindless audience watching them raise their middle fingers in the air and yell "FUCK THE WORLD!" If that's not metal then I don't know what is. The best part of their set is when the vocalist told everyone that he had just lost a close friend after a long battle with cancer.
Next on the line-up was Blessthefall, which was the only band I had seen live before (at Warped Tour '07 I believe). I don't really like them, but their set was alright. They sounded very solid, but it was hard to tell if the singer was on or not because of bad mixing. The crowd was again split, with some people really into it and others staring angrily. The only thing I really hated about their set was when they had an AWSUM synchronized guitar move flip thing (sorry I don't know my hxc move names) leading into a breakdown with synchronized crabcore-esque headbanging. At this point you have probably noticed that I haven't enjoyed any of the bands and you're probably starting to wonder why I even attended the show. Well I was wondering the same thing until BTBAM took stage.
After Blessthefall I finally moved up close to the stage to wait for Between The Buried And Me to begin. They began by playing an orchestral sounding version of Foamborn A over the speakers and then went straight into Foamborn B when they came onto the stage. I wasn't sure how many other people were there to see BTBAM, but when they began I was VERY pleased to see quite a lot of people into it. I had heard a lot of negativity about BTBAM's live shows and them not moving/being into it. The guitar players did stay still most of the show, but there was enough energy in the other 3 members for the audience to not get bored. Tommy (Vocals/Keys) moved quite a bit and put a lot of emotions into his vocals, Dan (Bass) moved a little bit and was very into his playing, and Blake (Drums) was just a fucking beast and was obviously into it the most.
If you've ever listened to BTBAM you know how ridiculously technical and complex some of the things they play are, and they pull everything off perfectly live. You could watch any one person on stage for the entire show and just be amazed the whole time. Everyone in the band is almost always doing something interesting or ridiculous on their instrument. The highlight of the show by far was their final song "White Walls." The crowd and the band were both going insane for the whole 14 minutes. My only complaint about BTBAM's set was that they didn't play anything off of The Silent Circus (Mordecai, Ad A Dglgmut) or Alaska (Selkies), but they only had time for 4 songs so it wasn't that big of a deal. Here was the setlist:
Foamborn Part A+B
Disease, Injury, Madness
Next up was Underoath. I was a little worried that they wouldn't be that great with their recent loss of Aaron Gillespie, but their new drummer was very good and Spencer and Tim did a fantastic job of covering the clean vocals. The crowd was really into it, except for a couple people who Spencer actually singled out towards the end of their set. He said something like this, "I like the guy in the middle that's mad at everyone with the Slipknot shirt on." The guy then yelled something at him, but Spencer laughed it off and told the guy he would buy him a beer if he found him after the show. It was pretty funny. They had a good setlist consisting of songs from Define The Great Line and Lost In The Sound Of Separation, also with one from They're Only Chasing Safety and one new song which I took video of! Check it out below:
Up last were the headliners As I Lay Dying. I've never been really into this band, but I do enjoy some of their songs. First thing I noticed when they started with 94 Hours was that they were REALLY FUCKING LOUD, but they sounded great. They started off with a few older songs, then began playing 3 or 4 from their new album The Powerless Rise. The thing that blew me away about AILD's set was how into it their fans were. I was standing next to a few kids that had to be 13 or 14. One of them was a black kid that was screaming all of the lyrics and just going insane. It was actually quite uplifting to see such young kids getting into such heavy music. I also saw one of the event staff people guarding the door directly right of the stage getting into it. He started headbanging and jumping around and it was quite entertaining. I don't know As I Lay Dying's music well enough to really comment on their setlist, but the crowd seemed to like everything they played and I enjoyed myself more than I expected to.
This show was pretty boring at first, but the last three bands really made up for all the mediocre opening acts. As far as Metal/Hardcore acts go, the lineup was very diverse and there was something there for everyone. I can definitely see there being a Cool Tour next year that's bigger and better.
Click Here to check out the rest of the pics I took!
Btw, sorry if I bashed a band you love. These are just my elitist opinions on all of the sets.