I have made a bad habit of missing the opening band at shows. I need to get out of school earlier.
Part of me wants this review to consist solely of "LOL hardcore dancing, LOL tough guy metal." But I need to be fair and balanced, like Fox News.
Whitechapel is generic. Period. The live mix was horrible. There was a wall of sound and it was nearly impossible to pick out any single instrument besides the drums, and even those were sometimes buried. What was entertaining to watch though was the Hardcore dancing. I mean, there is nothing that compares in terms of stupid things you can see happen at a show. There's something perversely satisfying in seeing people make assholes out of themselves.
The Acacia Strain was more Hardcore than Metal, and that was unexpected, I guess I haven't listened to much of their material. In fact I think I listened to half of one of their CDs once, and that's it. But the Hardcore emphasis was actually more enjoyable musically, and more hilarious in terms of general entertainment value. Something that has always tickled me about Punk/Hardcore is the whole "fuck corporations" deal they always get on, as they sing into Shure mics, play Fender guitars through their Marshall amps....it's nice I suppose. Also, the tough guy Hardcore these guys were selling is particularly hilarious. Something about the idea of "everyone here is your enemy, fuck up everyone around you" is just really comedic to me. Plus the irony in the vocalist so much time ranting against social tools was just as good as it gets. Actually, correction, the loud crowd cheers after the rant were the best. The best comedy in the world is things that no one else realizes are funny...though it might have been even funnier if they saw the irony in their cheers. The anthemic sing-along qualities of Hardcore are cool though.
Protest the Hero was the first non-generic band to play for the night. It was very good. The lighting and stage performance was great. The banter was great (a personal favorite was when the singer was talking about some dudes in front who were looking pissed because this band didn't have enough breakdowns and generic moshing sections...possibly funnier to me because I agreed with everything he was mocking). The mix, however, was still poor. Sure, you got those high pitched sweeps alright and all, but in general the sound was very muddy. I want to say the songs are just not meant to be played live, but I feel like the sound quality really inhibited my judgement of it all.
Unearth was good. I was surprised. In fact, I'd almost left before their set because I wasn't overly inspired to see it, but I stuck around...and was glad I did. I do not like this band on CD. Unlike the other bands during this show, however, these guys actually had a good sound mix, and in fact the mix was so good I was able to actually enjoy some of their riffs. The guitar work was more impressive than I remember it being, and though their set was almost 1 contiuous hour-long breakdown, somehow there was enough variety or something like it to keep me entertained for their set. The performance itself was also great...beerbongs on stage, good interaction between members, and near the end, one of the guitarists ran into the crowd, had a beer thrown to him, drank it, and then continued the song. Entertaining, if nothing else.