What looked like a war scene from epic movie 300 played out at TAB as fans got so wild they divided themselves into 2 distinctive factions and then proceeded to charge towards each other upon cue.

This was in reaction to Blessthefall’s rendition of “Awakening”. No wonder, frontman Beau Bokan  said, “We wanted to write something epic. Something simple for everyone to sing along to, an epic battle cry. This is it.”

The band based in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as August Burns Red from Manheim, Pennsylvania, travelled miles to perform on the same stage on Apr 30.

Having played in shows such as the Van’s Warped Tour and Alternative Press Tour, the 2 bands drew a 600-strong queue that stretched the complete length of TAB’s entrance to the traffic light that stood opposite Forum Shopping Centre.

The line was overrun by mostly adolescents, donned in a diversity of eye-catching band t-shirts of metalcore bands such as As I Lay Dying and Parkway Drive, who were patiently awaiting the doors to be open.

Enshrouded in ominous lighting, Blessthefall stormed the stage, to a roaring welcome from their ardent fans, as they kickstarted their set with the anthemic “Awakening”, the opening track off their latest album of the same title. The highly popular debut landed the band at the 32nd place on Billboard 200. The anthem had crazed fans chanting the words, “We are the saints. We are the promised ones. We’re taking over, with hearts like loaded guns” against a backdrop of heavy guitar chugging and thumping drums.

Beau shared with UrbanWire, “’Meet Me At The Gates’, as far as instrumentation and lyrics go, it’s one of the most emotional songs we’ve ever written. Well, it was about my grandparents that passed away. I started writing lyrics for the song when my grandfather first passed away, and my grandmother 3 months later.”

He added, “The song speaks of my moments with them during their last nights. I’m sure everyone has lost someone they hold close, so they can paint the same story in their heads and relate to it when they listen to the song.”

The post-hardcore outfit wasted no time as they led the maniacal crowd into one of their hit songs “Promised Ones” which the band released a video for in Nov 21 last year. Again, the fans knew every single word to the savage tune.

The American quintet, made up of Beau Bokan (Vocals), Elliot Greunberg (Guitars), Eric Lambert (Guitars), Jared Warth (Bass) and Matt Traynor (Drums) may have seen many alterations to their lineup since their founding in 2003, but the changes certainly didn’t hinder their musical progress. Just consider their new distinctive sound, which consists of softer parts reminiscent of From First To Last and heavier parts that bring to mind the early Bring Me The Horizon. Definitely a nice mélange of sounds that leaves no window for repetitive monotony.

Beau tells Urbanwire, “We’ve definitely sound much heavier and more shred and got a little more better looking over the years. We’ve seen ourselves improve as musicians and finding our niche along the way. You can listen to ‘Witness’ and ‘Awakening’ and immediately tell that it’s Blessthefall through our riffs and vocals. Well the rest of the bands tend to have that cookie-cutter sound and I feel that we’ve done a good job by having our own signature sound that people can identify.”

No one can accuse any member of lacking energy. for Beau himself kept sprinting from one end of the stage to another, riling the crowd up in the process. The dynamic frontman did a superb job interacting with his fans by encouraging the audience to participate in a game called “Stage-dives and High-fives”. Eager fans get on stage and give any of the members a high 5 before stage-diving into the crowd below.

The guys from Arizona were indeed satisfied to see bodies flying and arms flailing around violently as they played some of their popular songs from their older releases such as “Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad”, “Bottomfeeder” and “To Hell and Back”. These crowd favourites eventually initiated a brutal Wall of Death among the audience with them divided into 2 before going head-on with one another, just like a typical war scene.

The last song of the set was brought in with a marching beat that led into “2.0”, echoed by the crowd rallying “Dead! We’re not dead!” in chorus as the song rolled into “What’s Left of Me” giving the fans more than enough of an excuse to go mental for Blessthefall’s finale.

You know you’ll have to brace yourself for August Burns Red when kids in the crowd can be seen pacing the room and thrashing their limbs about as they ready themselves for the face-meltingly brutal set that will catapult everyone into a raging frenzy.

The Pennsylvanian band emerged from backstage, much to the delight of avid fans cheering “ABR! ABR!’, as they launched into an explosive start with “Empire” from record Leveler, which was released on June 21, 2011. The crowd combusted, with a forceful release of suppressed enthusiasm, as vocalist Jake Luhrs paced back and forth, exuding a fervent aura of commanding energy that propelled everyone to sing along to every blistering line he delivered. You know how insane it got when people started climbing over one another to reach out to Jake’s microphone to lend their voices.

ABR’s guitarist, JB Brubaker, tells UrbanWire how he feels about ‘Leveler’ debuting at the 11th position on The Billboard 200 chart. “It’s a testament to how band albums are selling for a metal band like us to be debuting that high. It’s pretty crazy for when we started this band, we’d never had guess we would become a top 20 Billboard band. I don’t know how that happened but it’s cool.”

The metalcore outfit then kicked into “Meddler”, followed by “Internal Canon” which got the crowd rapturous with its outstanding groovy salsa passage that stood out from all the aggressive elements of the song. The hyperactive vocalist’s ability to fill an entire venue with his presence was apparent as he managed to get even almost half the crowd to grab someone and dance.

Never failing to keep the mayhem going at a rousing rate, the band pummeled on with an arsenal of hard-hitting hits from their discography like “Cutting The Ties”, “Marianas Trench”, “Your Little Suburbia Is In Ruins”, “Indonesia”, “Truth Of A Liar” and “Poor Millionaire”, mostly fronted by melodic guitar riffs and piercing cymbals.

Guitarist Brent Rambler describes how August Burns Red would be if it was a person. “It would be a strong but gentle giant, with a tenderness deep within. He would be very well-rounded and his horizons would be very broad. And he is in every man.”

White Washed” had the house shouting to the lyrics: “You’re the straw that’s crushing my back. You are the salt that’s burning my wounds”.

Back Burner” and “Leveler” carried the amazing show to its finish, a mind-blowing drum solo from the maestro himself, Matt Greiner, which left everyone gaping in sheer astonishment at his expertise.

“My favourite part of the show would be during Matt’s spectacular drum solo and every single time the crowd erupted into a mosh. It was messy nonetheless but a really pretty sight!” exclaimed Syahbanun Md. Saleh, 23, an events promoter.

After barely a minute of crying for an encore, the boys returned to the stage obligingly with “Redemption” as JB, Brent and Dustin Davidson (Bass) jumped around in unison and screamed God’s name in worship alongside Jake. The entire show came to a glorious end with “Composure” where the band picked a member of the audience to play the bass for the song. It was indeed a dream come true for that one lucky fan!

Photos Courtesy of Upsurge Productions.


August Burns Red left the crowd at TAB with soaked and weary bodies, satisfyingly blown eardrums, and battle scars (wounds) one would proudly wear to serve as a reminder of how fantastic the experience was.