CD release shows? They happen all the time. Reunion shows? They also happen all the time.
But both in the same night?
No, that’s not a typo. Instead, it’s an ingenious idea from the minds of Indy’s own Haste The Day. What originally started out as a joke turned into a reality. HTD’s past (Jimmy, Brennan, Devin, Jason, Mike) met the present (Stephen, Dave, Scotty, Giuseppe, and yes, Mike who played the entire two-hour set) at Rhino’s in Bloomington for a night of metal, nostalgia, stage dives, crowd surfers and of course moshing. I’ve been a big fan of these guys since 2006, but sadly never got to see Jimmy in action with them (I have caught a few Trenches shows though). Needless to say, once I heard about this, I had to go. Me and the several others from parts all over (one family actually coming all the way from California to see these guys). Unfortunately, with high demand and Rhino’s being a fairly small place, the show was bound to sell out. Several fans were turned away after the last 30 tickets were sold just minutes before doors opened. After waiting in line for an hour, I finally made my way in. Let’s get things going now, shall we?
Already things look promising/terrifying. The stage sits two feet off the ground; the ceiling is fairly low and you can hang from the rafters; and the monitors are attached to the ceiling. For the first time in a while, bass drops scare me. Before our HTD vs. HTD main event, we got a few warm-ups to go through. Local metal quintet Amarna Reign is up first. Let’s see how they do.
Performing first is never easy, but these guys are local and some of the people here look excited to see them. Maybe they can prove me wrong on my negative beliefs. For the most part, they kind of did. AR did exactly what was expected of them: open the evening with a bang. A bang involving crunching guitars, breakdowns and throaty vocals. A bang that was good enough to get some of the crowd singing along and some of the kids in the pit going. Think of this as a warm-up for when AR hits the Ernie Ball Stage at next week’s Warped Tour.
We’re off to a running start, but there’s just something about this second band that gives me an odd feeling.
Every show has that filler band. The one band that just feels out of place amongst the rest. It shouldn’t feel that way. They do everything they can to put on a good show, but the crowd just can’t seem to get into them. Which now brings us to the second band of the night: Texas metal band Upon a Burning Body. It’s taking an unusually long time for them to set up. From the looks of it, it looks like they might be having problems with the house sound system. Thinking they have it sorted out, UABB begins.
Having never heard these guys before, I didn’t know what to expect. All I could really focus on was the people around me trying to throw a penny through their drummer’s ridiculously large gauges. How huge? Let’s just say you could stick my entire fist through one. Enough of this though, how was the show?
They struck me as kind of a death metal meets hardcore blend with their circle pit-happy blast beats and breakdowns. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really hear much aside from that. Due to the long time it took them to set up, they had to rush through their set. I probably would’ve liked them better if I actually heard what they were playing. I didn’t care a whole lot for what they had to offer, and most of the people around me apparently thought the same. Maybe I need to take some time to listen to them a little more. Maybe.
Okay, so AR got through their set with relatively little error with sound. UABB had many issues and you could barely hear them. Looking to show the audio problems were just a fluke, MyChildren MyBride is up next. They just released their new album “Lost Boy” earlier this month. They start setting up and greet the crowd with an earth-shattering bass drop. Everything looks like it would finally work out with the audio…
Apparently with UABB, the audio problems weren’t a fluke. Like our good friends from Texas, you could barely hear anything. They later discovered the house PA was shot and there wasn’t anything they could do about it (the sound guy also shouted out a few things not too appropriate for this site so we’ll leave it at that). Perhaps AR rocked it a little too hard? Either way, these fans paid to see a show, and these Alabama natives were there to make sure they got a show. To continue without the various sound problems with the monitors (which by now were only projecting static), they made the decision to press on without monitors. No problem, except now the band couldn’t hear what they were even doing. From the looks of it though, the kids don’t seem to mind, as they just continued to sing and dance and scream the night away. You know, the same thing kids used to do at old Beatles shows when they sold out Shea. Despite the audio problems, they did spark my interest. I’ll have to check them out again. Hopefully there will be sound next time.
I get the feeling things are about to get a little crazy.
All night long I’ve been hearing all these people talk about how much they want to see Jimmy. It’s been nearly five years since his departure and this crowd is ready to see him in all his high-pitched screaming glory. The old school fans seem ready; the “wolf king” looks ready (a guy in a wolf mask was walking around all night in the crowded venue); the kids in the pit look ready; and finally the band looks ready. New HTD hits the stage and kicks things off with “68″ to set the tone. If these kids are going crazy for this, what’s it going to be like when old HTD comes out?
Thankfully we don’t have to wait long to find out. Old HTD comes out to “Blue 42″ and this place really gets crazy.
To briefly describe the events of what happened, the extended set included moshers, crowd surfers, kids hanging from the rafters, a member of the Rhino’s staff telling kids not to hang from the rafters and risking electrocuting everyone (which one person agreed with me would be the most metal thing of the night), photographers struggling to find a stable place to stand to shoot the show, favorite songs old and new, a heart-felt speech by Jimmy and a mad rush to the stage during the finale to join the rest of the band that looked more like that clash in “The Two Towers.”
At times you could barely hear them, but if you just went there to hear music, then you could just sit in the parking lot and blast their CDs as loud as you can from your car. This night was about more than just music. It was about a celebration of the long journey HTD has been on for nearly the last decade. It was that kind of nostalgic feel that didn’t lose its feel until the final note rang out from the speakers. After all, it doesn’t feel like it was too long ago when they were playing for small crowds at CPAC. Now they’ll be hitting up Verizon in September for X-Fest. Though they may have changed over the years, they assured us that they still have the same goal and the same message, which is a message of love, faith and forgiveness. The show ends with the career-defining song “When Everything Falls,” featuring both Jimmy and new frontman Stephen Keech on vocals.
Despite an overwhelming response for an encore following a massive dog pile during “When Everything Falls,” the show is over. Some fans are bummed, but it’s okay because they just witnessed a reunion show that may never happen again. Nearly an hour after the show is over and some fans are still hanging around hoping to get an autograph, get a picture taken or just be able to talk with the bands. It’s about a two-hour trip to get home. Time to start heading back.
So who wins the battle of HTD vs. HTD?
Well, the fans are the real winners because when the classic lineup faces the current lineup. We may never see a reunion like this again, so fans made sure to soak up everything while they could. Sure they had audio problems and there were a few flubs (mostly by the old lineup, but they don’t have to play this stuff anymore), but those things are out of our control.
For those like me, it’s just a great excuse to dance and scream the night away.