It’s been quite a while since I have been to a show that was predominantly heavy… my last experience being Opeth last year at Ryman Auditorium. It’s not as if I don’t enjoy the genre, but as I get older, I find my body simply cannot handle the head-banging and moshing as much as it once did. Recently, I have been working out and doing yoga much more frequently, so I felt confident I could handle one hard-rocking night this month. This evening’s lineup included some massive names in the metal community, with Asking Alexandria, Nothing More, Atreyu and newcomers Eva Under Fire. Unfortunately, as I arrived at Marathon Music Works, there was a large white sign announcing that Asking Alexandria would not be performing this evening. Fans were visibly upset and a quick Google search revealed he came down with a bad case of laryngitis. Nothing More would now be taking on headlining duties and, while many were disappointed, for me, it just meant more Nothing More songs!
Eva Under Fire was up first and this female-fronted Detroit metal group absolutely crushed it.
They came out firing on all cylinders and had everyone jumping up and down from the get-go. They were extremely interactive with the crowd and it didn’t take much effort to see why they were on tour with Asking Alexandria. One of the many highlights of their set came when they played “Seperate Ways” by Journey, which to date was the best version of the song I have ever heard! Vocalist Eva Marie invited everyone to come say “hi” at the merch booth after their set and the line to get photos with her lasted through the rest of the evening. I can honestly say that this is a band to keep a close eye on; they will most likely be the next big thing in the rock/metal world!
Atreyu is a band that has held a special place in my musical heart ever since I got my hands on a copy of their 2004 breakout album The Curse. I must have listened to that album 1,000 times in a row when it first came out. I loved how heavy and melodic the band was and for a long period of my youth, they were all I listened to. Sadly, during those years I never got the opportunity to see them live — it always seemed like I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Needless to say, they were the band I was looking most forward to seeing this evening. My head practically exploded when they performed “Right Side of the Bed”, a song they most likely would have left off the set had Asking Alexandria not dropped off the show. Mosh pits opened up across the venue and I found myself instinctively joining in. In a brief moment of clarity I thought, “What the heck are you doing?”, but I realized if I was gonna do one more mosh pit, tonight was the perfect time.
Nothing More is also a band I have been waiting a long time to see live.
Over my years of attending concerts, I came close once, but I couldn’t get into the venue in time; those were the years when Nothing More was just opening for larger acts. Now, they find themselves firmly on top of the rock world. A shirtless Johnny Hawkins ran onto the stage, grabbed the mic and kicked things off with “Turn It Up (Stand in the Fire)”. The entire earth began to shake as he sprinted from one side of the stage to another — at times, it felt like some sort of ritualistic dance. It was an offering to the gods of rock, if there were such a thing. It wasn’t just the fact that they were extremely high-energy, but they had a type of swagger that very few bands have. The highlights of the evening came in the form of “Jenny” — a touching song about Hawkins’ sister — and their amazing new single, “Tired of Winning”. Even without a full tour lineup, this night of music was beyond expectations. Each band rose to the occasion to give fans a show they won’t soon forget.
Photography by Derek Jones