On Thursday, July 11th, Miss May I, The Word Alive, Afterlife, and Thousand Below kicked off their tour in Chicago at the Bottom Lounge. The eclectic bill brought forth a solid mix of early metalcore and hard rock to the stage.
Thousand Below got things started with their brand new song “Chemical”, which premiered on Octane the day before the show. The band really gives off a post-hardcore, atmospheric rock vibe that brought something unique to the bill. It made sense that they were recently out on the road with Dance Gavin Dance as they fit their vibe and fan base quite well. Vocalist James DeBerg poured his emotions out on stage as the band played through material from their debut record ‘The Love You Let Too Close’. Their sound is at times reminiscent of recent Bring Me The Horizon and Linkin Park. The band got the crowd warmed up for the next band by closing with their heaviest track, “Vein”. Be sure to keep Thousand Below on your radar as they continue to jump on strong tours that bring together different fanbases.
For myself, Afterlife was the highlight of the night. Previously never listening to them, they delivered a blistering set with songs sounding similar to the likes of Sylar, I Prevail, and Marilyn Manson. Hailing from Florida, the band has recently blown up on the Octane radio station because of their song “Throat” from their debut album ‘Breaking Point”. As soon as they took the stage in Chicago, you could feel the vibe change as the crowd got noticeably rough in the pit. After opening with “New Rage”, the band struggled with some technical difficulties on their MacBook for their electronic content in their songs. They got the show started back up after a few minutes and were still able to squeeze in their full set for the night with songs like “PSA”, “Throat”, and “Giving Back The Pain”. Afterlife is yet another up and coming band that is sure to make some noise in the rock and metal world over the next year.
Nine years ago, The Word Alive delivered one of the best debut metalcore albums to this day with ‘Deceiver’. As they transition into a new phase of the band, they wanted to give the fans one more chance to hear songs off the album before retiring them for good. To honor this for the fans, this tour was announced as a full album play-through of ‘Deceiver’. Fully expecting the album to be played in order, the crowd got ready to belt out the words to “The House of Anubis” when the band took the stage. Instead, the band took everyone by surprise by opening with “2012” while playing “The House of Anubis” about halfway through their set. Instead of the typical play-through, The Word Alive still played all of ‘Deceiver’, but out of order. During “2012”, another surprise happened when Miss May I vocalist Levi Benton hopped on stage with vocalist Telle Smith for about half the song. Being the opening night of the tour, it was unexpected and was an awesome way to kick off the first of two headlining sets. Telle Smith‘s ability to flawlessly execute the vocals he laid down nearly a decade ago is nothing short of amazing. It was almost a shame knowing that they’re retiring these songs (despite playing some of them for the first time ever) because of how great they sounded that night. After the play-through was complete, the band also added on some extra content from their more recent albums so they could show the older fans what they’ve been up to as of late. The Word Alive closed their set with “Misery”, “Trapped”, and “Why Am I Like This” to lead the fans into where the band is now. Although a bittersweet set, it was a memorable one that old school fans were grateful to witness.
After a moment to catch our breath, metalcore juggernauts Miss May I took the stage to also give a play-through performance of their sophomore album, ‘Monument’. Since the album was released in 2010, the band hasn’t undergone any lineup changes, which is impressive in itself. It’s also a big deal that they’re all still together as most album play-throughs end up being done with one or two members that weren’t in the band when the album was made. Again taking fans by surprise for the night, Miss May I didn’t kick off the night with “Our Kings”. They did play the album in order, but they kicked the night off with three tracks from the deluxe edition of ‘Monument’ before launching into the regular eleven tracks on the album. Seeing the pits erupt for “Relentless Chaos” never gets old. The highlight of the set was getting to see the band play “Gears” for what I believe was the first time ever. Vocalist Levi Benton has the stage presence of a lion and dominates a room when he’s on stage. It was no different when he took the stage with The Word Alive earlier in the night. You can feel the energy and tension in the room increase when he takes the stage at these shows. Luckily, we will still get to here a few tracks from this album here and there as Miss May I is continuing to pump out heavy metalcore music to this day. The ‘Monument’ material still flows well in their set while ‘Deceiver’ material for The Word Alive deviates a bit from what they’re doing now. Bleeding Through vocalist Brandan Schieppati not coming in to perform “Rust” with Miss May I was about the only thing that didn’t happen to 100% complete the ‘Monument’ play-through. These guys don’t show their age either when it comes to playing material from 2010. After finishing up “Rust” on the encore, Miss May I closed out the night with “Hey Mister”, “Forgive and Forget” (from debut album ‘Apologies Are For The Weak’), and “Shadows Inside” to give fans an old school song along with some tracks following ‘Monument’. If you have an opportunity, I highly recommend getting out and seeing this show as The Word Alive and Miss May I may never play some of these songs again. You should also get there nice and early to ensure you’re able to check out newcomers in Afterlife and Thousand Below. Be sure to check out our photo gallery of the show below!