New Years Day has been extremely busy this past year. They have supported bands like Halestorm and Godsmack and will be making a run with In This Moment later this year. They found time to record their fourth full-length album, ‘Unbreakable,’ which was released earlier this year. The album kept true to the bands sound that blends metal and goth, but there was a definite push to become more accessible and plant themselves into the modern rock arena. The new record seems to have invigorated the California based outfit and armed with a fresh outlook the live shows have never been better. The Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota was treated to a New Years Day headline set that took fans back to where New Years Day began but more importantly where they are trying to go. Before New Years Day took the stage, two Minnesota bands, Plague Of Stars and Time Keeper, were given the challenge to entertain a crowd that was clearly waiting for the headliner.
Hitting the stage first was Time Keeper and they came with a simple game plan, hit you hard, and then hit you again. They pull from the hardcore and metalcore genres and featured blistering riffs and bruising breakdowns. They took advantage of every second they had on stage and worked the crowd while blazing through a short set. The band just released their first self-titled E.P., which can be found on all streaming services, and they are about to take their brash sound out on the road.
Plague Of Stars was next and they flexed their musical muscle through a fusion of many different musical genres. They branched off in just about any direction at any given moment. I heard metal, death metal, symphonic and alternative musical styles all intricately played with enough melody to hook you in and plenty of power to keep you off balance. Vocalist Melissa Ferlaak was impressive while the band behind her provided a rich landscape for her vocals. They have just released the new album ‘Daedalus.’ The set was comprised completely around the new album except one song, ‘Sense Control,’which took the crowd back to the bands beginning. It was a great opportunity for them to play in front of new faces that we’re seeing them for the first time and I think they left a good impression on the crowd.
New Years Day hit with “Come With Me” and then jumped into “Kill Or Be Killed.” They were greeted by loyal fan base that let the band know, through singing and throwing the metal horns, that they were with them for the entire evening. Vocalist Ash Costello immediately grabbed everybody’s attention when she took the stage and she made it a point to reach down and grab the hands of fans that were reaching out to her. There was also a mini-staircase at the front of the stage that she used to tower over fans and
Despite Costello commanding most of the attention, guitarist Nikki Misery’s presence was impossible not to notice. He had his own vibe by his facial expressions, lifting his guitar in the air or taking it off and just holding it by the strap. He was fun to watch throughout the night. The rest of band consisted of bassist Frankie Sil and lead guitarist Austin Ingerman. Sitting behind the kit was former Yellowcard drummer Longineu Parsons III. The band was tight and gave Costello a launch pad for her vocals.
They continued to rip through the set that included the covers of “Gangsta (Kehlani)” and “Fucking Hostile (Pantera)” before retuning to their new album ‘Unbreakable.’ It was no surprise that both “Shut Up” and “Skeletons” were received so well live. The new album has continued the bands evolution and pushed previous boundaries aside, fans both old and new, have embraced the material and it clearly showed during the performance. As much as the new stuff shined, there was plenty of material to bring to the stage to reminisce about past. Songs like “Scream,” “Epidemic,” and “Defame Me” provided the fuel for the fans to embrace past songs. Costello was very interactive with the crowd all night. Some fun moments included the band going into the crowd first then Costello joining them and being completely surrounded as she moved around on the floor. Band introductions included Misery grinding his guitar on the step-railing and Ingerman kicking into a short portion of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ with Costello joining in. One thing I have never seen is a “switcheroo” but New Years Day pulled it off. They had all the fans in the front of the stage change places with the people in the back and Costello shouted “It looks like a totally different show.” They closed the night with “Angel Eyes” and I think the only drawback of the set was it went by so quickly because people still wanted more.
It was fun night of music as all three bands offered very different musical styles. All three delivered a set full of passion and energy and the crowd responded to all three bands. The local Minnesota scene was showcased with pride as Time Keeper and Plague Of Stars were great and New Years Day showed they are willing to continue to fight to be heard and expand their presence in the rock landscape.