If there is one genre that has to prove itself to me time and time again, it is screamo. Over the past few years there has been an exponential growth in the number of bands padding out the genre. It has never really grown on me, the incessant, unintelligible screaming, the open chord strumming, I don't know, I never really got into it. So, needless to say, this show had to work at winning me over. Well, not really, but you know what I mean, I didn't go into this as a fan of any of the bands that were playing, still I am always willing to give bands a shot, and I am generally easy to please in the live setting.
When I got inside The Chance Theater, Twelve Gauge Valentine was already onstage performing. If this show wanted to win me over, this was not a good start. They had the energy, but everything else was just so bland and generic that I failed to become engaged. There were plenty of the screamo-kids doing their thing in the pit to be entertained with, but the music left much to be desired. The vocals were that generic scream that I have come to be completely bored with. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against screaming, but please try to bring something new to the table. The rest of the band felt just as flat. The performance itself was solid, just nothing special in the music itself.
Following that up is another up and coming screamo/emo act. Honestly, I cannot say that I liked the music, but it was a considerable step up from Twelve Gauge Valentine (although I do think that is a pretty cool name). This act was from North Carolina and called Alesana. The stage was set up, complete with speaker cabinet blocking banners featuring their album cover. The six piece act took the stage, backs to us, fists pointed to the skies as the music kicked in, full throttle. They brought a little more subtlety to the music, mixing in the soft with the heavier (not really heavy). Three band members shared the vocals, with two of them handling the vast majority of the lead duties. I liked how the blended clean singing with the screaming, with the inclusion of a death metal growl, just to liven things up. They also used three guitarists, adding a little more to their sound. In the end, it was still not to my taste, but the music was interesting and offered a nice variety to their sound.
It Dies Today was the third band to play. They were supposed to have headlined a show here a few days prior, but something kept them from being able to make it, and they were added to this bill. With the start of their set, the show finally started to kick into gear for me. It Dies Today offers a bit more metal in their sound, kind of a screamo/metalcore hybrid, it leans more towards screamo, but there is enough metal in there to start getting me involved.
There was a bit of contention between the band and the fans, you see, they are from Buffalo, and the Sabres were facing the Rangers in the playoffs. This is Ranger country, so there was some ribbing going on between the band, which had a Sabres flag on stage, and the "Let's go Rangers"" chants of the crowd (at least some of them). Anyway, they brought a lot of energy to the stage, and the music brought some metallic crunch to the party which the first two bands lacked. The pit was churning, fists and feet flying in all directions. They brought with them their new lead singer, his first time on the Poughkeepsie stage, and he was greeted well by the crazy kids.
Haste the Day was the fourth band in what was beginning to turn into a long evening. These guys were probably the most impressive. The music was heavy, in your face, and rocked hard. During their set they made a comment that I, as a new listener, found curious, they said in between songs "We love all of you. Jesus loves you too. You can ask us about that." I then learned they are a Christian band, something I have found pop up a few times with these acts, recently learning this about As I Lay Dying as well. I am impressed to hear these acts that are not in your face with their faith, yet do not shy away from their spirituality. They delivered some heavy breakdowns mixed in, while giving playing their style of metalcore. May not be the best I've heard, but it did deliver and made me want to explore of their music.
Finally, the headliner took the stage at 11:30. From Autumn to Ashes, touring in support of their latest album, Holding a Wolf by the Ears. They took the stage by force, playing their heavy flavor of post-hardcore. I have to say the heavy music hooked me but the vocals failed to grab me. The vocalist, who reminded me of that guy from the Spin Doctors, was singing his heart out, yet I really didn't care for the sound of his voice. Perhaps it is still Francis Mark trying to find his way in the new role of singer/frontman, after replacing their former lead singer in 2005. He gave an energy filled performance which the crowd appreciated, but I just wasn't feeling it. I liked the trend that started with It Dies Today continue through to the end of the set. I am not a big fan of the screamo set, I've said it before, will say it again, and won't let you forget it. I was happy to see the injection of metal and harder edged guitar work come through in the music of the last three bands.
In the end, this ended up being a good, if not extraordinary night of music. It got off to a slow start, but continuously picked up as we sped towards out confrontation with From Autumn to Ashes. It became apparent to me that Ashes is a band that is seeking to re-establish themselves. They had gone on a hiatus, where fans thought they were going to break up, they had to deal with the departure of their lead singer, Mark had to adjust to a new role and find someone new to fill the now empty drum stool. They have come back with a new album, which sounds pretty good from the couple of tracks I've heard, and gone on a tour to get the name back on people's minds. It seems to be working well, and it doesn't hurt to have Haste the Day, which seems to be climbing in popularity at a fast rate, with you. This was the last night of this particular tour, though I am sure they will be back on the road getting the word out and bringing the energy of the music to the stage.Powered by Sidelines