Photo by Conor Dow
As I Lay Dying
All That Remains
Haste the Day
Through the Eyes of the Dead
The Great Saltair
The last time I attended a show out at the Saltair Pavilion was about 10 years ago, and my goodness has it changed. Out with the "nearly abandoned warehouse" atmosphere, this old building has really shaped up to be pretty nice venue. Everybody touch up your sleeve tattoos and put on the tough guy scowl, a heavy metal show is coming to town!
Initially when I volunteered to review this show, it was because I was interested in seeing Through the Eyes of the Dead perform with their new vocalist Nate Johnson, (Premonitions of War, Deadwater Drowning). I really enjoyed their fairly brutal deathcoreish first album, "Bloodlust," and was curious to witness the differences with the balls-out death metal direction they've taken on the recently released "Malice". As my friend Tim and I were patted down, tickets taken and entered the venue, the most metal band in the building was wrapping up the last song in their set. We realized this while wading through skinny teenagers with disenchanted looks on their faces, our desire to be in attendance quickly dissolved. "Prepare for the suck," Tim stated.
With my camera in hand and a photo pass around my wrist, I decided to take this opportunity to discuss the guidelines of what I can do with my photo access. I found out that I could go between the crowd and the stage for the first three songs of each band on the bill, and play "band photographer" to my heart's content. Awesome! The amateur photographer and anal retentive music lover in me was extremely excited to find this out. I might just be getting old, but I don't think I've ever interacted with security guards who were as nice as these fellas. I fully expected to catch a world of shit for having my camera, and trying to get "access," but they were all extremely friendly and cooperative. They also seemed to interact with the crowd quite a bit in a friendly nature, which I found to be refreshing.
Up the stairs inside Saltair would be the private club known as The Salt Lick, and also refuge for Tim and I from the swarms of sweaty kids who should probably be home doing their biology homework. But as we all know, when one enters a private club, they must also purchase a membership! With this membership came another wrist band AND a hand stamp. The $5.00 charge was definitely worth the money, but the cans of beer at the same price were not. Capitalism is SO metal!
Not too long after, Haste the Day took to the stage and the "assertive tough guy skipping" toward the front ensued. Until this show, I had never heard any of their material, but my first impression wasn't that great. Basically they seem to play most of their songs in the same key, a tempo which you could play pattycake or skip rope to and an overdose of mister sensitive melodic vocals - which I might note were impressively harmonized by their drummer and a guitar player. Tim and I debated about the possibility that these melodic vocals were actually done Milli Vanilli style, but we couldn't be certain. Toward the end of the set, vocalist Stephen Keech reminded us all that "Jesus Christ loves you no matter what." I haven’t been the victim of a drive by witnessing for quite some time, there’s nothing more metal than Jesus! With that, their set ended as quickly as it began.
All That Remains was next, and I was unfamiliar with their work as well, but a young man with a "Death to False Hardcore" hoodie seemed VERY excited to see them. While their music was decidedly more metal than the previous band, they still sounded like a watered-down Killswitch Engage, if that's even possible. Melodic singing awkwardly placed over blast beats and thrashy guitar in a distracting manner that I hadn't heard before. They pounded through about eight or nine songs, and interacted minimally with the crowd.
The crowd was growing restless after All That Remains's equipment was removed, and the remaining necessities for As I Lay Dying's stage had the finishing touches added. This included a large backdrop, metal platforms so that the band members can stand on top of their monitors, and a very large drum stand that put Jordan Mancino about four feet higher than everyone else. I've seen As I Lay Dying before, and while I don't find them to be particularly unique or amazing, their previous album "Shadows Are Security" was a guilty pleasure of mine for several weeks. The lights dimmed, and the crowd went bananas. Without wasting time, the band came out on stage and opened with a track from their recently released album “An Ocean Between Us”. Their performance was noticeably louder than the previous bands, with a lot better lighting and more room on the stage for the band members to romp around on. After the second song, vocalist Tim Lambesis said that they wanted to thank the older fans, and he introduced the song "Forever" from their second album, to which the crowd went completely ballistic. The band played a decent amount of songs, and sounded very tight. Before I knew it, the show was over, and at a decent hour, too! Now everyone can get their biology homework done so they don't have to sit in study hall during the pep rally.
All in all, it was a good night at Saltair, and while I wasn't exactly into the three bands that I saw play, it was a memorable opportunity to take photos so close to the performance, and it was excellent to see the mighty Saltair still going strong. Time to put away my sleeve tattoos for another day!
Check out photos of the show taken by Conor Dow at SLUG Show Photos!