Date: February 10th, 2014
Venue: Academy 3, Manchester
Support: Hundredth / Being As An Ocean
After one of their last visits to Manchester seeing the band play in the much bigger Ritz venue, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that August Burns Red are returning to play in the underground Club Academy. What’s an even bigger shock on the day is the show being moved to the even smaller Academy 3 room. At this stage, it’s unclear if there are any further surprises afoot.
Opening up a room still filtering in fans in at a slow but steady rate are Hundredth (***), who deliver a meaty set of melodic metalcore anthems-to-be that sadly fall on the ears of an almost stagnant crowd, bar a small gathering to the right of the stage. Frontman Chadwick Johnson‘s vocal delivery is intense and at its core bears genuine emotion, which makes the likes of closer ‘Desolate’ great starting points for the following acts.
As for Joel Quartuccio, he decides to start to leave his bandmates in Being As An Ocean (****) on stage whilst he sticks into the thick of the crowd during set opener, ‘Nothing, Save The Power They’re Given’. It’s from this point that we see BAAO are definitely a big attraction towards tonight’s show, and rightly so. Though they only have one album under their belts, the likes of fan favourite ‘The Hardest Part Is Forgetting Those You Swore You Would Never Forget’ could rightly confuse an unknowing spectator to think these are tonight’s headliners. Come album number two, these guys are going to explode.
Though they give them a fairly decent run for their money, August Burns Red (****) just manage to swipe the crown from Being As An Ocean as tonight’s champion. Indeed, what we see from tonight’s headlining act is wave after wave of crowdsurfers, almost constant pitting and a setlist of some of the band’s blistering metalcore numbers, such as ‘Internal Cannon’ and ‘Cutting The Ties’. Lead guitarist JB Brubaker‘s fingers are almost as quick as lightning and bassist Dustin Davidson‘s backing screams reach almost The Exorcist-esque highs.
A set highlight comes with encore closer, ‘Composure’, which sees frontman Jake Luhrs inviting a 14-year-old fan onstage, gets him to replicate some booty shaking from family comdey film Grown-Ups 2, before breaking into the track and closing the curtains on tonight.
With the move to a far smaller venue, the sweaty and compact nature was just what any dedicated fan could’ve wanted for a band now over a decade into the game. Was this intentional, for the band to get a more intimate gig feel? It’s not clear, but not matter the venue, August Burns Red kill it.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)