Where: Cleveland, OH
Venue: Peabody's Down Under
Bands of Note:
Protest the Hero
Let me just start by
saying that the night was probably one of the most problematic concerts
I have ever attended. While the venue (Peabody's) is one of the
more shady and unprofessional in the Cleveland area, it was not merely
all their doing. Read on.
Since I knew that in addition to the 3 bands playing before there would be at least 2 local bands (if not more due to the usual overbooking), I decided to show up to the venue an hour late, thinking I'd be getting in right as one of the 3 support acts were playing. To my dismay, upon parking and walking up toward Peabody's I found a line wrapping all the way around the building. Apparently, as I was later told, a certain Matt Heafy had requested that only his band (Trivium) play on on the larger of the two stages that the little club provided. While that doesn't seem anything more than just selfish at first glance, there were severe repercussions. Because the smaller stage (Pirate's Cove) could only hold about 200 or so people, the sold out show's ticket holders who came slightly late were forced to wait outside the club in 40◦ weather. For a band that claims to care so much about its fans, I would've hoped Mr. Heafy would've not created a mandate that left Trivium's followers waiting for 2 hours outside.
When we finally did get inside, Sanctity was just finishing up their set. I'll say it straight up: I did not come to see any of the 3 supporting bands. Even with that, the sound system on the "second stage" is pretty terrible and as such, could not fairly judge any band playing their. At least Sanctity's frontman looked sort of like James Hetfield and was sporting a Metallica Jump in the Fire t-shirt.
I actually did stand and
watch all of Protest the Hero's Set. I must say, I was thoroughly
unimpressed. The singer took a lot of time out to talk to the crowd;
something I actually enjoy front men doing. However, sonically, their
sound reminded me of a bastard hybrid of System of a Down time-changes
mixed with [insert random pop-punk band here]'s (Taking Back
Sunday anyone?) vocals with some brief glimpses of thrash riffs.
I didn't stay for the
Sword, although I do remember seeing their video on Headbanger's Ball
which was actually mediocre, if uninspired.
Trivium took the stage at
about 11, being accompanied by some sort of Ecstasy of Gold -
esque (read: Metallica) intro. Despite using their own sound system,
Trivium's first four songs seemed to crackle the speakers, cutting off
once they got to a certain EQ. In addition, because everyone put Travis
(drums) had singing responsibilities, the vocal mix sounded unusually
overbearing compared to the rest the instruments.
However, to Trivium's credit, their raw energy made up for all of that. Although the band wasn't as tight as some other acts I've seen (and who can blame them; they're all under 22 years old), they pulled off their songs with charisma and bravado. I also really enjoyed the way Corey took over most of the screaming vocals and Paolo did all of the clean echo/backing vocals.
Matt Heafy frequently
took time to talk to the audience about the snow-storm they had to
weather from Buffalo, and how the gig almost didn't happen. What's more,
throughout the set some of the weirdest shit happened, like Heavy
breaking two strings on two separate occasions, losing a contact, and
Travis breaking a china cymbal mid-set. Despite these set backs, Trivium
took it in stride and played a bunch of new material as well as the hits
off of Ascendancy and the title track off of From Ember to
Inferno. Despite what I had heard about Heafy being a dick, he
really came off as a decent guy onstage. What's more, his constant
reference to "banging your head" and use of the horns made an impression
that fame hasn't taken away his attitude and desire to bear the heavy