Saturday night I stopped by the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ to catch Pop Evil, Escape the Fate, Avatar, and Glamour of the Kill on what was set to be an energetic and fun night. Going in I was unsure what to expect as Escape the Fate was the only and I’d seen before and I’d never even heard of Glamour of the Kill or Avatar. I’d heard of Pop Evil before the show and from what I knew of them expected a good set but other than that I wasn’t sure what to expect. Before the show I sat down with Ben Thomson, drummer of Glamour of the Kill, and Johannes, frontman for Avatar, for interviews with both, be sure to check those out!
Unfortunately Glamour of the Kill could not take the stage as their lead singer Davey Richmond was extremely under the weather and did not have the voice he needed to perform. It was the first set they cancelled in their 7 year career but as supporting vocalist and guitarist Chris Gomerson explained they did not want to leave fans with the wrong impression or give them anything less than their absolute best. While I was excited to hear them live as the songs I played when prepping for the interview sounded great, I respect their decision and dedication to quality live performances. Both Avatar and Escape the Fate were supportive of the decision and encouraged fans to support the band at their merch table which was really nice to see. I was a bit disappointed in snide remarks made from others but again, it was mostly support which was great to see. They’re releasing their new album in the States tomorrow (May 12) be sure to pick it up and catch them on the rest of this tour!
Avatar took the stage with an incredibly theatric and fantastic performance. Prior to the set I was speaking to fans who asked if frontman Johannes Eckerström was already in makeup for the interview and I was a bit confused until they took the stage. I felt like I was at a classic rock show with the way the group took the stage dressed to the part with full makeup and an energetic entrance. They were by far my favorite band of the night because of the way Eckerström engaged the crowd and how the rest of the band were insanely animated. It was abundantly clear that they loved every minute of it. They are a band that fans must see live because their stage presence just adds to the experience of fantastic music. Eckerström has a fantastic vocal range from smooth clean vocals to powerful unclean screams. His vocals mix beautifully with skilled guitar, bass, and drum work to create a unique sound in the metal genre that fans are sure to love!
Escape the Fate took the stage next with what promised to be a fun set. I’ve seen the group twice before and they never fail to put on an energy filled show! The group has undergone drastic changes in the past few months with the departure of the Money brothers, Monte and Michael, and now even more recently the second departure of Max Green (although that happened after I saw them) and somehow always seem to bounce back and put on a show fans deserve to see. The group integrated newer and older songs into the setlist which was sure to appeal to all of their fans. It was reassuring to see that no matter where the band goes “This War is Ours (The Gullotine Pt. II)” will always make the setlist! As always Escape the Fate had fans off of their feet and screaming along throughout the entire set!
Pop Evil closed out the night with a good set. I’d never seen them live before and was not sure what to expect, but the previous two bands had set the bar pretty high. I did enjoy their live performance because the group overall had a good stage presence and the crowd seemed to really enjoy themselves. I was not overly impressed with them as a whole and even less so after a few snide and seemingly disrespectful comments. They did however do a fantastic job with getting the crowd into each and every song, whether it was opening pits or just jumping along and screaming fans were engaged throughout the entire set.
Overall the night was quite enjoyable and fans seemed to have a good time during each and every band. The respect and comradery amongst most of the bands was fantastic to see! The band that surprised me the most and really caught my attention was the Avatar, the Swedish Metal group, who really knew how to put on an energized set and took their sound to a new level through live performance. If the tour has yet to come to your city be sure to catch it! If you can’t catch this tour be on the lookout for when Glamour of the Kill and Avatar return to the US again and for when Escape the Fate and Pop Evil tour again, each band is worth seeing live at least once!
*Images courtesy of Pop Evil, Escape the Fate (Facebook)- Jeremy Saffer, Avatar, Glamour of the Kill- Brendan Hopkinson