As I Lay Dying - November 15, 2019 - House of Blues, Las Vegas
What a year to be alive! As I had mentioned in my pre coverage piece for this event; I hadn’t seen As I Lay Dying perform in about 10 years. This was a night to remember, as the guys sold out the floor at the House of Blues, Las Vegas. But we’ll get to more of that in a bit.
Kicking off the show for us were deathcore-hip hop blended Emmure. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, these guys are great to watch. They’re one of the most hated bands in the genre; but when it comes to progression and energy, they’ve got their shit on point. “Look at Yourself” was released in 2017; and I have to say it was a blast to be in the photo pit while they played “Shinjuku Masterlord”. Watching Frankie spit out the lyrics and having the crowd yell them back; “YOU THINK I GIVE A FUCK? Because I don’t.” - It was pretty glorious.
They closed out their set with “When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong”; which is a heavy hitter from their 2007 full length album release; “Goodbye To The Gallows.”
After the Burial
Next up on the bill were After the Burial. What do I have to say about these guys!? This was the THIRD time they’ve passed through Vegas this year. First being their 4/20 headlining show at Backstage Bar & Billiards downtown; and the second time being on the Trick R Treat Tour with Motionless in White; which was also at the House of Blues. As for this being the third time I’ve had the pleasure of covering them on a bill; I have nothing but good thoughts. I have lost count of how many total times I’ve seen them through the years. But I can comfortably say I’m good with that. They are SO DAMN GOOD live; and if they’re on any bill as an opener, they are worth getting to venues early for.
As I Lay Dying
Alas, the final band for the night was none other than metalcore heavyweights, As I Lay Dying. Once again, I will not go into the details of the events that lead up to this point. I’ve chosen to not talk about it; unless the conversation is constructive and non insulting to how I feel about it personally. I came to this show to see one of my favorites in the genre; and to decide for myself if there was a renewed energy there- which there was.
The stage was set up in a way I had never seen these guys do in the past. With beautiful risers all over the stage that showcased similar artwork that can be seen on their latest album release. I thought I had seen flames and a little bit of a fire show type of production from other shows; so I’m wondering if the House of Blues stage just wasn’t fit for pyrotechnics. I could be wrong though, and they could have very well just had an extremely impressive lighting set up. (Going back through videos of this tour, the latter seems more probable. However: fire would have been an amazing addition to this tour set up; because of the album and tour name alone!)
Oh the excitement!
The venue was filled with excited fans screaming all the lyrics in unison. The mosh pit was in full force the entire night; as were the ballsy crowd surfers jumping over heads to get over the barricade in front of the stage. The guys played all of the bests of their catalogue; which included “Through Struggle”, “Within Destruction”, “The Darkest Nights”, and “94 Hours”. But it wasn’t only the good old stuff; As I Lay Dying also performed a good chunk of songs from their latest album, “Shaped by Fire”; including “Blinded”, “Redefined” (Which After the Burial vocalist Anthony Notarmaso joined in to sing in place of Jake Luhr.), and “My Own Grave”.
On a personal note; I was overjoyed to be in the photo pit for one of my favorite As I Lay Dying songs; “Through Struggle.” It was the second song of their set and it pushed my excitement to another level. I stood happily off to the side for the rest of the night. Capturing phone videos of this band that ultimately lead me into even more heavy music years ago. Tim thanked the crowd multiple times throughout their hour plus long set. The genuine remarks made on stage were reflective of those in the crowd; who had forgiven his mistakes in exchange for the opportunity to watch the guys do what they do best- perform.
I saw a different energy on that stage that night. People can change and heal; only time will tell if this new path will be able to win over those gatekeepers who reside in the scene. But if not, I say keep letting them play to the fans who want to hear it. At some point they’re going to want to retire; and as a heavyweight in the metalcore genre... They should by all means be able to put in the work to make that a possibility.
The "Shaped by Fire" tour continues through the middle of December; and then embarks on yet another leg of the tour in Asia. All official tour dates can be found at As I Lay Dying's official website.
Until next time....
All Photos by Courtney Ware for ZrockR Magazine 2019, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.