It’s raining, and Bullet For My Valentine skipped their interview, so the beginning of the Sunday night adventure at Stubb’s that was the Fever Tour did not get off to a good start. The young crowd anticipated what they deem to be a metal show on the horizon, but I am starting to feel a little smug as the gates swing open and I do everything to keep my phone dry.
Once the rain let up the first band took the stage, and Drive A seemed odd against the metalcore backdrop. Utilizing the age old, anarchy symbol to ensure the audience they were punk rock, Drive A proceeded to play music trampled into the ground by bands like Blink 182 and Sum 41, a mixture of pop and punk, that tastes like bitter candy, yearning for the acceptance of true hardcore fans, but never really reaching it.
Black Tide followed them up, and unfortunately the charm has worn off of this band. The darlings of SXSWs past, adding a few years to them taught them little in the way of skills. Their choice to open the set with a cover of Metallica’s “Hit the Lights,” demonstrated their lack of experience, and served to undermine their whole set. They command their instruments, but the early exposure left them dangling in space unsure of how to execute on stage.
The next set came from Escape The Fate (pictured right), who has a branded mainstream sound. They get kudos for stage presence and commanding the audience, although the Wall of Death is a little cliché unless you can really pull it off. Musically they were a mixture of heavy metal riffing and traditional sing/scream execution. Their songs were strong, but they were sloppy, a distraction from an otherwise confident and solid performance. See Escape The Fate’s setlist here.
The crowd went wild as Bullet For My Valentine was about to take the stage. Kicking off the set with the two singles from the new album, “Your Betrayal” and “Fever,” BFMV really has impressive charisma. Changing over time to divert the screaming away from Matt Tuck has given them freedom to hone their sound and continually improve their performance. Rebounding into “Waking the Demon,” past hits like “Tears Don’t Fall” and “Four Words” rallied the fans shouting lyrics in step with every chorus. No matter what you think of their music, BFMV proves with every show why they win awards for their live performances. They just can’t seem to make it to their press appointments. See BFMV’s setlist here.