As I Lay Dying, Throwdown, All That Remains: Live in Vancouver March 29, 2005

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As I Lay Dying/Throwdown/All That Remains

AKA “The Minions of Mosh Tour”

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005
Richard?s on Richards
Vancouver, BC Canada

**Review & Photography By Lord of The Wasteland 

?Twas an interesting venture as this night saw my first foray into not only covering a gig at the tiny downtown club, Richard?s on Richards, but also into the mysterious world of a metalcore/hardcore show.  Metal Blade Records? As I Lay Dying was the main reason I was there however I thought I would arrive early and check out the opening acts: Massachusetts metalcore act All That Remains and Orange County?s hardcore mavens, Throwdown.  (Sadly, Winter Solstice was not joining the tour until a week later in London, Ontario.)  I figured this tour?dubbed ?The Minions of Mosh??was sure to be an eclectic mix of fans and musical styles but I had no idea how right I would actually be.


The show was scheduled to begin at 8:00PM but everything seemed to be running about thirty minutes behind schedule when I arrived just after the hour.  I grabbed a quick sleeve of Granville Island Honey Lager and made sure the camera was all ready to go before getting myself in position to take in All That Remains (NOTE: Photo passes were not secured in time, so no photos of All That Remains or Throwdown were taken).  I had heard of this band only by name and through its link to Shadows Fall (vocalist Philip Labonte was that band?s original singer).  Their second album, THE DARKENED HEART, was released last year and seemed to be coasting on the label?s inclusion of Labonte?s former band in its ad campaigns.  Granted, All That Remains? music is not unlike that of Shadows Fall, with two guitarists who have never met a lead or melodic riff they didn?t like and a solid rhythm section, but Labonte?s roaring vocals tend to get forgotten.  Not that he is a bad vocalist by any means, but there is nothing about his style or delivery that separates him from the rest of frontmen of the seemingly endless pack of metalcore bands coming out of the woodwork these days.  One could almost see the look of despair on Labonte?s face as he stood before a small, but mostly uninterested, crowd of about 25 people, asking himself why he was here and Shadows Fall was selling 100,000+ records and headlining their own tours.  Mike Martin and Oli Hebert?the band?s guitarists?were definitely the highlight of All That Remains? half hour set, dropping searing solos on tracks like ?Vicious Betrayal? and ?The Deepest Gray.?  Breakdowns aplenty were also present on ?This Darkened Heart,? which really stood out for me as a great song.  Labonte?s energy was lost on the indifferent crowd but he certainly gets an A for effort.  His roars, growls and even some clean vocals on ?For Salvation? captured the essence of the music well but just couldn?t get the crowd fired up.  Ten or so fans seemed to know the band?s music and were happily singing along but All That Remains did what they were supposed to do as the first act on a bill?open a few ears to their music but mostly to get people drinking. 

After a short twenty minute break, Throwdown appeared on stage and this is when things got interesting.  Throwdown was on last summer?s Ozzfest but I missed their set on purpose since hardcore just is not my thing.  Being the middle act on a three band bill, I was sort of forced into watching them this time around and my eyes were opened to a whole new world I never knew existed.  As the band hit the stage, a bunch of tough-looking dudes with no shirts on appeared on the floor and things got ugly FAST!  I have never seen such violence, aggression and apparent anger in one place before in my life.  Even a Slayer show seemed like a Sunday School picnic compared to what was unfolding before my eyes.  What I found most curious is the fact that these guys seemed to ENJOY beating the shit out of each other and were high-fiving each other between songs/spin kicks!  Their arms spun like windmills, intricate martial arts-like maneuvers were carried out flawlessly and circle pits formed like a marauding mob descending upon a hapless victim.  Now, mosh pits are found at most metal shows but this was just downright insane.  Maybe I?m na?ve, but going to a show to purposely maim each other is a concept lost on me and apparently this is perfectly normal behavior at a hardcore show.  One poor innocent female bystander actually got clocked under the chin by a flying elbow and went down like a ton of bricks.  She was out cold and was carried out as if nothing happened!

Pardon my digression but I feel it necessary to capture the mood set by Throwdown?s typical hardcore leanings?power, standing up for yourself and the brotherhood of strength in numbers (is it just me or can these types of bands not write about anything else?).  This was pure, old school hardcore and with the exception of the metalheads and clean-cut types who kept a safe distance away?one yelling ?Turn down the suck!? in rebuttal to another yelling ?Turn up the drums!??the fans were eating it up.  Throwdown?s thirty-minute set was filled with tracks from last year?s HAYMAKER release including ?Hopeless,? ?Forever,? ?Raise Your Fist? and a track from their forthcoming CD, VENDETTA, called ?Speak The Truth.?  Frontman Dave Peters certainly knows how to work a crowd and welcomed people to holler the lyrics into his microphone and leap from the stage much to the chagrin of the house security staff.  Peters had plenty of stage banter (including welcoming Mike and Paul from Darkest Hour who were in attendance as the band is in Vancouver recording their new CD with Devin Townsend) that kept things going and the crowd certainly seemed to respond well.  I?m the wrong person to be reviewing a hardcore act but the crowd seemed to dig Throwdown so we?ll leave it at that, shall we?

After a ridiculously long changeover, As I Lay Dying emerged from the shadows to a fired up crowd of around 150-200 people and unleashed a torrent of melodic metalcore culled from their two releases: 2001?s BENEATH THE ENCASING OF ASHES and 2003?s brilliant Metal Blade debut, FRAIL WORDS COLLAPSE.  Two new songs were also tested out from the band?s SHADOWS ARE SECURITY release coming in June 2005.  Vocalist Tim Lambesis is the ultimate frontman with dyed black shaggy hair, double-sleeved tattoos and sickly-looking pallor.  His connection with the crowd was instant and there was no denying who everyone was there to see.  Guitarists Phil Sgrosso and Nick Hipa delivered note-for-note renditions of the infectious riffs found on FRAIL WORDS COLLAPSE as tracks like ?94 Hours,? with its catchy opening, and the crunching sounds of ?Elegy? were presented with unbridled force.  Drummer Jordan Mancino is one of the best young drummers in metal today and witnessing his talent in such a small space was a treat to say the least.  His double bass is used effectively and his rhythms provide a solid backbone to the band?s music.  Bassist Clint Norris is a fireball of activity, running, headbanging and creating general mayhem on stage.  Even Lambesis barely stood still for more than a second, making photographing the band a challenge to say the least!  Despite all this energy, As I Lay Dying can still deliver a rousing melody on tracks like ?Forever? yet seamlessly switch to the awe-inspiring speed of ?Distance Is Darkness.?  Lambesis? vocal range is excellent on record and he delivers the goods in the live setting, as well.

Sadly, the band only played a thirty-minute set and inexplicably left the stage at 11:00PM after being called back for an encore (?The Innocence Spilled?).  Not sure what happened (club curfew perhaps??) but fortunately I will be catching them again this summer on Ozzfest.  This was my second time seeing As I Lay Dying (read my review from the In Flames/Killswitch Engage/As I Lay Dying show here) and I will be catching them again on Ozzfest this summer.  I was a late-comer to the band but As I Lay Dying is a great live act and the new album already has my mouth watering.   

What can I say about this show?  Three very different bands brought in a real mixed crowd but everyone played nice and the bands all did what they do well.  The ninety-minute round-trip drive for me (on a Tuesday night, no less) was a little difficult to justify given the ridiculously short set by the headliner who I was actually there to see but at the very least, I can say that I survived my first hardcore show and lived to tell about it!  Keep close, though, as Agnostic Front is in town in early May and we?ll see if I change my tune after that show!

***Thanks to Kelli at Metal Blade and Jamie at House of Blues for setting me up with the last-minute ticket and photo pass request.

As I Lay Dying?s official site

Throwdown?s official site

All That Remains? official site