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06/15/2013 Drowning Pool, Eye Empire (Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall)

By Eric | June 17, 2013 9:42 pm

[Exilia, Even The Dead Love A Parade, Agressive Betty, AFR, and One Sweet Lie were also on the bill.]

Usually, shows at the Montage are completely slanted towards “later”. The locals usually go until 9:00-10:00 or so, then the national acts take over and play until midnight or later. So naturally, the one night we’re out in Buffalo a little later, and I don’t arrive until 9ish, is the night the nationals start earlier. I missed half of Eye Empire’s set, allegedly because (and this was posted on Montage’s Facebook page): “DP’s tour manager who made one of the local bands play AFTER Drowning Pool finished their set and who tried to make the venue have the locals go on at 6pm when there was only 2 of us standing at the doors LOL”. So after waiting 2+ years to see these guys (after a couple of false starts too), I missed the first four out of the nine they played, all songs I love, but hey, I got to see the other five. For performing in front of a rather small crowd, they didn’t lack for energy or enthusiasm at all. DC was belting everything out, Corey was beating his bass like a rented mule, BC was all over the place, dreads swinging, and Ryan was hitting the drums as hard as anything. The two new songs (Monday and War Isn’t Over) were great, and I got to completely rock out to I Pray, so all was not lost. The fun was just beginning, however…


Eye Empire setlist:
Great Deceiver
More Than Fate
Bull In A China Shop – got there during this
Angels and Demons
War Isn’t Over Yet
I Pray

This next part needs a little bit of background. As I said, I’d been waiting 2+ years to see Eye Empire. They’re a sort-of supergroup, as singer Don Carpenter was in Submursed, guitarist BC Kochmit was in Switched (and one of the last incarnations of Dark New Day, plus the ill-fated Violent Plan), and bass player Corey Lowery has done time with Switched, Stuck Mojo, Stereomud, and Dark New Day. They self released Moment of Impact back in December of 2010, and then I actually got to meet BC when he moonlighted for Sevendust that next month during Music as a Weapon. They then released the definitive version called Impact as a 2-disc set in June of 2012. This is all relevant to my review, because I brought my indie disc to get signed by the boys. I brought it up to BC, told him great show, long-time fan, etc. He first exclaimed, “Ok, a Doubledrive shirt? Wow!”. He then proceeded to make a joke about my air guitar playing during “I Pray” (completely warranted), and upon opening up my disc to sign it, he peeks under the disc to check out what number it was. I have #264 out of the first pressing of 1000. BC said that was one of the lowest numbers he’d seen out in the wild! (After admitting the band kept #1-10 and a couple other ones haha.) Since there weren’t a ton of people there, I pretty much got to shoot the bull with him, drummer Ryan Bennett, and Drowning Pool’s merch guy for quite awhile. I mentioned meeting him at the Sevendust show, and he goes “Holy shit… I definitely remember you, you were the only person that came through the meet and greet at any of the shows and mentioned Eye Empire!” BC’s an awesome guy, and half the discussion wasn’t even about music, rather computer stuff! But the music part was very enlightening to me, as I got to ask stuff that the standard interviewers never do, and BC wasn’t shy about the answers! We even got up to the bar to do a shot out of blinking, light-up shot glasses. Now there’s a gimmick. I got to chat with bass player Corey Lowery briefly as well, who also was like, “DoubleDrive? That’s old school!” (It should be noted that Corey played with 1/2 of Doubledrive, Donnie Hamby and Troy McLawhorn in Still Rain, and Troy was in Dark New Day as well.) Super friendly dudes, can’t say enough about them. So despite missing half the set of the band I came to see, I think hanging out with BC more than made up for it!

2013-06-15 Eye Empire @ Montage
2013-06-15 Eye Empire @ Montage
2013-06-15 Eye Empire @ Montage

But lest you think I have the market cornered on band dedication, check out the artwork on this guy! I actually took this picture with BC’s phone!

Oh yeah, there was the headliner yet to play! Drowning Pool has kinda done the Spinal Tap thing, only with singers. Current frontman Jason Moreno is singer number four, after the untimely passing of Dave Williams, then his replacement, then the dude from Soil (who apparently is a less-than-stellar person from multiple accounts). But Moreno definitely has “it” as a frontman. He sounded good, did the old stuff just as well as the new stuff he’s a part of, and worked the still-smallish crowd well. This was DP show number 4 for me, I got to see them way back in the day (2001) in Buffalo (before Sinner was even out), once more at K-Rockathon later that year, then not again until Cruefest in 2009. I was talking to BC during the first half of the set, and then I wandered into the main room to watch the second half. The band sounded pretty good, the people that were there got into it, and predictably, everyone went nuts for Bodies at the end. Their set was a pretty good mix of old and new, and while I’ve never been an uber-fan, it was fun for what it was. “I wanna live my life like it’s Saturday night”, indeed!

Drowning Pool setlist:
Step Up
Die for Nothing
37 Stitches
Tear Away
One Finger and a Fist
Saturday Night
Feel Like I Do

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