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07/30/2009 Rancid, Billy Talent, Killswitch Engage, All That Remains, Whitechapel (Hamburg, NY @ The Agri-Center)

By Eric | July 31, 2009 5:13 pm

[I didn’t stay for Rise Against.]
I was able to swing working a day at the Fairgrounds, thus ensuring I was already at the venue, would be there in plenty of time, and had great parking! I strolled in line and walked in within 10 minutes, grabbed a hot dog and an overpriced beer, and chilled for a half hour while the stages were prepared. Stages plural, as this was the combination of two tours in one, so they simply set up one stage at either end of the Agri-Center. Plently of room, and the plan was to go two bands on one stage, two on the other, then the “headliners” on each opposite stage once again, in a 2-2-1-1 type arrangement. It didn’t quite work out that way, as we were about to find out. I commenced watching Whitechapel, the first band on the right hand stage. These heavy dudes from Knoxville, Tennessee were no-nonsense death metal, and while I’m sure they’re great within their genre, it ain’t for me. No harm, no foul. During the set change, Adam and Kristen walked in, and their timing was impeccable, as 5 minutes after their arrival, it was time for All That Remains. A short, sweet, half-hour set, in which the band had the crowd riled up the entire time. Opening with This Calling right into Chiron, everyone got down and dirty right away. Forever in Your Hands, Six, and Become the Catalyst followed, and they closed up with Two Weeks. The band sounded tight, Phil was nailing the vocals, and the crowd was into it the whole time. Tons of people were either there for them, or at least somewhat familiar; they got quite the crowd pop.

Two Weeks

At this point Adam and I got our breath back, met back up with Kristen and wandered around as Billy Talent started on the opposite stage. Started. About 2 or 3 songs into their punky, Green Day-ish set, they stopped playing, because the barricade in front of the stage broke. As in, split apart (see Staind @ The Sideshow, circa 2000). At first it was announced that they’d need a half-hour to fix it, and bear with them. Five minutes after that, the promoter got up and said that Killswitch Engage agreed to go on early, and they’d be up next, back on the other stage! Needless to say, there was a mad rush over to that stage, as we got geared up for KsE. It was actually better this way, because Adam and I got all of our bands out of the way right off the hop! No pun intended, Killswitch came out, and, well, killed. Coming out to the recorded intro to My Last Serenade, they then kicked into the song proper, and the place went nuts. People jumping, moshing, a couple pits, pandemonium. And they sounded *great*. Next was Starting Over, Fixation on the Darkness, Reckoning, and my favorite b-side, This Fire Burns. Already drenched with sweat, they didn’t let up on us at all, despite all of the guys rocking sleeveless t-shirt tuxedos (which they were also selling!). Continuing with Take This Oath and Rose of Sharyn, we finally got somewhat of a respite with Light In A Darkened World. A huge singalong ensued with A Bid Farewell, and then during Life To Lifeless, I swore I was about to lose a contact lens. I cut straight across the front of the stage with one hand over my eye, got to the edge of the crowd, blinked a million times, and didn’t lose it. A helpful security guard double-checked for me with his flashlight, confirmed it somehow stayed in, and I went right back into the center of the pit where I was! Just in time for My Curse, and the 2nd biggest crowd frenzy of the night in The End Of Heartache. The closer, and BIGGEST mosh of the night, belonged to Holy Diver. As I said, the guys killed. Had a better time than at Water Street a year or two ago, just in sound, song selection, the crowd, all of it. Speaking of the crowd, not one idiot around me at all, everyone was awesome, helping people up, not throwing random elbows, etc. Just having a good time.

This Fire Burns

Adam and I found Kristen *again*, caught our breath just as Billy Talent was re-starting their set on the other side. They got to finish this time, and the three of us hung towards the back for Rancid’s set as well.
Rancid is not a band I would probably ever see if not for a package deal like this one. Punk’s not my thing, but I know these guys are pretty much respected and have been around since 1991, so they have to be doing something right. I’m guessing Tim Armstrong isn’t heralded for his vocal prowess, but I’m also guessing that no one cares. It’s punk, it simply doesn’t matter. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves up on the stage, and the crowd reaction was strong for them as well. They played the handful of singles I’d heard of (Salvation, Roots Radicals, Time Bomb, Ruby Soho) and a bunch of other tunes that the crowd ate up. Still not my scene, but I was impressed. After this, I was beat, and since the show was going long due to the barricade situation, and since it was 11pm, we cut out, not staying for Rise Against. We got our money’s worth for the bands we came for, and had a great time.

Time Bomb

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