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Hometown Heroes

Friday, June 2, 2006

August Burns Red / Between the Buried and Me / The Number Twelve Looks Like You / Countdown to Hour Zero

The Chameleon Club, Lancaster, PA

The last time I saw the headlining band, August Burns Red, aka the city of Lancaster’s hometown heroes, I left three quarters of the way through their set due to the ignorance of several presumably underage smokers. I could insert a long rollicking story here about the perils of engaging in cancer-promoting behavior, especially when underage, but that would be misplaced and preachy. And preachy is not what the IC is about. Unless, that is, you listen to bad music- then we may preach a bit. But enough about that; more about the show.

According to their myspace page, the first band, Countdown to Hour Zero have since broken up, so that would probably make it slightly- well- dumb to review their performance. However, I’m feeling less than intelligent this evening, so I will say that their lead singer was rather charismatic, and the guitarists talented. However, they tended to merely play the same tired old riffs present in nearly every hardcore band today. If they would have not broken up, they could have potentially become a relatively decent band. The Number Twelve Looks Like You were just as excellent as I had anticipated them to be: hitting the audience with a double vocal threat and all the intensity one would expect based on their CDs. Crazy guitar parts and general chaos were accompanied by stage diving and crowd surfing from both vocalists; making for a lot of audience involvement.

Next was Between the Buried and Me, who are in my opinion one of the most innovative metal / hardcore bands currently touring today. Their live performance was slightly less energetic than that of The Number Twelve, but given the complexity and incredible musicianship of their music, this was both expected and not a disappointment in any way. What the main instrumentalists may have lacked in stage presence was made up for by the intensity of the vocalist, who easily swung back and forth between a brutal growl to an almost angelic and soothing singing voice.

August Burns Red headlined this show because of their hometown status, and while not the headlining band on the rest of the tour, they were probably the best band to play. Perhaps it was the loving reception of their adoring families and friends from home, or the fact that I actually BOUGHT their cd and listen to it non-stop, or that I have a special place in my heart for them because the guitarist JB attended my college last year, but ABR ruled. RULED. Their synchronized head banging and guitar thrashing was impressive, as was pretty much everything about their performance. If you’d like to see a lesser-known metalcore band that offers up an amazing brand of heavy hitting, lyrically strong hardcore and metal with catchy riffs, this is not a band to miss. Actually, neither are any of the other bands mentioned in this review. Except for the one that broke up. Obviously.

-Allison Frank