ALLENTOWN, Penn. — All That Remains was headlining, the ticket read, but there was nothing obvious about this from the way the crowd was acting throughout last Monday’s show at the Crocodile Rock CafÃ©. In fact, the concertgoers’ passion for all of the acts made it seem like they were all headliners, but in the end The Devil Wears Prada had the evening with its piercing sound and visceral refrains.
The show, which topped off the 2009 leg of the bicoastal Napalm and Noise Tour, started out with a performance from Story of the Year that was nothing like your sister’s Page Avenue album circa 2004. At first glance, Story of the Year seemed like the odd band out, but from the first note of ‘The Antidote” a casual observer could tell that they belonged on this tour. For every second of the band’s 30-minute set, the crowd was singing every word and dancing as if every song was the last song of the night. Anyone coming mid-set could have assumed by the crowd response that this band was the headliner.
But in spite of lead singer Dan Marsala’s willingness to interact with the audience at every chance he got, Story of the Year had to yield the spotlight to the first main attraction, which emerged following a 20-minute intermission, after the lights and the smoke machines were turned down. At that point, The Devil Wears Prada, which had made its way all the way from Dayton, Ohio, came to feed this sold-out hornet’s nest what it wanted: pure face melting.
The opening bands had clearly primed concertgoers, who seemed as if they were in fear for their lives, for the co-headlining act that only heightened the emotions at play. The incessant screaming of lead vocalist Mike Hranica, who seemed as if he was on the verge of a mental collapse, combined with monstrous guitar riffs and pounding drum beats drove the crowd into a fervor not seen very often. With little to no break between songs and a constant barrage of sound coming from all angles in a club that seemed to shrink as the circle pit grew, the set continued to electrify each and every audience member. No one could be satiated as the co-headliner barreled through 12 songs in an hour, and even those who would not consider themselves fans of this type of music would find themselves wanting more as the band left the stage, not realizing that the headliner was still to come.
Another 30-minute break built up to this stop’s headliner, All That Remains. Lead singer Phil Labonte walked out to greet the still screaming masses with a huge grin on his face, and members of the audience were more than overjoyed to express their collective happiness. This time, though, the crowd was not as large or intense as it had been for The Devil Wears Prada, possibly due to the fact that All That Remains, a strictly metalcore band, does not share the post-hardcore influences that the other three bands on the tour exhibit.
Even though they did seem like the odd band out, they still commanded a good deal of energy, throwing up the horns to keep the crowd going along for the entire set. The band played all of the fan favorites, from a few old school tunes to the tracks in the music videogames that are so popular today that have helped launch All That Remains to the mainstream. “This Calling” proved to be a special treat when the lead singers from Haste the Day and Story of the Year came out and sang during the chorus. The climax came with just prior to “Indictment” when the lead singer separating the crowd into two halves – the so-called “wall of death” – and instructing them to run full speed at each other when the first note of the song hit. And it was as every bit chaotic as it sounds.
For those who want to see these bands perform live, enjoyment comes at the expense of earplugs and checking your sanity at the door.