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Headliners Emmure Kill It on The Mosh Lives Tour

 

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By Alyce Hayes

For a Wednesday night, you couldn’t do much better than a metal show that starts before dinner.  At 6pm, the line at Mojoes in Joliet, IL was around the block as fans (most of whom looked like they were barely out of high school) waited eagerly for the doors to open.

Emmure (13)The Mosh Lives tour was in town, and the line-up showed promise for those looking to get a bit physical in the pit. Despite my intense urge to run away from the revved up teens (talk about environmental birth control), I stuck around to catch the headliner, Emmure, because I’d never had the chance to see them live. The New York based metalcore band formed in 2003 in Connecticut and since then, taking some stylistic cues from the nu metal bands of the 90s, have earned an extremely dedicated fan base.  Singer Frankie Palmeri’s lyrical content mixes subjects like breakups, social issues and religion with comic book and video game references.  Whether or not the latter in particular influences the number of underage fans is open to speculation, but the band’s live show won me over ~ even at my ripe old age ~ with its sound quality, tightness and headbanging-inspiring gusto.

Mosh LivesIn fact, all of the bands who played that night contributed to the tour living up to its name. There was crowd surfing in the front and moshing in the back through every opening band’s set. Sworn In, hardcore band local to the Grayslake area, kicked off the show at 7pm. Next up was Gideon, a melodic hardcore band with a really solid sound. They had a great energy and elicited an uber-enthusiastic crowd response, although I was distracted by the abundant use of bass drops. I couldn’t tell if the band just really liked them or were trying to hit the frequency that would make the audience shit itself (yes, it does exist). But those two openers in no way prepared me for the next group of guys, Thy Art is Murder. While their music was decent, I couldn’t understand a single word coming out of the vocalist’s mouth. It all sounded like a cross between Cookie Monster and a velociraptor learning to pronounce its vowels.

All was forgiven when Volumes took the stage, though ~ by then, the crowd was almost at headliner size. The band has two vocalists and they had no problem keeping the audience on its feet. Their progressive metal sound is hard to forget, and you could definitely tell the band is passionate about their music. 

Good for power shotVolumes was a perfect precursor to Emmure’s set. Before the headliners could take even three steps onto the stage, the crowd was already screaming. And by the first downbeat, the screaming had escalated and elbows were flying. I felt pity for the vertically challenged (myself included) whose heads and shoulders were constant casualties. Since this was my first live Emmure show, I stayed against a wall. I was writing on my hand during half the set, and the idea of a ballpoint pen through the palm was a little too brutal for me.

As I watched all the hardly-legals bob their heads, grab their crotches and throw a hand up in unison, I couldn’t help but think of the infamous Juggalos and Juggalettes of ICP fandom. And with everyone waving their middle fingers in the air, I thought maybe I had fallen into a Limp Bizkit concert, but with, well, you know, better music. And when it comes to music, I fully admit to being a girl with simple tastes. Give me a good chord progression and don’t make the verse and chorus sound exactly the same.  Add in some dissonant chords and a decent cut-time breakdown that features a little more bass and I’m set. Emmure’s set was like a check-list of my musical must-haves…and then some. Their music packs a lot of heat, and frontman Frankie’s screams, with their rap-style cadence, fit in perfectly.

Emmure (12)The newest song, “Nemesis,” off their soon-to-be-released album, was a fan favorite that night, and rightfully so. My only criticism? They really seem to dig breakdowns, which is great, but sometimes they, like the metal bands who use too many bass drops (looking at you, Gideon) or musicians who write the same song 4 times but in different keys (Nickelback, anyone?), wind up with songs that sound a bit too similar.  Some people would argue, though, that if you like a band’s sound, that kind of repetition is part of the appeal in an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of way.     

Emmure (5)So with my one criticism out of the way: Emmure appreciate their fans, no question about it, and the feeling is mutual. The band says “Jump,” and the Jugga… ~ I mean, fans ~ happily ask, “How high?”  There was no lack of enthusiasm on either side, and the back-and-forth energy kept the place rocking through the entire set.

Unlike some groups who remain relatively stationary while performing (boring!), each and every member of Emmure made full use of the stage, moving around the space and making connections with each other as well as with the audience. It’s refreshing to see that level of performance quality/stage presence when some bands have a tendency to play without acknowledging the audience or without putting on a true performance, opting instead to simply play their instruments and rely on the popularity of their hits.  I give major props to any band who can pull off such a fierce live show without sacrificing the quality of their sound or giving off a bored vibe as the night wears on. Emmure are showmen who maintain that “band of and for the people” quality that will earn them even more fans with each intense show they play.

Emmure (7)

Both onstage and on EP, Emmure gives off the kind of attitude that could spark a riot ~ it’s not quite as potent (yet) as Rage Against the Machine’s was, but more along the lines of Ice-T’s “Cop Killa” (the fact that Frankie donned a “Cop Killa” T-shirt that night did not influence this observation). These guys have the ability to incite the uncontrolled berserker in us all that devastates everything in its path.  And when you’re headlining a tour called The Mosh Lives, that’s a very good thing.

Emmure will be releasing their sixth full-length album, Eternal Enemies, on April 15, and you’ll want to get yourself a copy. You can (and should) catch them live, too, on the conclusion of this tour:

Emmure (15)

4/01 – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls

4/03 – Sauget, IL @ Pop’s

4/04 – Columbus, OH @ Alrosa Villa

4/05 – Springfield, VA @ Empire

4/06 – Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock

4/17 – Worcester, MA @ New England Metal and Hardcore Fest

4/27 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome To Rockville

 

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All photos by Julie Williams

3 Comments

  1. Ms. Hayes u r The Shit Stella You Found Your Groove!

  2. Wow! Your commentary was tight and concise, even lyrical

  3. The article is excellently written .The writer has an unmatched writing skill that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Her wit was exciting and refreshing. A joy to peruse !

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