Show Review: Chiodos, Our Last Night, Set it Off, All for Nothing @ The Masquerade 12.16.13

Boy does Atlanta, Georgia RULE and for many reasons. First off let me give you a quick back-story as to how I was able to see this amazing show. My band The Venetia Fair is on an east coast tour and it just so happened that we lost a tire on our trailer in GA on a day off and that same day off just so happened to be the same time and place that our friends Set it Off and Our Last Night were playing with Chiodos!

So, one reason why GA rules is because when we were broken down, we were offered far too much assistance including sandwiches, shelter and a lift to this show. We were saying that if this happened in Boston, you’d be lucky to not get spit on by a passing pedestrian.

The other reason GA rules is because there was a big show going on at The Masquerade which the majority of the kids came for Chiodos but they came when doors opened and brought a ton of energy not only for Chiodos, but also every single band that performed including the local opening act!

I was born and raised in NY and have been attending shows in NYC since I was old enough to ride a subway, and would you believe that this never happens in NY? Sadly 75% of the crowd comes for the band they want to see and then leaves, all the while showing their enthusiasm toward the band they came to see by standing completely still and looking bored which can easily be mistaken for “too cool for comfort”

FUCKING LIVE A LITTLE PEOPLE! Seeing these Georgia kittens not only care, but go crazy over music was really inspiring.

Setting: If you have never been to The Masquerade, let me give you a little run down. First of all the whole place gave me the vibe of a mid evil castle as you enter through a drawbridge like hallway. It turns out that this 24 year old establishment was a former DuPree Excelsior Mill building. As you walk in to the corridor you are faced with the option to go one of three directions. Left will take you into what is known as “Purgatory”. “Purgatory” is the small stage (200 cap) in a cement room draped in old gears and chandeliers. If you were to go straight and up the old iron spiral staircase you enter “Heaven”. “Heaven” is the largest stage of the building (1,000 cap). On this particular evening, Heaven held The Misfits, The Casket Creatures, Burns Like Fire and Full Net. The event pertaining to this review was held in what is known by the venue as “Hell”, the last and final direction being to the right and down. Are you catching their drift?

“Hell” is their middle sized room at 500 cap which although it was sold out, I thought it was a very intimate and perfect sized room for the magic that occurred.

The first act to kick off the evening was high energy pop-punk quintet that went by the name of All for Nothing. Although a few quirky harmonies at times and a few minor glitches, these kids really played their hearts out and it showed in the way the crowd was responding. Not to mention their drummer was hitting hard as hell despite the fact that he had a broken arm. Keep it up boys, I think this show was a really good thing for you guys.

The second act up were good friends of mine, Set It Off (Orchestral Pop Rock). If it weren’t for them I would have never been able to set foot in this sold out show. That said, I must say nice things about these guys and their performance, but fortunately it is extremely easy to do because in my eyes they were one of the highlights of the entire show.

The room was dimly lit as the stage lights were down while Dan, Zach, Austin and Maxx were doing some last minute tuning and arranging. There was an almost a white noise of chatter that filled the room as fans conversed in anticipation for the set. The few at the front of the stage were watching the members’ every move almost acting as attentive students in classroom. Finally the room is filled with the audio of an eerie segment of the Home Alone soundtrack. The stage lights rise as Cody runs up to greet the audience and the band is off into their first track being, “This Christmas (I’ll Burn It To The Ground)” which flowed very well from the soundtrack and was very suiting for the time of year. The energy through out the entire show was peaked as the band and the fans fed off each other. Code had the full attention of everyone as he seemed to look each and every one of them in the eyes as though singing an extremely life or death announcement. Guitars and basses were flying over shoulders without missing a note all the while Maxx (drummer) had an enormous smile on his face proving his love and comfort in what he was doing. The set over all was very natural and entertaining throughout. A must see if you’ve never heard of these boys.

Up next as direct support comes another band that are good friends of mine from sharing stages numerous times. They go by the name, Our Last Night (Post Hardcore). I had mixed feelings about this set and I think it’s because I had expected what I had seen and known from past shows of theirs, but got something completely different. Being that I’m old, I will describe an old scenario to compare. Remember when At the Drive-In broke up? Oh, you don’t? Yeah I’m 100 years old…at any rate. At the Drive-In was one of my favorite bands back in 2000 when they released ‘Relationship of Command’. When members of ATDI formed The Mars Volta in 2001 I expected to hear another ATDI record, and when I didn’t get that, I was kind of disappointed at first (for 20 seconds MAX) until I realized that the direction the band went was further exceeded ATDI musically and sonically. Don’t get me wrong, I will never stop loving ATDI and that’s kind of how I felt about Our Last Night at the show. I assumed my ears were going to bleed from the heaviness of their familiar songs and when the songs were abruptly catchy and extremely solid, my initial reaction was like “what the fuck?” but quickly changed to “oh fuck yes, I dig where this is going!”

Aside from front man, Trevor Wentworth’s ability to have full control over his performance while entertaining the crowd, I was extremely impressed with drummer Tim Molley’s performance. One of the best and most solid drummers I’ve come across in a long while and I’ve seen a lot of drummers! Unfortunately in the mix the toms were over powering the snare and kick, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The moment we’ve all been waiting for, the main event, the headlining act… Chiodos. I will tell you right off the bat that it’s impossible to put this energy and performance into words. It needs to be witnessed first hand in person. From personal performing and touring experience I think I have a decent grasp on telling what is contrived vs. what is sincere and I feel like front man Craig Owens couldn’t be more great full for everything that was/is occurring, from the band he’s in, to the fans of the band, to his life and the progress he has made reflecting on himself from past to present.

Maybe it’s because they had the longest amount of time to perform, but I felt that Chiodos had the best arch of dynamics and energy throughout their set out of all the bands this evening. There was a huge blast of energy in the beginning that gradually inclined up until the middle of the set where it dipped a bit with some more mellow tunes allowing the audience to breathe and digest the energy but from there kept inclining till the climax at the very end of the set (prior to the encore).

From the start to finish of their performance I was amazed at guitarist Thomas Erak’s ability to play extremely solid and with such accuracy while running around like a maniac. Not going to lie, I’m pretty out of the loop and knew I recognized Thomas from somewhere. It turned out that my old band Kiss Kiss did a bunch of dates with Fall of Troy back in 09’. It’s always nice to reconnect with fellow musicians 4 or 5 years later.

Overall I’d give the entire show a 7 out of 10! There were a few things that I wasn’t particularly into which include that fact that there were so many samples throughout the entire show. Not that I completely disagree with samples, but in this instance the house sound was mixed in this order for all bands from loudest to softest: Toms, samples, bass, kick, vocals, snare, keys, guitars. (give or take a little bit, and some bands didn’t have keys) so the samples were very frequent and apparent. Also, GUITARS MAKE SHOWS HEAVY!! What the hell, blast those so they sit just under the vocals Dad!! I think I can say for everyone that attended including myself that it was a phenomenal show all around and I wish all the best of luck and safe travels to all the bands as they wrap up this short tour!

XO – Mike Abiuso

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