On Tuesday evening, young and old hard rock and metal fans in Charlotte, North Carolina, packed The Fillmore music venue for the 2013 HardDrive Live and Monster Energy Outbreak Tour. The tour is headlined by Bullet For My Valentine, with direct support from Black Veil Brides and opening acts Stars in Stereo and Throw the Fight.
American alternative rock band Throw the Fight promptly and loudly kicked off the evening at 6:30pm. The five piece group was founded in Minnesota in 2003 and now consists of members James Clark (vocals), Ryan Baustert (guitar), Jonathan Sutton (guitar), Kyle Glidden (bass) and Jeff Baustert (drums). Throw the Fight released their second studio album What Doesn't Kill Us in June, last year. They were a part of the 2007 Warped Tour and 2008 Taste of Chaos Tour, and have shared the stage with numerous other national acts. Despite being the opening band and having a shorter set list, Throw the Fight brought a great sound and stage presence.
Following Throw the Fight, the stage was illuminated with LED stage decorations by relatively new California native band Stars in Stereo. The rock band was formed in 2011 with member line up: Bec Hollcraft (vocals), Jordan McGraw (guitar), Frogs McCormack (bass) and Drew Langan (drums). Their debut self-titled studio album was released on April 9, this year. The band brought a highly invigorated attitude to the stage and Hollcraft easily captivated the crowd with her entrancing vocals.
Much of the younger members of the audience maneuvered their way closer to the stage during the short intermission between Stars in Stereo and Black Veil Brides. The seven year old band is closely associated with their 1980's glam metal inspiration of black makeup, war paint, wild hair and studded clothing, though they have slightly toned down their look in recent years. Despite being a Golden God Award winning band with a vast and loyal following, they have also received harsh criticism for their appearance, including from metal band All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte. Black Veil Brides vocalist Andy Biersack made a few comments throughout their set that indirectly addressed the possibility of "haters" in the crowd, but seemed candid and thanked them for sticking through their set. Biersack is accompanied by members Ash Purdy (bass), Jeremy "Jinxx" Ferguson (guitar), Jake Pitts (guitar) and Christian "CC" Coma (drums). The group of five raised the energy of the night to a whole other level as they constantly swapped spots on stage and made faces at the crowd. Die hard fans sporting face paint and wild hair-do's to mirror the band were scattered about; rockfists and crowd surfing were a constant throughout Black Veil Brides nine song set. Highlights included a cover of hardcore punk band Misfits "Fiend Club" and their intense set closing with the Revolver 2013 Song of the Year winner "In The End".
Some of the younger crowd cleared out after Black Veil Brides left the stage, but they were quickly replaced with a somewhat less eccentric group of fans for Welsh headliners Bullet for My Valentine. The room filled with expectant shouts as Slayer's "Raining Blood" blared through the venue. Assuredly, members Matthew "Matt" Tuck (vocals), Michael "Padge" Paget (guitar), Michael "Moose" Thomas (drums) and Jason "Jay" James (bass) filled the empty spaces behind the mics on stage. A remarkable light show ensued with the quartet opening their set with "Breaking Point", the first song on their February album release Temper Temper. The crowd was invigorated as James provided heavy screams in a stark, yet complimentary contrast to Tuck's vocals. Their set continued with numerous singles from Bullet for My Valentine's additional three studio albums, woven in with a mix of other songs off Temper Temper. After the tenth song of their set, Paget took the spotlight over with a rapturous guitar solo. He was rejoined by his comrades for "Scream Aim Fire" before they all momentarily ducked off stage. Despite a few audience members taking this as a cue that the show was over, the more concert savvy fans persisted in shouting demands for Bullet for My Valentine. The band returned to the stage to play a four song encore, ending the night with one of their most popular songs and their 2006 Kerrang! Best Single award winner, "Tears Don't Fall". A handful of lucky fans were tossed guitar picks, drum sticks and setlists from the band members before they bid farewell to Charlotte for the night.
Bullet for My Valentine was one of the bands featured on the Carolina Rebellion festival lineup earlier this year. They will continue on the HardDrive Live/Outbreak Tour until it comes to a close on November 3, in Portland, Maine. After that, they will set out for another tour in England. Bullet for My Valentine consistently delivers an interactive stage presence with brilliant sound - always a show worth going to. Check out their tour dates and be sure not to miss them!