WJJO and HardDrive Radio brought the 2013 HardDrive Live tour to the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wis., on Oct. 10. Welsh rockers Bullet For My Valentine headlined a mixed lineup that also included Black Veil Brides, Stars in Stereo and Throw the Fight.
Almost exactly three years after Bullet For My Valentine had to cancel their October 2010 tour date at the same venue due to vocalist Matt Turk's vocal issues, they returned in full force in support of "Temper, Temper." Though the Orpheum did not reach capacity--the upper balcony remained closed--fan participation was strong for both BVB and BFMV.
While the pairing of the two main acts seemed odd given their different styles, it was a brilliant marketing move. The crowd was evenly divided between younger BVB fans and an older, more hardcore base for the headliners. Both bands were shown plenty of support from their fans. The general admission crowd near the stage cleared out after BVB, only to be quickly filled by another group of fans.
Bullet opened with a heavy one-two punch of "Breaking Point" followed by "Your Betrayal" to get their set started in high gear. Their dual assault of Matt Tuck's clean vocals and bassist Jason James guttural screams provided a stark contrast that goes beyond harmonies. Tuck and Michael Paget combined complementary guitar work that tied crunchy riffs and intricate lead breaks into catchy hooks that rattle your head. Toss in an in-your-face stage presence and full crowd participation quickly ensued.
Considering there were four bands on the evening's bill, Bullet still performed around 13 songs over 75-minutes including a handful from "Temper." Songs featured from the new album, in addition to "Breaking Point," were "Riot," "Dirty Little Secret," and the title-track. Bullet's sound was a little muddy, mostly due to drummer Michael Thomas being mixed a little louder than the rest of the band. However, they sounded great compared to the awful mix during Black Veil Brides' set. Brides sounded garbled from the start, though also they seemed to get louder as their show progressed--perhaps due to some tweaking from the board. Vocalist Andy Biersack did give a shout-out to their "new sound guy" while noting it was his first night on the tour. They've sounded much better in the past.
Remaining HardDrive Live tour dates:
Oct. 11 - The Pageant - St. Louis, Mo.
Oct. 12 - The Fillmore - Detroit, Mich.
Oct. 14 - House of Blues - Cleveland, Ohio
Oct. 15 - LC Pavilion - Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 16 - Freedom Hall - Lancaster, Pa.
Oct. 18 - The Paramount - Huntington, N.Y.
Oct. 19 - The Dome - Wallingford, Conn.
Oct. 20 - Mid Hudson Civic Center - Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Oct. 22 - Starland Ballroom - Sayerville, N.J.
Oct. 24 - House of Blues - Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Oct. 25 - UFC Arena - Orlando, Fla.
Oct. 26 - MidFlorida C.U. Amphitheatre - Tampa, Fla.
Oct. 28 - Tabernacle - Atlanta, Ga.
Oct. 29 - The Fillmore - Charlotte, N.C.
Oct. 30 - Norva Theatre - Norfolk, Va.
Nov. 1 - Hampton Beach Casino - Hampton Beach, N.H.
Nov. 2 - Metropolis - Montreal, Quebec
Nov. 3 - State Theater - Portland, Maine