Photos by: Dhruv Kumar
Words by: Kunal Singh
As part of a tour with special guests Polaris opening up the show, The Devil Wears Prada played an electrifying set. The Dayton, Ohio band did their thing over the course of 8 high adrenaline songs, each pumping out solid drumming, excellent vocal work, and wonderfully rich chordal stacking. Very few bands of this genre utilize a keyboard player, and they’ve found a way to make it work. TDWP made a great impact on the crowd, as each song was met with cheers and full respect from the Queen’s audience. Their set list included songs from their 2009 With Roots Above and Branches Below, release to their most recent 2016 effort Transit Blues.
The stage was then being set up for another hard-hitting band, in none other than August Burns Red. Their lighting rig was being set up, as the ABR logo was lowered from the lighting rig, bringing along chants from the awaiting audience of “ABR!, ABR!” The scene was being set for a gauntlet of music. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania natives took to the front of the stage with a searing performance kicking off with “King of Sorrow” to much avail from the Queens crowd. From there, the strobes hit as “Martyr” and “Invisible Enemy” followed after a brief introduction between the two songs took place. ABR then took slightly more deliberate pace with “Composure” as their 4th song. The crowd began to circle up, and the energy was pumping ever higher. The 2017 release “Dangerous” was their next choice, and that was a major hit with the audience. The Latin-inspired break in the song, with the precision guitar tapping riff, was an excellent display of musicianship. The audience was dancing to the music with the frontman himself, Jake Luhrs. Jake is truly a standout frontperson for this melodic metalcore band, as his interactions with the audience and his absolute glee were glaring through, the entire set. The band then introduces “Empire” and the crowd begins to jump and bounce on the beat with the song, as commanded by the band. The impressive double bass blasts were noteworthy from this performance. The pace slowed down a bit like the beginning of “Ghosts” echoed throughout The Knockdown Center. The audience was clearly mesmerized as the swaying back and forth dominated the beginning until the verse hit and then the arms started flying. The band said it’s goodbyes as they performed “The Frost” to a roaring crowd, as the guitar work beckoned the ending of the show. The onslaught of metalcore purity then hit, as the audience was in full force for the rest of the song. The band then closed with “White Washed” from their 2009 offering Constellations. The musicianship and energy from this band were received and respected fully by everyone in the building. A truly great showing for this hard-working, hard-hitting band.
The lights dim, and the background intro music hits. One minute later, Parkway Drive takes to the stage. This isn’t some massive arena; this is a warehouse in Queens. Every step is visible to the audience, and the crowd erupts into cheers. The band immediately goes into “Wishing Wells” and the lights flash green and throughout the dark warehouse. It’s an all-out release as the band plows sound through the Queens crowd. “Prey” immediately follows as the energy does not dip at all, keeping with the high-intensity performance.
After a brief hello, the band announces “Carrion” is next, and the singing along resumes. Now, the initial hit is over and the crowd surfing begins. The crowd is still jumping and the fists are in the air, as the excellent guitar tone drives the song. Anthemic as the song is, the crowd roars as it comes to a close. “Vice Grip” and “Dedicated” follow, and at this point, the circle pits have formed. The all-out energy from this NY crowd is contagious, as you feel it yourself, and the band proudly takes this synergy and runs with it. The night is still young, as the tiny breaks in the music and audience interactions do nothing to diminish the vibe.
“Cemetery Bloom” begins, as the dark warehouse is illuminated with only deep, purple lighting. The hush over the venue is eerily comforting and the quiet feels warm. A fixed position on stage captures the audience imagination and the lush tone of the song envelops the night. It is truly a testament to the performance, as a high point is reached during a very low song. This band is for real, and the audience is dedicated to their every beat.
The return to old-school metal and hard rock washes the audience as “The Void” makes its non-apologetic straight-ahead sound. This was one of my favorite parts of the show. Simply put, this was a kick-ass no-nonsense tune, expertly timed during the set. “Idols and Anchors” then rings out, with that unmistakable guitar lead, that drives the beginning of this piece through the hits and opens the gate to a circle pit of frantic movement, and the crowd is ignited once more, during that first scream into the verse.
“Karma” starts with that excellent drum intro, the hits are synced perfectly with the strobes and LEDs as the crowd surfing and moshing carries on. This song was fueled by incredibly powerful screams as the band showed zero signs of slowing down. Once again, the hardcore breakdowns and the straight-ahead metal mix is exactly what this show was demanding. “Dead Man’s Chest” followed and the crowd went nuts as the assault of sound and grating guitar made this song tear through the sea of fans. The band then thanked the audience as they played the set finale “Wild Eyes” to an incredibly thankful audience.
The encore songs were as celebratory as they were powerful. Parkway Drive ended with love, thank yous, and adoration for this NY crowd of loyal fans with their anthems “Crushed” which had the audience chanting with them, and that wonderful guitar line playing, and they ended with “Bottom Feeder” as the crowd thanked the band with every ounce of energy possible. Truly a great night in NY.