Photos by: Dhruv Kumar
Words by: Kunal Singh
One of New York City’s most beloved homes for the avid concert goer. This day was set to be the sweet release for not only fans of Hardcore and Metal, but for the very performers themselves.
As the night began to unfold by the West Side Highway, fans were lined up outside, a food truck on the corner and the venue doors wide open all came together to create a buzz on this otherwise unassuming side street. The fans were ready. Vein shirts, After The Burial patches, Parkway Drive hoodies (I love mine, by the way), and Killswitch graphic tees were all one could see. Terminal 5 had a capacity crowd, and as we headed to the press area, people are throwing fists in the air, dancing, and getting ready for a Thursday Throwdown.
Parkway Drive’s team was setting up the stage, and in a call back to their previous New York outting at the Knockdown Center, they had Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” playing on the house system. There’s simply nothing quite like metalheads, hardcore kids, and old school rockers all screaming the chorus to a Bon Jovi tune.
The lights go dim, and the crowd is now piqued for Parkway Drive. The air is hot, the room is tight, and the band is ready. Parkway opens up with “Wishing Wells” and that first minute is a build of pure tension and readiness. “UNTIL I’M DONE” billows through Terminal 5 from front man Winston McCall, and it is immediately a sea of fans jumping, screaming along, and getting lost in the music. “Prey” off their album Reverence immediately follows, and the crowd is jumping along welcoming the newer material. Guitarists Luke Kilpatrick and Jeff Ling are timed perfectly together, as the celebratory and victorious guitar anthems and rhythms are playing off of each other.
Following a thank you to the audience, and the first of many crowd interactive moments and directives, Parkway then unleashes in “Carrion” from their Horizons album which is a crowd favorite. “Vice Grip” off their Ire album then plays. Again, their signature sound of anthemic guitar melodies and progressive elements does more than “keep the flame alive,” as it brings a new level of energy to this crowd of die-hard faithful. In addition to the chorus of “yeah, yeah yeah!” carried by the audience, the light show is also an impressive one. Though the fog machines were a bit heavy, from the VIP area above the GA floor, the lighting was quite brilliant. This song, in particular, was carried by the audience, with incredible attention to pocket and rhythm by bassist Jia O’Connor and percussionist Ben Gordon. Another display of joy from the audience and Parkway themselves. Many times, front man Winston was pouring out his love for the audience as he exclaimed this was the biggest crowd they’ve played for in New York City. This night was theirs to share and made this concert more than just a bunch of people playing songs on a stage. It was surprisingly intimate for this sized audience.
As the night went on, the energy was reciprocated from stage to floor and back again. It was towards the second half of the set, when Winston addressed the crowd in a statement of unity, saying we all have a head on our shoulders and we are all people just the same. He then said to use that head, and head-bang through the night, raises our hands in the air, and give them “Absolute Power,” for the night. Parkway Drive absolutely owned this night, and in my opinion, they stole the stage. The high point may very well have been “Wild Eyes” off of Atlas. It was certainly the song that I most connected with, along with the dedicated crowd surrounding me.
The headliners, Killswitch Engage took to the stage after the amazing performance by Parkway Drive. The stage was immediately lit up with yet another impressive light show as KSE tore into “This Fire” and commanded the audience from the jump. This was a well-deserved homecoming for the New York natives, and it was apparent they were psyched to be in town. Among the first few songs, “Rose of Sharyn” and “The End of Heartache” Jesse Leech told everyone he’s going to need their help due to him being congested and overall a bit sick. There were some antics on stage about how exactly he got sick, but let’s just say you if you were privy to the conversation, you’d have had a good laugh. Far be it for me to talk about what people do with truckers and throats.
Amongst the madness and deafening audience participation, KSE played a nonstop assault of double bass and killer riffs. The show itself got to a fever pitch as the mesmerizing light show and sonic barrage hit for “Always” and “My Last Serenade” to the New York faithful. Among more thanks to the audience and more love pouring out, the band led yet another charge of this high adrenaline-fueled night as they powered through 15 songs with a 16th closer. After “Strength of the Mind” the band endeared itself to the crowd and gave a final goodbye with their phenomenal cover and tribute to the late Ronnie James Dio, and performed their love letter version of “Holy Diver” as the show came to a gratifying and heart-pounding close.
Rose of Sharyn
The End of Heartache
Fixation on the Darkness
Take This Oath
A Bid Farewell
No End in Sight
Hate by Design
My Last Serenade
In Due Time
Strength of the Mind
Holy Diver (Dio cover)