I don't really know how to start this. After moving to Western Pennsylvania from Chicago, there's a disparity between the amount of concerts, and if this show is any indication of the concerts in Erie, then I don't think I'll be disappointed at all.
The Forward Hall in Erie is a small club, with a bar attached to its left side like a leech. The stage, if that, is a foot off the ground. At least there's a semblance of familiarity.
Up first was New Jersey's (and recent Ferret signees) the Banner. I didn't like their music, not that they didn't try. I expected greater things, remembering reading Anchors' wildly positive review and just thinkingā?¦is this it? Most of their tunes sounded like a slight deviation from the metalcore we've been hearing with barking, incomprehensible vocals, but their material off of Each Breath Haunted sounded more melodic and interesting, while still maintaining the tough guy image that the Banner seemed to project. If you like the Banner, then I can't see why you wouldn't like their live performance. They were performing with a new guitarist, which may explain the lack of cohesiveness exuded by the band. I know I'm making excuses for the Banner. I wanted to get into them, but I just wasn't feeling it.
Modern Life Is War (who was also touring with a fill-in guitarist) on the other hand, from the first note, had their fans in a stranglehold. If I told you that Modern Life Is War were extremely enthusiastic, then you'd get the wrong impression; if I told you that their bleak songs don't to transfer to a live setting, you'd get a different impression than what happened; if I told you that the singer (Jeff) screamed and moved like he caught fire, you'd get a different impression than what actually happened.
In plain English, though the band was on its 'A' game, Modern Life Is War's bleakness didn't come through because of the front row singing along. It's pretty hard to have a bleak, noir atmosphere when you're being piled on for a gang vocal chant. That said, as reported by many other attendees of Modern Life Is War shows, the guys unload energy like a baseball bat hitting a tennis ball.
Musically, the only reference point I can think of is the Suicide File except bleaker and with longer songs focusing much more on tragedy of small-town life rather than politics. They later admitted to be influenced by Tragedy.
Set list in order as much possible... "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S." was requested and played, but I forget exactly where in the set they put it.
- Martin Atchet
- By the Sea
- John and Jimmy
- Late Bloomers
- Young Man Blues
- Hair Raising Accounts of Restless Ghosts
With Honor's positive spirit musically only grew with the addition of a live audience, and Todd made more gang vocal parts for songs off of the new This Is Our Revenge, which sounds near-majestic live. Each of the guitarists seemed dialed into their music, and the drummer appeared rock solid on cymbal crashing. Perhaps why I enjoyed With Honor so much was because of the positivity of their material. Modern Life Is War is a hard act to follow, but somehow, With Honor managed to do it, not just by energy and a tight rendition of their material, but aided by their fans who were more familiar with their material.
Set list (from what I can remember, not in order):
- More Than Heroes
- Rethink, Return (opener, I believe)
- Like Trumpets
- Gun for Hire
- Small Dreams
- Two songs off of their first EP
- Plot Two
So I left. There was no local opener for me to miss. If any iteration of this tour should pass through where you live, I highly recommend you go.
Picture of Modern Life Is War's set list, minus "D.E.A.D.R.A.M.O.N.E.S."