When I heard that I Am the Avalanche was going to be returning to Forward Hall (Erie, PA represent!), I nearly shit myself. They played last Novemeber with the Honorary Title and Waking Ashland and totally killed it. Vinnie Caruana is one of the best front-men in the history of pop/punk/emo, and his post-Movielife band lives up to the former's greatness. Needless to say, when my friends and I got on the floor for the first band, I was pumped.
The first band of the night was a local act, Ballast & Anchor. I'd seen them once before and was thoroughly impressed. They played a five-song set, and it was phenomenal. Their sound falls somewhere between At the Drive-In and the Fall of Troy (sans most of the screaming). They'll be releasing an EP by the end of June, one I'm definitely picking up.
The second act was Shame in the Design, a hardcore/metal band. They stuck out like a sore thumb, being the only band resembling something hardcore. Their set was decent at best, but seemed to lack any real feeling. This, again, could be attributed to the fact they were playing for the wrong audience.
Band number three was Knife Fight the World. Their style was that of a more aggressive blend of melodic punk and emo. A few pits broke out during their set, and they had a loyal patch of fans (three or four emo kids) that sang along with every word. Good, but not great.
The penultimate band was Signal Home. This is the first show I'd seen of theirs since they signed to Carbon Copy Records (A Fragile Constitution due out this August!!). They had always put on good shows, but today's performance seemed a bit more...professional. They played their hearts out, wowing people who had no clue who they were and pleasing fans alike.
Some of their songs included:
- A Fragile Constitution (opener)
- Red Auxiliary Lights
- Scenes of Change
- Siren Sound
Finally, after all the anticipation, Vinnie and crew stepped on stage and introduced themselves. Within seconds, the opening riff of "Dead and Gone" is coming from the speakers, and it's fucking on. Even though their crowd was smaller this time around, they played better than I had remembered.
In between songs, Mr. Caruana would banter a bit, once giving us the meaning behind the title of their aggressive new track, "Polar Beasts." Apparently, while they were filiming a video, a friend of theirs was completely smashed, and getting taken away by the authorities for uriniating in the mailboxes of an apartment building nextdoor. As he was being dragged off Vinnie asked, "What should we name the new song,?" which they had just performed. In response he yelled "'Polar Beasts!'"
In total, the band played nine songs, including a supposed live rarity, "Clean Up," and closed with the anthemic "I Took a Beating." As they got offstage they invited the crowd to stick around and chat a bit. My girlfriend grabbed Vin's autograph and I talked to him for a bit. He's an incredilbly down to earth, cool guy, a lot nicer than you would expect him to be. (I also tried to remain as cool and collected as possible, trying to not come off like an idiot, considering he's an idol of mine.)
They played (in order):
- Dead and Gone
- New Disaster
- This Is Dungeon Music
- Polar Beasts
- Clean Up
- My Second Restraining Order
- I Took a Beating