Who: Parkway Drive, Set Your Goals, The Ghost Inside, The Warriors, Local Opener
Where: House of Blues Cleveland
On an interesting winter night in Cleveland, the House of Blues filled to its capacity for Parkway Drive and the tour featuring hardcore bands the Ghost Inside and the Warriors along with the pop punk band Set Your Goals. There was also a local opener for the evening; however, due to issue beyond my control (not because I was not at the venue) I missed the first two bands completely. So, my look at the night will start midway through the evening and while it may have taken longer than anticipated to make it inside, the night proved to be worth it.
The Ghost Inside was the third band to play and had an energy-filled set. Their set included a mix of both new and old songs. They played a good amount of their latest release, Returners. Cleveland proved to have quite a big following for GI despite the fact they are from California. The crowd singing the words to songs and moshing throughout seemed to really feed the band as they were energetic the whole set. For people in attendance that have not seen GI before, it was a great first impression as we could not help but enjoy their presence. GI plays a brand of hardcore music that flirts at times with the punk side, but overall is closer to the metal side like Terror and Madball. Their set was a success as they had a strong following of fans while gaining new ones, most likely. The crowd was moving around and it created for a good atmosphere in anticipation of the headliner.
Set Your Goals were the second to last band to play and their style is pop punk with a hardcore mentality. They are catchy while at the same time bringing an overall feel of a hardcore band. Think a mashup of New Found Glory, Gorilla Biscuits, the Movielife, and Kid Dynamite. Their set included songs off their first EP, Reset, Mutiny, and This Will Be the Death of Us. They even included a new song called, Start the Reactor that will be on their up-coming full length, Burning at Both Ends for Epitaph Records. The overall sound was pretty good.
All the guitars and drums sounded full and clear. The vocals were mic’d fine, but as a fan of the band I don’t think it was either Jordan Brown or Matt Wilson’s best performance. I just remember them sounding better live the last time I saw them than what was on display this night. However, I am okay with the vocals being off because it pretty much unrealistic to expect a touring band’s vocals to be on every night when the slightest thing can negatively impact the voice. Also, the off-night proves that the band is real and are not faking it. Overall, I was pleased with what I witnessed and thought they played a good set, not a great one. They even won some metalheads over, which can sometimes be a difficult task.
Parkway Drive finally took the stage to chants of “Park! Way! Drive!” repeating with no let up. They came out playing a set that mostly consisted of the second full length, Horizons but also featured some off Killing With a Smile and their most recent release, Deep Blue. Everything sounded great as it looked like the band’s tour manager was in control of the boards. Front man Winston McCall was on key live this evening. His range is pretty incredible and in my opinion sounds better live than on record because you can see him giving everything he has. Every time I have seen them live, Winston along with the rest of the band sounds great live. It is astonishing at how effortless guitarists Luke Kilpatrick and Jeff Ling make their parts look. While Parkway Drive is a metal band, they feel like a punk band live for some reason.
The mood was kept fun as midway through their set, the band kicked three beach balls into the crowd while everyone was singing and or moshing. The crowd was relentless and you could tell the band was appreciative and feeding off of that. The better part of the crowd knew the words to every song, which adds to the atmosphere. The band closed the evening with their encore for the song Carrion, which is my favorite song by them. Being the first time I had heard it live, it made it extra special to hear the soaring guitar riffs in person.
Despite the problems getting into the venue, the show was awesome! One would be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend an evening when the weather is so awful. Really makes you forget about the snow storms and the flash floods real quick when you can take in some several good bands in a live setting. I know we don’t cover a lot of heavier music, but Parkway Drive are bunch of really good musicians that write surprisingly catchy music for its style. They also happen to be some of the more sincere musicians in the overall scene as they are very appreciative of what they have and don’t seem to take their success (especially in Australia) for granted.