Metalcore veterans August Burns Red are currently on a co-headlining tour with Prog metal quintet Between the Buried and Me (BTBAM). The tour stopped at the Regency Ballroom in (not-so) sunny San Francisco recently and this reviewer was lucky enough to attend.
After a brief set from opening act Good Tiger, the recently Grammy-nominated group August Burns Red took the stage, jumping right into new material. Throughout the majority set the band performed both classics and tracks from their recent 2015 release Found In Far Away Places.
The highlight of the performance had to be when frontman "JB" Brubaker invited bassist Dustin Davidson to play lead guitar on a song Davidson wrote for the band… to this reviewer's surprise, the next four minutes were filled with fantastic guitar shredding and showcased the depth of this band's musical ability (he apparently also has a punk-pop side project that's worth a listen).
Between the Buried and Me wasted no time taking the stage next and entertained fans with over an hour of material spanning the band's entire discography (including a song from their 2002 self-titled release). All five members left everything on the stage, though the crowd surprisingly didn't seem as engaged as a usual BTBAM show (perhaps the new queen-like release kept some of the hardcore followers from attending).
If there was anything to take away from this dual-headlining performance, it's what a difference a great audio engineer can make. When August Burns Red took the stage, guitars were muddied by thick bass and out of phase drums. One would assume that the room was just not built to handle such loud noise…but once BTBAM began to perform it became clear that it wasn't the room, but the mix. Every solo, every pinch harmonic, hell every drum fill came through crystal clear for the final act, making one wonder why August Burns Red doesn't find a similar live sound to help fans hear their technical guitar riffs. Perhaps they've just never heard their mix from the crowd's perspective. Whatever the reason may be, it should be addressed.
Text by Andy Mesecher
Photo (ABR at Self Help Fest) by Victoria Patneaude
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.