Stalwarts of the metalcore scene, AUGUST BURNS RED, recently embarked on a tour to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their legendary sophomore album, Messengers. Sound Control in Manchester was the destination for this incredible gig, and we went down to see how well the material sounded 10 years on.
As AUGUST BURNS RED were planning to play a very long set of the album, followed by fan favourites, only one band was called in to support. Southern tech-metallers NAPOLEON fulfilled this role, playing Manchester for the third time in the last few months. It was evident that the majority of the room were there for AUGUST BURNS RED exclusively, but this didn’t stop NAPOLEON from performing an absolutely blinding set. Having seen them recently on multiple occasions in Manchester, it was easy to see that this was the best crowd they’d played to yet. As usual, the strengths of their performance came from guitarist Sam Osborne, who shredded his way through their 40-minute slot effortlessly, putting many of his contemporaries to shame. Vocalist Wesley Thompson was charismatic as always, encouraging their selection of fans in the audience unrelentingly right up to the end. Their brand of euphoric, feel-good metalcore was certainly a great choice to warm the crowd up for the main act, and shows further promise for their future.
After a short set-up, the main act of the night were ready to take the stage. Ironic dance music played as they took up their instruments, to the confusion of many, but confusion soon gave way to relief once the triumphant first chords of Messengers’ opener, The Truth Of A Liar, were played. The next hour was absolute carnage, as the band barely took ten seconds in between each song, nailed each one of their classic breakdowns and spun the room into a frenzy. As usual, Sound Control was a sweatbox but the front half of the room didn’t seem to care – nearly the whole area in front of the sound desk dissolved into a pit several times during each song. This was partly encouraged by the appearance of local alternative hero Pit Troll, who lorded over the pit throughout the night. Highlights came in classics such as Back Burner and The Blinding Light, as vocalist Jake Luhrs roared perfectly through the set.
Performance aside, what was astonishing was that every component of the band were note perfect from start to finish. Once Messengers had finished devastating the room, the band left for the bassist and drummer to duet a drum solo – an entertaining break between their two sets. Fan favourites followed to finish off the night, including Empire from their album Leveler, and Ghosts from Found in Far Away Places. Their new single, Invisible Enemy, was also received well. The last song, their hit White Washed, featured guitarist JB Brubaker riding around the pit on Pit Troll’s shoulders, with a circle pit around them – undoubtedly an unforgettable moment. A truly landmark performance from AUGUST BURNS RED, and easily enough to prove them the unbeaten kings of metalcore.