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Review & Photos: August Burns Red celebrate 20 years with explosive Cleveland performance

MAY 2, 2023
By Neil Shumate, OOTB Publications
“Tonight’s show is special,” said August Burns Red (ABR) vocalist Jake Luhrs. “Tonight we are celebrating twenty years as a band!” Fans didn’t bring chinaware or porcelain to celebrate, but they did bring their wide smiles, headbanging, moshing (including a few Wall Of Death moments), crowd surfing, shouting, pumping fists and aggressive facial expressions last night. 

No holds barred metalcore dominated ABR’s brutal set with dynamic melodic guitar solos, compulsive proggy thrash drumming, explosive neck flexing breakdowns and those ferocious, signature grueling vocals. 

Each member was having a blast, floating across the stage and passing each other with ease to work the left, right and center stage while making eye contact with fans as Luhrs tossed and spun his mic around like a lasso with his animated visage. Laser lights, persistent strobes, a color changing logo and occasional bursts of up smoke increased the already present rushing adrenaline. 

With this being an anniversary tour, the set focused on a satisfying classic ABR sampler with tracks from albums Constellations, Messengers, Thrill Seeker and Leveler as well as songs “Paramount” and “Bloodletter” from the more recent pandemic era album Guardians. The band might be saving more tracks from the recently released Death Below for a future tour, as only “Backfire” and “Ancestry” (during which Luhrs gave a shout out to Jesse Leach/Killswitch Engage for being featured on the track) were performed

The Grammy-nominated Pennsylvania band always annihilate and they know how to throw an unforgettable party, even on a Tuesday. It's clear that fans are more than ready for two or three more decades of ABR.

The Devil Wears Prada are no strangers to the scene, been at it since 2005. The group performed a 45-minute set with tracks primarily from their latest release Color Decay. The Ohioans brought the heavy/“Watchtower” (Mike Hranica) and the lighter/“Chemical” (Jeremy DePoyster). The music momentarily paused as the crowd sang along in unison to “Noise”: “I can’t sleep, ‘cause the sky is falling” and Bleed From Within vocalist Scott Kennedy joined the group for a vicious performance of “Dez Moines.” An incredibly energetic and aggressive set balanced with moments of subtleness.

Scotland’s Bleed From Within had a thunderous, ground vibrating intro and the earth shaking continued throughout the band’s set. Kennedy fist bumped fans in the front row during the set as he ran from left to right and expressed a sincere gratitude for being on stage: “We’ve dreamed about this our whole lives!” Circle pits were formed as both speed metal and melodic styles were fused to create an ear pleasing mix of in-your-face metttulll. Halfway through, the crowd took a moment to sing “Happy Birthday” to drummer Ali Richardson.

AUGUST BURNS RED (click photos to enlarge)  

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (click photos to enlarge)

BLEED FROM WITHIN (click photos to enlarge)