w/ A Day To Remember, Ho99o9
Mountain View, CA
July 28, 2017
Photos and review by Jared Stossel.
It's an exceptionally cold night in Mountain View, CA when Avenged Sevenfold, the critically-acclaimed and profoundly-supported heavy metal band from Long Beach, take the stage with their nearly eight-minute opening track, "The Stage" (taken from their 2016 album of the same name). The cold quickly dissipates as eight gargantuan flamethrowers spit streaks of orange and red up above the stage. Heat radiates throughout the venue (okay, the lower level) but there's a lot of fire. They're big on theatrics and pyrotechnics. The last time I saw Avenged Sevenfold was in this same venue. A setup that looked like something out of an Iron Maiden music video was erected in the middle of the stage, complete with a gigantic skull wearing a crowd, wielding a sword that pressed down into the stage's center. And to answer your question, yes, there was a shit load of fire.
This time around, stage props were abandoned, with the band making use of a rather impressive array of LED screens that provided crystal clear images and video animations to accompany each song. Avenged Sevenfold's set was a sight to both behold and hear, as the band made their stop at Shoreline Amphitheater to headline a one-off show in between their time on the road as main support for one of the 'Big Four' metal acts, Metallica (the band opened for Metallica the next day in Los Angeles at 'The Rose Bowl'.)
The first act took the stage when the sun was still out, and they proved to be one of the more unique and out there acts to have taken the stage at Shoreline in the last year. The mysterious Ho99o9 (pronounced 'Horror') is a three-piece act from New Jersey that perform a style of music in the same vein as acts like Death Grips. It's experimental, very gritty, and at times simply noisy, but incredibly emotive and engaging. One of the members wears a blue beanie amidst a wave of dreadlocks that emerge from the top of his head. He works a sampler and drum machine that emit a plethora of sounds that fuel the general angst and gritty energy that comprise Ho99o9. They're a band that could very well be making waves in the next few years.
One of the scenes most revered acts, A Day To Remember, took the stage for a coveted main support slot. The band took this same spot in late 2016 when opening in this same venue for Blink-182. I can honestly say that if this band keep growing at the rate they are, they'll be headlining amphitheaters around the country in the next year. Just from walking around in the crowd, I saw as many people wearing A Day To Remember shirts as I did Avenged Sevenfold. The crowd on the lawn created a massive circle pit during the band's track "Paranoia" (from their most recent effort Bad Vibrations), all while singing along to every word that vocalist Jeremy McKinnon either sang or screamed into the microphone. They're one of the best live bands in modern rock, and their show is one that is never to be missed. (Editor's note: I may have stated this in my review of their set at the Blink-182 show, but having seen them since they played on the side stage of Vans Warped Tour in 2008, when they were still a very new act, it was rather thrilling to see them play that same stage nearly ten years later, with a crowd of over twenty thousand that knew the words.)
By the time Avenged Sevenfold took the stage, the sun had set. After 'The Stage', the band dove headfirst into "Afterlife", the crowd-hit from their 2007 self-titled album. This was followed with the explosive "Hail To The King", in a performance filled with electrifying guitar riffs, energetic stage presence, and yes, lots of pyro. The band's set was comprised mainly of tracks from The Stage, which makes sense being their most recent album. But the way they structured their set was effective. The band would play one or two songs from the new record, and then mix in some material from older albums, like "Nightmare" (Nightmare), "Almost Easy" (Avenged Sevenfold), and "Acid Rain" (Hail To The King).
Avenged Sevenfold closed their set with a three-song encore, which kicked off with a personal favorite of mine, Bat Country (from 2005's City Of Evil). A staple in A7X's set, "A Little Piece of Heaven" followed. There's a moment in the track (whose lyrical content, might I add, is not for the faint of heart) where a kick drum pounds in the background as a choir hums the main melody that runs throughout the song. I can only describe hearing twenty-two thousand people singing the chorus back to the band as hauntingly beautiful.
I'll admit: when I write these reviews, I try to look at the set list before hand so that I can know what material will be played and do proper research. I was under the assumption that "A Little Piece of Heaven" would be the closer. So it was a huge surprise to me when the incredible opening riff to "Unholy Confessions", one of the band's earlier songs, started to come from the stage. A thrilling surprise and a great conclusion to one hell of a show.
Avenged Sevenfold Set List
Hail to the King
So Far Away
Warmness on the Soul (Instrumental)
A Little Piece of Heaven
A Day To Remember
This has been another Shameless Promotion.