By Greg Maki
I’ve covered Bullet for My Valentine since the beginning of Live Metal, starting with their tour with Rob Zombie in spring 2006. I’ve reviewed their albums, particularly enjoying their sophomore effort, 2008’s “Scream Aim Fire,” and I’ve seen them live at various festivals over the years. Yet somehow, despite their extensive touring in the United States, I had never seen them play a proper headlining show until the hardDrive Live tour.
A mostly young crowd filled the Fillmore, and the band gave them a show to remember. Drawing from all four of their albums, the band displayed a real knack for mixing melody and aggression, and even more so than on record, the topnotch musicianship of the individual band members shone through. Lead guitarist Michael Paget is a star—his soloing stole the show—while vocalist/rhythm guitarist Matthew Tuck worked the crowd like a pro.
Songs from the band’s debut, “The Poison” (2005), still their most successful album, received the biggest responses from the crowd, especially the show-closing “Tears Don’t Fall. “Waking the Demon” and “Scream Aim Fire” were the standouts for me.
Melodic hard rockers Stars in Stereo, from Los Angeles, started the action earlier in the evening. I try not to fixate on one band member, but it was hard not to be drawn to frontwoman Bec Hollcraft, who channeled her inner Steven Tyler on a cover of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” Young Guns, out of London, came out with a lot of energy, very nearly whipping the crowd into a frenzy before the headliners even appeared. Though more hard rock than pop-punk, I think these guys would kill on the Warped Tour.
One other note: Prior to Bullet for My Valentine taking the stage, Lou Brutus, host of the hardDrive Live radio show, who introduced each band, asked for a “moment of noise” for Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who passed away a day earlier. “Raining Blood” then played over the house P.A.
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE SET LIST: “Breaking Point,” “Your Betrayal,” “Waking the Demon,” “4 Words (to Choke Upon),” “Temper Temper,” “The Last Fight,” “Take It Out on Me,” “P.O.W.,” “Her Voice Resides,” Guitar solo, “Truth Hurts,” “Scream Aim Fire,” (encore) “Pleasure and Pain,” “Tears Don’t Fall”