LIVE PHOTOS: Atreyu, Crown the Empire, Tetrarch, Saul, Defying Decay
Review by Greg Maki
Live music officially is back, and it would appear to be a difficult task to find a group of people more tickled by that prospect than the five members of Atreyu. The band’s “Baptize” tour brought it to Baltimore’s Rams Head Live on a Wednesday night, and the good vibes started with the musicians onstage—vocalist Brandon Saller, guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel, bassist/vocalist Porter McKnight and new drummer Kyle Rosa—and quickly spread like an infection that everyone in the venue was eager to catch. It was all smiles throughout the evening, with Saller warmly taking to his new frontman role—he previously handled clean vocals while drumming—and an abundance of joking and laughter between songs.
The lineup shakeup prior to the release of the band’s latest album, “Baptize” (read Live Metal’s review) seems to have given Atreyu a shot of new life, as the energy never waned throughout the 90-minute set. With McKnight stepping up to handle all the harsh vocals and Saller, a big man with an even bigger voice, becoming more prominent, the absence of former frontman Alex Varkatzas wasn’t even a footnote. On one song, McKnight even handed off his bass to Rosa to focus exclusively on vocals while Saller took up his old position behind the drums. It’s moments like this that make live shows such a vital part of a band’s story. You could never get that experience from Spotify.
The anthemic songs from “Baptize,” which really feels like Atreyu’s “arena rock” record, were the highlights of the night, including the a cappella opener “Strange Powers of Prophecy,” “Baptize,” “Save Us,” “Untouchable” and the massive hit “Warrior.” The fans, though, clearly appreciated the band’s entire catalog, greeting most of the songs with singalongs and hearty ovations.
The “Baptize” tour offered a full night of music, with four other bands on the bill, starting with Defying Decay, a high-energy act from Thailand featuring a fill-in vocalist with stage presence that should earn him a full-time gig somewhere. Up next, Saul brought more of a radio rock sound to the stage with Octane staples such as “Looking to Fight” and “King of Misery.” Tetrarch, supporting its excellent debut full-length album “Unstable” (read Live Metal’s review), nearly stole the show with its intense, modern nu metal sound and guitar heroics courtesy of Diamond Rowe. Direct support came from metalcore act Crown the Empire, which I somehow haven’t heard much from over the years but, judging from the crowd reaction, may be on the verge of ascending to headliner status.
ATREYU SET LIST:
“Strange Powers of Prophecy”
“Becoming the Bull”
“Right Side of the Bed”
“The Time Is Now”
“Ex’s and Oh’s”
“When Two Are One”
“Lead Sails (and a Paper Anchor)”
“Lip Gloss and Black”