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August Burns Red Brings Ultimate Chaos To Manchester



Finally, the UK can officially say we are in spring. Blossom trees are blooming, golden hour sunsets past 7 pm, temperatures that aren’t freezing for once…. what more could you ask for? Maybe a monster tour from August Burns Red might be the cherry on top of a bloody delicious cake? Well, don’t you worry, it can only get better. Bringing a solid, three-bill lineup to the Ritz in Manchester, August Burns Red is about to bring the house down and we’re so 'effin ready.



First up is one of the bands I discovered only last year but made it into my top 5 on Spotify wrapped back in December. These guys are absolutely insanely underrated. I can say I’ve been lucky enough to see them once last year and it went hard. Swedish metal-heads, Thrown, are here to set this night off Swede style.



Opening the set with grayout, I already had goosebumps…. The scathing sound of the guitar riffs was the catalyst of what was going to be chaos. And off we go as vocalist, Marcus Lundqvist, takes the stage and rips it to shreds with vocals that could unapologetically tear your heart out. Lyrics filled with anger and self-hatred blended perfectly with intense, aggressive guitars, this quartet knows how to put on a show. This is gut-punching metalcore at its finest.



"dwell," "Backfire" and "guilt" were up next. Each undeniably being banger after banger. Luckily for me, every single Thrown song I love is on the setlist tonight which as you can probably guess…. is all of them. The lads don’t have a huge spread across their discography but I can tell you now, if the saying quality over quantity was made for anyone, it’s these guys. They’re truly, indescribably different from any other metal band on the scene right now. There’s just something about them that makes you want to inject their music into your veins. Absolutely unreal.



Next up we have "new low," "on the verge," and "fast forward." Again, I don’t even need to say it. Bloody awesome. Oh and the mosh pits… goddam, these people were going crazy. I was just standing to the side having my own little mosh with the photographers, a couple of windmill arms every now and then but nothing like the pit pros. Head-banging is perfect for me thanks. Which, by the way, every single song was of course headbang-worthy. I mean, you couldn't not engage. "Set Me Free" and "Parasite" were the closing two for Thrown’s unforgettable set. Without warning, these guys absolutely destroyed the Ritz tonight with their modern take on heavy music. It’s safe to say not many first supports get the crowd moving this aggressively this fast - positively unreal once again.


Dying Wish

Up next are metalcore monsters hailing from Portland, Oregon, Dying Wish.


Dying Wish

Can I just say, we love a female-fronted metal band. I mean the effortless switch from clean vocals to raw screams is simply mesmerizing - especially when it’s Emma Boster on the stage. Dying Wish haven’t really played the UK much apart from their tour last year with Counterparts to which they seriously gained a bunch of fans, including myself. With a half an hour set ahead of them, the Dying Wish crew are more than ready to show us what they’ve got.



Kicking it off with "Symptoms of Survival," a whirl of limbs and chaos takes over the venue within seconds. This is easily one of the biggest pits I’ve seen this year, with plenty of space to throw down some moves. There’s no need for the band to even begin controlling the room, this audience delivers without a single demand. With a couple of crowd surfers here and there, a few bruised knees, and pints spilling everywhere, this was a proper good Dying Wish show.



"Watch My Promise Die," "Enemies in Red," and "Prey for Me" follow up on the opening hit, each one bringing more chaos than the next. With full-throated snarls and colossal breakdowns, Dying Wish knows how to get it done. "Cowards Feed, Cowards Bleed" goes incredibly hard. 90 seconds of pure insanity in the pit that was hard to avoid from the outskirts.


At one point, Boster says how much they dislike barrier gigs, how it’s “not them” and to “get yourselves up here”. Well…. one lad did indeed take her very seriously because what did he do? The lad jumped from the metal barrier onto the stage and began singing with Boster as the crowd went into uproar. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I don’t think the lad could either until the moment was shattered by being rugby-tackled by security. Now I understand they have jobs to do but… Boster did ask for people to get up on the stage with her so… I’d have left the poor lad to it but, by the looks of it, he was promptly escorted out of the venue. Poor bugger just wanted to sing "Lost in the Fall" with his favourite band. Well, maybe next time!



With the set coming to an end, it’s safe to say it was certainly unforgettable. "Innate Thirst" was the final song from Dying Wish tonight as Boster screams: “This is your last chance to get moving” and the crowd certainly moved. The floor was shaking, sweat was dripping, and bodies were flying; it was definitely a set to remember.


Dying Wish

Finally, the main guys are here, Pennsylvanian metalcore titans, August Burns Red.



This is a band I’ve never managed to catch live before, I’ve always wanted to after hearing insane things and watching vivacious videos now, finally, they are here and I think it’s safe to say they absolutely blew me away. On the outside, these guys look like proper angry metalheads but you can just tell, deep down, they’ve all got golden retriever energy and I’m here for it.


August Burns Red

Diving straight into it with "Empire," the whole place erupted. I can never say it’s a proper metal show until a crowd surfer comes flying over the barrier and kicks me in the head… don’t worry, ABR makes the cut. We had more than enough bodies diving over the barrier to the point where it was quite admirable.



These guys are metal legends for a reason. With over 20 years of consecutively putting on unfathomable shows, delivering constant chaos around the globe and never sacrificing their style in the process is certainly an insane achievement in itself. Tonight, ABR proved to us Manchester lot just why they’ve been going as long as I’ve been walking, this show was truly unlike no other.



Next up we have "Thirty and Seven," "The Truth of a Liar," and "Backfire." When I tell you, this crowd tonight was, dare I say, louder than Mr. Jake Luhrs himself. Not to mention the stage presence, wow. Luhrs knows how to command the stage with the fans at his very fingertips. You can unquestionably see and feel the difference between a band new to the stage and a well-seasoned band, quite like themselves. The effortless charisma and confidence are outstanding, quite like a performance of Slipknot, a band so used to being on the stage that it becomes second nature.



August Burns Red's tight musicianship is something in itself with lead guitarists, JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler working in perfect union alongside drummer, Matt Greiner and bassist, Dustin Davidson. The hard-as-nails breakdowns mixed with perfectly precise riffs… what could possibly go wrong? This was simply one of the best-executed performances I have seen so far this year. With the setlist curated more heavily towards albums Constellations and Guardians, we were also treated to a few from Death Below and Messengers a few from their older discography here and there such as Rescue & Restore as well as the awesome Leveler. One of my favourite things about tonight’s show is how frontman, Luhrs, makes every single person in the crowd feel like they are truly part of this performance. You can see him looking around the venue, locking eyes with the fans, pointing, smiling, and even sticking his tongue out like the rock god he is. It truly is amazing and the whole vibe was euphoric.


August Burns Red

Going back to the set list, we were treated to "Revival," "Composure," "Invisible Enemy," "Animals"… banger after banger. ABR is about speed and technicality, with every single song being played in the tightest most precise way possible while the lads still being able to mosh it out on stage. As I looked around the room, there wasn’t one person not fully absorbed into tonight’s show, barely any phones, just truly and utterly living in the moment. Or should I say, moshing in the moment. That sounds more accurate.


August Burns Red

With the encore quickly approaching, ABR certainly wasn’t leaving us without being certain it was an absolutely unforgettable night. "Paramount" and "White Washed" were the perfect duo to bring the night to a close and the crowd went crazy. These guys are professional, slick, and ready to cause chaos and they wholeheartedly delivered. What a bloody awesome show!


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