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Bullet For My Valentine Take A Shot At Manhattan's Terminal 5

After half a decade of awaiting their return, New York City finally welcomed back Bullet For My Valentine with a show jam-packed with exuberance and exhilaration. Fans both new and old packed in Terminal 5 for the pre-weekend performance and Bullet For My Valentine insinuated the weekend with a show stockpiled with screams and hardcore instrumentals. There is simply no better way to end the week than with metal music, especially that of Bullet For My Valentine. Everyone in attendance at Terminal 5 was relishing in the moment, from the members on stage to those in the crowd, the return of Bullet For My Valentine was well worth the five-year wait.

Opening the mosh pits first Thursday evening was the metal band, Vended. The name might ring a bell for some with frontman Griffin Taylor being the son of Slipknot icon, Corey Taylor, however, even if the same genre technically, Griffin Taylor has created a unique image and sound distinct to Vended. The band formed in 2018 with members Cole Espeland on guitar, Griffin Taylor on vocals, Simon Crahan on drums, Jeremiah Pugh on bass, and Connor Grodzicki also on guitar. While the instrumentals of Vended’s music focus on speed, power, and precision, Taylor’s raw vocals come in with a portrayal of hardship and the reality of life. The sound of Vended blasted through Terminal 5, energizing the crowd with ferocious, aggressive, driving guitars that had everyone head-banging along within the first few seconds of the set.

The circle pit only kept growing as fans welcomed back American rock band Of Mice & Men after five years of not performing in New York. Although the band no longer contains any originating members from their roots in 2009, the current lineup of drummer Valentino Arteaga, guitarists Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby, and bassist and lead vocalist Aaron Pauley have done an excellent job keeping the music of Of Mice & Men alive and unforgotten. Since 2009, Of Mice & Men has released eight studio albums and won two awards including, Alternative Press Best Guitarist with Phil Manansala and Kerrang! Best International Newcomer.

The set list opened with the classic Of Mice & Men hit “Bones Exposed” and long-time fans reacted before the music even began by crowd surfing and circling around in the pit. With time, Of Mice & Men has shifted to adopting a more nu-metal sound, however, their beloved metalcore songs still maintain the emotion and passion from the first recordings. The setlist was integrated with songs from both their hardcore roots and their newer alternative rock era, catering to all their listeners. The band even played their newest hit “Castaway” which proved to be a major success in New York with practically everyone screaming along to the chorus and hooks. All in all, the set was stacked with upbeat, mosh-worthy hits from the last 14 years of Of Mice & Men. Fans couldn’t get enough of the music, Of Mice & Men did a brilliant job warming up the crowd for the headlining performance that proceeded.

Bullet For My Valentine also stylized as BFMV, is a Welsh four-piece heavy-metal ensemble dating back to 1998. BFMV’s current lineup includes vocalist Matthew Tuck, guitarist Michael Paget, drummer Jason Bowld, and bassist Jamie Mathias. Bullet For My Valentine initially began under another stage persona, Jeff Killed John, to which they mainly recorded covers of popular Nirvana and Metallica songs, recording only six original tracks that were never released. Eventually, the band adopted their now famed title, Bullet For My Valentine, and later reworked two of their originals from Jeff Killed John. Nowadays, Bullet For My Valentine has sold over one million albums in the United States alone, and over three million LPs worldwide. In addition, Bullet For My Valentine is the most successful act according to the Kerrang! Awards category of Best British Band with three wins.

Before the lights could even dim, fans greeted the hard rockers with a symphony of “Bullet” being chanted from the barricade to the back walls of the venue. By the time Bullet For My Valentine stepped on stage, bodies were already flying through arms to get as close as possible to the performers. Matthew Tuck encouraged the chaos by screaming for the crowd to “let the madness begin!” before transitioning into the first song of the set. I must say, in all of my years of being a concert photographer, Bullet For My Valentine had easily one of the rowdiest crowds I’ve ever witnessed and hands down the most crowd surfers. From the intense mosh pits that spread from practically one wall to the other combined with the non-stop crowd surfing, die-hard fans made certain the members of Bullet For My Valentine wouldn’t forget about New York City for five long years ever again.

As the set progressed, fans only became more energized by the emo-esque tunes that the majority of us were raised on. Either way, Bullet For My Valentine has such an engaging set; The band members effortlessly entertain a crowd and keep them captivated for an entire hour-long performance, including through an encore. Each member has mastered their instrument in a way that allows them to experiment with solos and be comfortable doing such in front of live audiences. Drummer, Jason Bowld, had one of my favorite solos of the night during the introduction of the classic hit from BFMV, “Your Betrayal.” Hearing the drum solo come alive in a concert hall was truly unforgettable and the crowd response was just as memorable. The second the beat dropped, fans circled up, skipping along to the beat and tossing bodies in the air for the security to catch up front.

As we neared the halfway point of the set, Tuck began plucking the opening riff to “Scream Aim Fire,” and that’s when the crowd really let all hell break loose. Even frontman, Matthew Tuck, was amused by the crowd reaction, rewarding Terminal 5 for having “the most energy we've seen on this tour so far!” The song was wild from start to finish as Tuck initiated a death wall for the final breakdown of the song. The crowd split wide down the middle, each side connecting arms with one another, ready to collide. Before Tuck could even get the final number of the countdown out, both sides of the crowd sprinted after one another at full force, combining in the middle for the biggest mosh pit of the night.

The crowd wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Bullet For My Valentine after only 12 songs. As soon as the band stepped off stage, fans pleaded for their return by yet again screaming “Bullet!” repeatedly until, finally, Matthew Tuck returned to the stage, this time only accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The live rendition of “Tears Don’t Fall” honestly made some tears fall from my eyes and goosebumps rise on my body. The entire crowd sang back to Matthew Tuck, nearly drowning out his voice as they spotlighted him with phone flashlights. The band remastered the song so the introduction was performed solely by Matthew Tuck and his acoustic guitar, showcasing his polished musicianship and seamless ability to transform a renowned hardcore song into an ethereal, melodic acoustic. When the chorus of the song hit, the rest of the band members joined Matthew Tuck on stage to finish off the song the way it was originally recorded; hardcore. The juxtaposition of the crowd from the start of the song to the end was nearly comical. All the phone flashlights turned off at once and suddenly the ground began to shake again.

The set concluded with “Waking The Demon,” one of Bullet For My Valentine’s most streamed songs across platforms. As if the crowd had been anticipating this closure, everyone spread apart to open a pit the size of the general admission standing room. Once the first verse began, nobody in general admission was safe from the mosh pit; Everyone began to jump around and join in. The euphoria of the crowd was felt by everyone in the room and you could see it on all four faces of Bullet For My Valentine.

New York City welcomed back Bullet For My Valentine with open pits and, in return, Bullet For My Valentine rocked out harder than they ever have before for Terminal 5. Bullet For My Valentine is currently performing across North America alongside support from Vended and Of Mice & Men with an anticipated European tour in the near future. Bullet For My Valentine are only a few shows into the 25-date tour series, so make sure to catch them while you still can through the links below and get ready to mosh all night long!




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