On Thursday, March 5th, I made my way down to Wilmington, NC’s Ziggy’s by the Sea to watch RED as they put on a killer performance in support of their new album of Beauty and Rage. Despite the rain, wind, and freezing temperatures, a line formed itself outside of the downtown venue in anticipation of the lineup of the night, including the headliner and support from Islander and 3 Years Hollow, as well as two NC local bands Failure Anthem and Arbor Vitale.
Doors opened at 7 and everyone made their way inside to shelter themselves from the elements. A short 30 minutes later the show started with two quick sets from Arbor Vitale and Failure Anthem. 3 Years Hollow followed with another short but very well received set including “For Life”, “Hungry”, and “Remembered”. By this point the crowd was more than warmed up and the band fed off that energy to deliver a spot on performance.
After a quick set change, Islander made their way out onto the stage one by one, guns blazing. The band opened with “Counteract” and within minutes, frontman Mikey Carvajal was out in the crowd balancing on hands and encouraging crowd interaction. The energy in the venue instantly went to another level, which isn’t surprising seeing as the guys in Islander never stopped moving during their entire set. They made themselves at home as they performed songs including “The Sadness of Graves”, “New Wave”, and “Criminals”. Islander closed their set with “Coconut Dracula” with another venture out into the audience. To be honest, I always admire bands that do that. I can’t imagine how much effort it takes to balance on all these hands trying to grab at you and sing at the same time. But big props to bands that do that! The audience absolutely loves it! This was my second time seeing Islander and these guys are definitely going to make it big.
Finally, it was RED’s turn to make their way onto the stage. Having just released their new album of Beauty and Rage, and this tour being called The of Beauty and Rage Tour, their setlist consisted heavily of songs from the album. The set opened with a dark stage and fog as the instrumental “Decent” played in the back ground. One by one, the band made their way onto the stage and opened with “What You Keep Alive”, a song with such a strong meaning that makes it an appropriate opener that really sets the tone for the rest of the night. They continue with “Fight to Forget” and open “Death of Me” with their Guillotine Remix from their album Release The Panic. New songs including “Imposter”, “Falling Sky”, “Take Me Over”, and “Part That’s Holding On” were intertwined with old RED favorites including “Already Over”, “Not Alone”, “Faceless,” and “Let Go” which was opened with the chorus of “Break Me Down.” The intensity of the performance was palpable and you honestly couldn’t stand still during their set even if you wanted to. The majority of the set was filled with the music, but frontman Michael Barnes took a second to encourage people to think of those less fortunate and donate to a charity that provides water to families that do not have access, and bassist Randy Armstrong took a moment between songs to comment about the hospitality and crazy bipolar weather that’s typical in NC (the day had started in 70 degree weather and dropped down to 30 degree weather all in one day). Fourteen songs into the set, the band left the stage and the lights dimmed as the audience cheered on for an encore. About one minute later they reclaimed their spots on stage and performed and encore including their current single “Darkest Part” and their very first single “Breathe Into Me” from their debut album.
RED is what I like to call a true live band. You can’t get the full effect of their sound without seeing them live. Their stage presence is a show on its own and honestly can’t be justified by words or even photos and videos. If you have not picked up their new album of Beauty and Rage yet, be sure to check it out, and I strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this band live to take the time to do so. It will definitely be worth your while!