Despite the fact that it was the day before a working Monday, crowds gathered from the start and battled the Sunday scaries by rocking out in Raleigh, NC. If you missed this show, you straight up just missed out. The stacked line up of Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle,Three Days Grace, Dorothy, and Diamante graced the Coastal Credit Union Music Park stage starting at 5:30 pm and rocked right into the night.
Short but powerful sets from female-led bands Diamante and Dorothy started out the night. Diamante, a solo female rock artist at that is slowly making a name for herself at a young age of 22. She is best known for her song “Bite Your Kiss”, but she can also be heard on the Bad Wolves song “Hear Me Now”. If you missed her set early on (like I unfortunately did), you could have found her signing photos and various body parts in the vendor area during the rest of the evening. There were times where I literally had to maneuver through the long lines of people waiting to talk to her, so clearly she gained some fans Sunday night! Dorothy, another fairly new band making their way into the rock scene in 2014, followed and continued to rock the night to a crowd of eager fans. Despite the short set time, they took full advantage and were able to play most of their singles and a few other album favorites.
A short set change later, and Canadian foursome Three Days Grace took the stage. The heat might have been a little more than they are used to up in the great up North, but that didn’t stop them from bringing all the energy they had. Drummer Neil Sanderson made his way onto the stage first, as he usually does, and gets the crowd amped up while guitarist Barry Stock and bassist Brad Walst walked out one by one. Finally, frontman Matt Walst runs out and they go right into “The Mountain”. As they were third to play on the bill, they had limited time to play and they made sure they play fan favorites and keep the crowd singing along. Angst-driven “Home” was played next, followed by “The Good Life” in which Brad Walst took a second to go out and lick the arm of Stock’s guitar. Clearly you can tell they are very comfortable with each other, as they would be after so many years together. Matt Walst did an excellent job keeping the crowd involved, making sure to get one side of the audience to scream out “I” while the other side screamed out “Hate” leading in to “I Hate Everything About You”. They closed out their set with “Riot”, getting the crowd just the right kind of warmed up before Chevelle hit the stage.
By the time Chevelle came on stage, the sun had completely set and the stage lights could finally be fully appreciated. Packing a heavy punch the whole set, they opened with “Young Wicked” featuring a heavy riff and chest bounding bass. The three brothers have been a band for close to 25 years now, and you can tell that they know how to work their way around a stage. They continued their set with songs including “The Clincher”, “Get Some”, and “Vitamin R”. Frontman Pete Loeffler made sure to warn the crowd before they played “Still Running” that they hadn’t played it in a while, and they may mess up, but being the pros that they were, no mess ups were noted. “The Red” started out with red lights and just Pete on the stage with his guitar, and it was almost difficult hearing him sing over the voices of the crowd. As the song built, bassist Dean Bernardini and drummer Sam Loeffler made their way back out and finished the song out with him. The band closed their seemingly too short of a set with “I Get It” and promised to be back soon. They did not play “Forfeit” tonight, but the crowd still got to hear it later in the night! Read on!
Following Chevelle, headliners Breaking Benjamin finally took the stage. They had a curtain drawn over the stage and all you could see was a silhouette of frontman Ben Burley as he sang the first lines of “Red Cold River”. As the song kicked off, the curtain dropped and you could see the extravagant stage set up that the five-piece band had with them. The tour is promoting their most recent release Ember, so the back drop was the giant eye, featured on the album cover. I have seen this band numerous times, and it was by far the best show I have seen them play. Ever. They had pyrotechnics and fireworks to build their stage presence, but they certainly did not need it. Burnley was the most animated I had ever seen him, running around the stage, dancing around, and making time during the set to make sure that everyone was well taken care of, throwing cold water out into the crowd and being nice enough to turn part of the AC unit he had for himself onto the people rocking out in the front row. The band also had two platforms of fans on stage with them during the entire set. Very likely a VIP experience that you can look into if you are interested! But let’s get back to the music! Following “Red Cold River”, the band played “I Will Not Bow”, and “Never Again”. If you have seen these guys recently, you know that Burnley is not the only singer in the band. Bassist Aaron Bruch took on the singing role for “Sugarcoat” where he was able to show off his singing voice as well as his guttural scream. They kept with the songs from their very first album Medicated and played “Polyamorous”, which featured a fun long intro by guitarst Jasen Rauch. Another fun aspect of the show is the medley that the band does in the middle of the set. Burnley showed off his nerdy side as the stage hands brought out a drum set complete with light sabers that lit up red as they played Imperial March. They followed the Imperial March with “Cowboys From Hell”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Enter Sandman”, “Bulls On Parade”, and those gems were topped off with a drum solo from Shaun Foist. The rest of the band made their way back on to the stage, and this time guitarist Keith Wallen flexed his vocal cords with “Sooner or Later”. The 16-song set continued to include “Blow Me Away”, “So Cold”, “Angels Fall”, and “Torn in Two.” Burnely was most appreciative throughout the whole set and you could tell he was truly humbled to be where he was today. He took time to thank all the bands that were they with them on the tour, and rehashed the bands long history with Three Days Grace, talking about their co-headlining tour a few years ago promoting their albums One-X and Phobia. Leading back to the reference of “Forfeit” before, Burnley described being a fan of Chevelle’s since 1999 and the band showed their love for the band by playing a snippet of “Forfeit” while the crowd sang along. Following a short break, their encore consisted of “Rain” which is a song they do not play live often, and their hit “Diary of Jane.”
Check out photos from the show below, and if the tour still has a date in your town, be sure to go check it out!