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SHOW: ‘Out Of Control Tour’ – The Ghost Inside, The Acacia Strain + MORE (March 25th: Expo Five in Louisville, KY)
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SHOW: ‘Out Of Control Tour’ – The Ghost Inside, The Acacia Strain + MORE (March 25th: Expo Five in Louisville, KY)

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The elevated walls of aircraft-hangar-turned-concert-venue Expo Five in Louisville, KY were packed in tight for a night that was ‘out of control’. Two genre-defining tour packages met up for one massive date on March 25th, making for a thrilling, eclectic night for heavy music fans.

The show began late in the afternoon, 5:30 PM to be exact, with the atmospheric rumble of progressive metalcore group Invent, Animate welcoming in concert-goers. Though the crowd was relatively small due to the early show time Invent, Animate’s jazzy, ambient compositions combined with their thoughtfully-timed intensity both interested the crowd and got a few pits started. The band were clearly somewhat nervous, but did a fine job opening.

The next act hailed from Australia, and they made sure to let everyone know that this was their first time in Kentucky. “Chicken bourbon” joked In Hearts Wake’s frontman. “That’s what you guys are known for, right? Fried chicken and bourbon?” The friendly addresses were an interesting addition to the band’s otherwise electric set. The crowd responded positively to IHW’s bouncy, ambient, forward-thinking metalcore. Loud chants of “We will survive!” brought a smile to every member of the band’s face, clearly happy about the rapidly-growing crowd, even happier to be playing their music to a new audience.

By the time Gideon roared to the stage you couldn’t stop the crowd from piling in. There was a different energy throughout the building now – Urgency. “No more playing games!” declared Gideon’s frontman who stood in a fighting pose similar to a character you’d fight against in Mortal Kombat. His assertiveness and aggressively energetic vocal style combined with Gideon’s punishing but meaningful brand of hardcore brought the crowd to acts of pure chaos. Now the pit was scary and every band that followed had plenty to live up to. Gideon will no doubt be a headlining mainstay in the near future, the Hatebreed of their generation.

Progressive metallers After The Burial are quite familiar with Expo Five, this being their 3rd time at the venue in a year’s time. They also drew one of the largest and most responsive crowds of the evening, thanks largely to the professionalism of the band’s frontman and the absurd technical prowess of the instrumentalists. Unlike any frontman of the evening, ATB’s loomed over the crowd and, with every vocal delivered, moved to another part of the stage. The biggest surprise of the set was the inclusion of a song from every album the band have released, making it a must-see for the fans. With smiles on their faces and a promise to come back soon, ATB left a very satisfied crowd hungry for more as they exited the stage.

Night fell and so did the doors to the venue. For the first (and only) time of the evening lights dimmed as Veil of Maya entered in a shower of lights and creepily dramatic soundscapes. Acting as the first ‘headliner’ of the night the band, now featuring a new frontman, played for just under an hour. Veil seemed to feel that they had much to prove and their loud performance, complete with a schizophrenic, seizure-inducing light show to fit their difficult-to-follow progressive death metal sound, won over the hyper crowd. Veil blazed through their set, throwing in both well-known and new material for good measure. The newly-appointed frontman seemed right at home on the pedestal he spent much of the set on, telling the crowd to jump, scream the lyrics back at him and have a good time. He also briefly introduced Veil’s longtime fans to his eerie singing abilities, but doing so in an intriguing way in the bridges of various songs. Every member of the band was constantly headbanging and enjoying themselves, as was the crowd they were playing to. This was the busiest set of the evening and quite possibly the most important.

No one was ready for the sheer destruction Acacia Strain brought upon however. Images of walls collapsing and wrecking balls are what I would use to describe the pit area during this cacaphony. Not a soul was safe. Acacia knew they were the heaviest band of the night and they made sure everyone knew it. No other band can space out the words ‘Rest in peace’ and with every word uttered in gutturals get a rowdier response. They just can’t. Aside from the wall-of-sound nature of the rhythm, it was the unsettling guitar melodies that especially proved to me that I wasn’t going anywhere near the center for this set. Acacia were so terrorizing that following their set over half of the crowd left the venue for the evening, a true statement of devastation.

For those that stuck around however the bill’s headliner The Ghost Inside delivered an emotionally-charged, heartfelt hour of melodic hardcore. This also meant one final hurrah for responsive pits and loud singing. Louisville did a great job all evening in both of those aspects, but TGI cater especially to the acts of their crowd. Evidently feeling moved and likely exhausted much of the crowd moved in close, while the other portion stood in awe of the passion that the band displayed. No matter what TGI demonstrated their headlining abilities very well, and like the bands before them, made sure to cater to the fans of their entire discography, but pushed their newest work just as hard. Even when executing the classic disappearing act that pretty much every band does at the end of their set The Ghost Inside happily came back to encore with not 1, but 2 additional songs to the loudest cheering of the evening. It was in that moment that I realized TGI deserve this excitement.

A 7 band bill doesn’t happen often, especially one of this much quality. As of now Veil of Maya have ended their headlining tour but The Ghost Inside’s Out of Control tour is still going on for a little while longer. It is with much recommendation that I say attend this show if you’re interested in the current generation of metalcore greats. You will be gifted with a show full of life.

Matthew Powers I write reviews for CaliberTV and enjoy the existence of music.

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