Saturday, February 6, 2010

Killswitch Engage at the House of Blues - Boston, MA 2/4/10

When Killswitch Engage took the stage at about 9:30 pm at the House of Blues last Thursday night, the House of Blues crowd exploded at the opening riffs for Rose of Sharyn, the band’s hit from their 2004 album, The End of Heartache. As lead singer Howard Jones said, the band hadn’t played in Boston for far too long. Their devoted fans could not have agreed more.

Dark Tranquility and The Devil Wears Prada set the table nicely for Killswitch. Taking advantage of an early-arriving crowd, both bands did their job getting the moshing going and crowd pumping fists before the headliners.

At the first stop on their US Headline Tour, Killswitch did not disappoint. Playing on their home turf, the Massachusetts-based band ripped into a mixture of new songs and classics. During Arms of Sorrow, the crowd clapped in unison during the melodic opening notes before moshing as one as the song grew heavy. Though they are unquestionably a heavy metal band, one aspect of Killswitch’s music that cannot be understated are their deep lyrics and ability to fuse melodic harmony with brutal riffs.

Killswitch also has the ability to connect with their audience in ways that few headliners can. There is a mutual respect that is authentic and real and appreciated by the fans. A few songs in, Jones saluted a security guard at the foot of the stage for having an awesome Afro. Adam D made sure that Tom “Dice” Cavanaugh, his guitar tech who dealt with numerous technical difficulties during the show, was recognized for his efforts. It was also “Dice’s” birthday, so of course the band led a heavy metal version of Happy Birthday before launching into Take Me Away off the band’s self-titled 2009 release.

The band’s set list was almost tailor-made for the old, hardcore fans. During My Last Serenade, off 2002’s Alive or Just Breathing, the entire floor was engulfed in a most pit that was not for the weak. Although if someone fell, the pit stopped until the fallen soldier was lifted. Even though a pit is anything but friendly dancing, there is an unspoken code - if someone falls, pick them up.

Before closing the set with My Curse, off 2006’s As Daylight Dies, the band sincerely thanked the crowd for coming out and offering support. For the encore, we were treated to the band’s incredible cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver.” For a few minutes after the show, fans leaving continued singing the chorus in the hallway. At the beginning of the set, Jones asked that we make this show count. It sure did. If this tour is stopping at your city, be there.

--Josh Friedman, Boston 2010

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