Live Review: Project 96.1 Reunion with Bullet For My Valentine at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at Encore Park, October 3
By Ellen Eldridge; photo by Lisa Solomon Keel
Sunday night’s show at Verizon Amphitheater was presented by Project 96.1 as the Family Reunion tour in a similar fashion to the Family Values tours of previous years. The combination of pop-metal bands felt a bit like a dysfunctional family picnic with Stone Temple Pilots acting as the black sheep who didn’t show up at the last minute for vague reasons. All the same, the crowd welcomed headliners Shinedown, Buckcherry, Bullet For My Valentine and Atlanta local favorites Sevendust as the main events of the evening. After Sevendust’s rousing set in support of its most recent release, Cold Day Memory, the sun took a bow and descended allowing the chill in the fall air to be felt by the excited crowd. The breeze felt a bit jagged as if alluding to the harsh shapes of the Jackson guitars played by Bullet For My Valentine.
The set started with the familiar pounding of drums from the opening track, “Your Betrayal” off BFMV’s latest release, Fever. The drums continued to overpower the guitars and, at times, even the lyrics were difficult to make out. Drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas didn’t appear to break a sweat and played technical rhythms as if he were contemplating what to eat for dinner after the show. Similarly, guitarists Michael “Padge” Paget and singer/guitarist Matt Tuck also played effortlessly. Tuck spoke to the crowd minimally, but asked the audience how it was doing after the second song, and announced, “We’re Bullet For My Valentine and we’re gonna cut the bullshit and get down to business; this song is called ‘Waking the Demon.'”
Interestingly enough, Tuck only announced the titles of songs which were not on Fever though one would think most fans would be more familiar with the older songs. The band did a great job of melding pop melody with technical skill, and though “original” fans may criticize the band of being commercial, a quick look around the amphitheater assures the trick is to make the music you want to make and do it well.
Perhaps the biggest criticism of the evening would be the set ending where Matt Tuck chucked his Jackson into the speaker as Thomas kicked his drums off the stands. They had played a great set with an eager crowd well warmed for the bands to come, but some sense of grand finale or uncovered disappointment led to an anticlimactic act which just seemed to scream that these guys don’t actually appreciate what they have and how far they have come. Maybe toppling the stage was their way of saying, “No encore from an opening act.” Fans of technical playing mixed with a pop-metal edge should still check out Fever if they haven’t already done so; this truly is a band who can write technical songs with harsh themes and still make you want to sing along, that is until they throw their equipment down and walk off stage.
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