When this tour was announced, without a doubt, all attention was drawn to the two headliners, Nonpoint and Cold, and rightfully so. After attending the concert, however, I think it’s time those two start sharing the spotlight with the rest of the bands on the bill.
The first act to come on was Burning Earth, a local favorite here in Pittsburgh. The band plays a strong style of metal and hard rock, with a little bit of a grunge flair thrown in for good measure. While the crowd didn’t really get into the performance until near the end, Burning Earth really proved that they belonged to share the stage with the touring bill.
The band burned through heavy song after heavy song and really did a great job representing the underrated Pittsburgh music scene. Frontman, Bubsy had a pretty good presence about himself as he interacted with his bandmates and the crowd.
The show itself was high-octane and consisted of the band’s harder-hitting tracks. As the band exited the stage, Bubsy plugged the band’s merch booth with a simple, yet resonating message. “Help support local rock!” The crowd let out a big cheer on that note.
Edison was the next group to hit the stage. The band, which hails from New York, has gotten some buzz in magazines like Rolling Stone for their performances in Iraq and Afghanistan for the troops. The band also recently shot a music video in Iraq.
Once the band started playing, you could feel a shift in the crowd’s attitude and participation in the show. Ethan, the vocalist, was the main catalyst and reason for the crowd’s involvement. He has a natural charisma that is not only felt throughout the performances, but also through his interactions with the crowd members. His vocal stylings are reminiscent of Brandon Boyd of Incubus.
The band’s set was full of energy and original songs, but without a doubt, the highlight came when the guitarist began strumming the intro of The Beatles’ classic hit, “Helter Skelter”. To my surprise, the band actually broke into a full-fledged version of the song, something that really takes a lot of guts. While I was apprehensive about a band doing such a phenomenal song justice, my worries were instantly eased as Ethan was able to hit every single note that Paul McCartney hit in the original recording. The band played very tight throughout the song, as they had throughout the entire set. I’m just glad Todd the drummer didn’t end the song by yelling out “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”
The third band to take the stage was actually the band I had gone to see in the first place. Day of Fire, a band I’ve been following since their debut album in 2004, took the stage with fury. The 25 minute set was chocked-full of tracks off their latest album, Losing All, which just came out in January.
Throughout the entire set, vocalist Josh Brown was moving around like a man possessed. His movement could only be described as Scott Weiland-esque. The fluid dancing to the music certainly helped him establish a unique stage-presence that got the crowd into the music all the more.
The band blasted through new tracks like “Hey You”, “We are the One” and, their current big radio hit, “Lately”. One of the highlights came as they broke into a song by Full Devil Jacket, Brown’s former band. The crowd responded to this track with cheers, as many of them, no doubt remember the days of Brown rocking stages with the band.
The band ended their set with the slow and heartfelt, “Never Goodbye”, which was a strange choice of song to end such a fast-paced set. The song did end with a great jam-session that lasted the better part of four minutes. My only qualm with Day of Fire’s set is that they relied too heavily on new material. It would’ve been great to hear them dust off tracks like “Love” off of their second album, or “Through the Fire” off their debut.
Unfortunately, I was unable to stick around to hear Cold, the headliner of the performance, play. I was, however, able to catch the first half of Nonpoint’s show. The crowd was packing tighter and tighter as the band ran through their soundchecks. After they disappeared off the stage, the house music was abruptly cut off and Queen’s “We Will Rock You” began blasting. As the track began to come to the signature guitar solo, the track cut out and Nonpoint began to play.
Elias Soriano, the vocalist, had incredible energy throughout. The man was running around the stage, screaming, and climbing on top of the metal crate that was set up over the floor monitors. The crate added about three feet to his height. Add that to the already-elevated stage and Soriano was towering over the fans on the floor. This added even more to the man’s presence.
Now that Nonpoint was on stage, the crowd was really rocking. The first mosh-pit of the evening opened up and really changed the mood of everything. The band rocked through several crowd pleasing hits and kept the night going strong. Nonpoint ended the musical portion of my evening on a very good note.
While exiting Altar Bar, I decided to hit up the merchandise booths of Day of Fire and Edison. I was able to meet the guys from both bands and discuss a few things here and there with them. Both bands were incredibly gracious and willing to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
All in all, Altar Bar played perfect host for a great lineup of bands. While I didn’t see Cold perform, I can only assume the crowd continued rocking harder and harder, as they were for each continuing act thus far.
Get the latest concert news: For the latest concert news, previews, and reviews with a focus on Pittsburgh, click “subscribe” at the top of the article, or follow the Pittsburgh Concerts Examiner on Twitter.