Asher Roth Concert Review From The Barbary In Philadelphia, PA

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(PCM) There are some nights when I absolutely adore my job, as it allows me to experience the very best of the best in every genre of music in a live atmosphere, and I experienced such a night when attending the recent Asher Roth performance at The Barbary in Philadelphia, PA.

The vibe of the show overall all took me back to my early days as a concert attendee, when me and a group of friends would crowd into a small, dimly lit bar with everyone packed together like sardines and the artist performing was able to get up close and personal with the crowd as everyone comes together to embark on the same musical journey. Sometimes it is a shame that I have to look at that as being something different now, as I truly feel this is the way that music is supposed to be experienced.

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As Asher Roth took to The Barbary’s tiny stage, all of those feelings rushed back to me and I thought to myself ‘this is real’. No outlandish stage production, no smoke and mirrors, just Roth and his band and believe me, that is all that was needed.

Roth and the band were giving the audience a taste of what’s to come by performing Roth’s upcoming new album “Retrohash” from start to finish and it was fantastic. The album is set to be self-released on April 22nd and Roth claims when speaking about the new album, “I made music that I would want to hear, music that felt good to me. We didn’t play by any rules and that makes me proud. There shouldn’t be any rules in making music. RetroHash is a genuine expression of the artist and person I am.”

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The songs that make up “Retrohash” truly do show a different side to Roth and it is refreshing to see an artist that isn’t afraid to experiment and create an album that is a bit more out of the box than what you would normally expect. I like to be surprised and I feel that the fans like to be surprised and this surprise was definitely a pleasant one.

Thank you, Asher Roth for reminding me again why I equally love both music and my job.

See more of our photographer Ken Schuler’s images from the show below!

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Excision And Dirty Phonics Nearly Blow The Roof Off The Electric Factory…Literally!

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(PCM) I think I may have truly had a once in a lifetime experience when attending the recent Excision show at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA. It was the first time that I can say that I have literally felt the music. Once Excision dropped the first notes of bass, I could feel my esophagus rattle and my hair follicles felt as if they were moving by an unseen force. It was definitely one of the most intense feelings I have ever experienced while attending a show.

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Not only was it just the sound, but Excision added some of the most incredible visual elements to the show with his famous Executioner stage set up. It was mind-blowing!

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Both Excision and openers Dirty Phonics filled the room with an atmosphere of raw and unbridled energy and it was like nothing I have ever witnessed. They certainly didn’t call this tour The 150,000 Watts Tour for nothing. It was by far and away the absolute loudest show I have ever attended. Fair warning, ear plugs are a very, very good investment for this show. There were times when the music was so loud it was a bit disorienting, but that only added to the experience of literally being swept up completely in the sound. Both Excision and Dirty Phonics killed it on stage and certainly left fans with quite a memorable concert experience.

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Being the hardcore rock and metal fan that I am, it is always a fascinating experience for me to experience a show that is a bit outside the box for me personally and in the end I am always glad that I did. Attending an EDM show, which in this case happened to be Excision, is like entering a different world whose inhabitants exist primarily to love one another, dance and have a good time. They are so embracing. It reminds me very much of a modern era version of the hippie movement from the 1960′s. Instead of jam bands and folk rock it is now DJ’s and computers, parents still don’t understand it and all of the kids want to be a part of it.

Photography credit: Ken Schuler Photography

 

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HIM Perform To A Sold-Out Crowd In Philly! Review And Photos!

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Outside the TLA on South Street in Philadelphia, tons of green clad revelers were drinking the Saturday night before St. Patrick’s Day. Inside was even more crowded as HIM and Anathema sold out the TLA.

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Anathema went on stage right on time at 8pm.  They are a progressive rock band from Liverpool, England with a similar style to some of HIM’s music, making this a good opener for this show.  The third song they played was called “Untouchable”, which they told the audience could be downloaded free off of their website (http://www.anathema.ws/).  They also played “A Simple mistake” and “Fragile Dreams”.  They played about a forty minute set; the crowed really liked them but was anxiously awaiting HIM.

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HIM is a tough band to put into a genre so they sort of invented their own, referred to as “Love-Metal”, which generally fits. Lead singer Ville Valo captivates the audience with his baritone vocals while the band flawlessly backs him up. HIM fans are really die-hard.  They dress like the band members, go to dozens of shows, and even get tattoos just like the band members have.

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The award winning band HIM from Finland entered the stage to the screams of their adoring fans.  They played crowd pleasers like “Rip Out the Wings of a Butterfly” and “Right Here in My Arms” along with a couple songs from their latest album Tears on Tape, which was released nearly a year ago.  They included the title track “Tears on Tape” and “All Lips Go Blue”. This tour the band will travel through North and South America until April, making up shows that were canceled last spring due to Valo having a respiratory illness.  HIM’s fans were thrilled to see them back in Philadelphia and as usual HIM’s performance did not disappoint them.

Review and photos by: Megan C. Brooks

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Concert Review: Imagine Dragons Continue To Sit High On Top Of The Music World!

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(PCM) I can not even begin to count the ways that I love Imagine Dragons. From my very first taste of the band’s debut album “Night Visions” I was hooked and seeing them live only cements the fact that Imagine Dragons has universal appeal to the utmost degree.

Music can be a truly unifying force, so when a band like Imagine Dragons can come along and smash all of the genre and listener stereotypes and bring people together through their infectious melodies and high energy performance they have definitely captured everyone’s attention.

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Such was the case at the band’s recent headlining performance at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ. An incredibly diverse array of fans gathered together to rock out with Imagine Dragons and create a sense of unity that was spearheaded by the amazing musicianship which was pouring forth from the stage.

The “Night Visions” album has sold over 2 million copies to date and the band have pretty much been on the road since the album’s release back in 2012, however as singer Dan Reynolds addressed the sold-out crowd, he could not have been more humble. It is quite apparent that the band does not take their success for granted and graciously thanked the crowd for their unwavering love and support. He claimed that the band “never dreamed” that they would be playing to crowds in sold-arenas back when they were only a small-bar band from Las Vegas and the band is thrilled to be living their dream come true each and every day.

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The band’s energetic drumming skills and searing guitar riffs paired with Reynold’s captivating vocals held the audience spellbound. The instrumental skill of this band is impeccable and I, for one, can not wait to see what they are able to do with album number two, which after this tour, the band is taking some time off the road to work on.

The band’s set was made up of tracks from “Night Visions” with a excellent surprise cover of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” thrown into the mix. I was thrilled to hear tracks such as “Rocks”, “Cha-Ching (Till We Grow Older)”, “The River”, and the heart-wrenching “30 Lives” make it into the set. The band held off on their many radio singles until the end of the night with a one, two, three punch  of “Demons”, “On Top of The World”, and “Radioactive” to end out the main set. Their encore consisted of “Bleeding Out/Monster/Nothin Left To Say” to end a truly charismatic performance which certainly did it’s part in keeping Imagine Dragons on top of the music world.

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I also have to take a moment to applaud the evenings two opening acts Nico Vega and The Naked and Famous. Both band’s did a fantastic job of setting the musical tone for the evening and certainly held the audiences attention in their own right.

The Naked and Famous singer/keyboardist Alisa Xayalith showcased her amazing vocal ability and the vocal interplay with singer/guitarist Thom Powers was hypnotizing. The band’s set consisted of a solid mix of infectious melodies paired up with synth-pop rhythmic sensibilities that make them a true delight to see live.

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The band is touring behind their latest album “In Rolling Waves” and much live Imagine Dragons certainly puts the smash on genre stereotypes and brings to the table a delightful blend of both indie rock and pop that is deliciously catchy.

Majority of the crowd were up and on their feet and most were belting out the band’s hit single “Young Blood” at the top of their lungs, as the band closed out their set.

Imagine Dragons photos courtesy: Mike Sievila
The Naked and Famous photos courtesy: Matt Christine

More photography from the show can be found below: Continue reading

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Buckcherry And Monster Truck Rock Philadelphia!

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(PCM) Despite all the crazy and nasty winter weather we have been experiencing on the east coast lately, there was a rock n’ roll fire blazing at the Trocadero in Philly during the recent Buckcherry show.

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The blazing evening of rock got off to a solid start when Canadian rockers Monster Truck took the the stage. While, I can not speak for the entire crowd, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s set. Monster Truck’s sound is incredibly reminiscent of the blusey and soul-tinged bands of the seventies. Their music truly takes the listener on a journey with searing guitar riffs, intense vocals, and just the right amount of vintage appeal.

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There were definitely a few people in the crowd that weren’t exacting vibing on Monster Truck’s set, as it is quite different than the party rock atmosphere people expect from a Buckcherry concert. I urge these individuals to open up their minds a bit and give this band the respect that they deserve. They are an immensely talented band and I absolutely cannot wait to catch them out again on the summer festival circuit later this summer.

We had a chance to catch up with Monster Truck prior to the show, check out our exclusive interview below:

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The party truly got started when Buckcherry took to the stage totally igniting the room with their raw energy. As, always, Buckcherry put on one hell of an amazing live show and it is always a wild night. Vocalist Josh Todd held the audience captive with his incredible vocal ability and paired up with heavy-hitting shreds from guitarists Keith Nelson and Stevie D, this band provides all you could ever ask for in a live performance.

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The band’s set list consisted of all the “usual suspects” as the band lovingly refers to their hit singles including “Lit Up”, “Sorry”, “All Night Long”, “Everything” and of course “Crazy Bitch’. Being a huge Buckcherry fan I was thrilled to hear “For The Movies” which in my opinion is one of the band’s most heart-wrenching songs. I also wholeheartedly enjoyed the band’s clever play covering the hit Icona Pop tune “I Love It (Say F**k It)”, which was just brilliant!

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Buckcherry are still touring behind their last album “Confessions” and when we were able to catch up with vocalist Josh Todd prior to the show, he confirmed to us that a new EP is on the way later this spring. Todd tells us that he is incredibly excited about the EP and feels that it will truly be a “must-have” for all Buckcherry fans. You can check out the full interview below:

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Concert Review: Flogging Molly Bring The Final Green 17 Tour To Philly

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Words and photography by: Megan C. Brooks
Monday night at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia was the final Flogging Molly Green 17 tour. Don’t panic, there will be more Flogging Molly tours- just not leading up to St Patrick’s Day as they have been for the past ten years.
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The show kicked off with the local Philadelphia band Residuels, an eclectic two piece rock band with a somewhat retro sound that’s hard to classify, whose set was brief but impressive.
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The second band, indie rockers from Oceanside CA, was The Drowning Men who also opened for Flogging Molly in 2011. They too are a band that is hard to really pigeon hole. The lead singer, Nato Bardeen, plays several instruments including a mandolin and a theremin. The only thing I could criticize about this performance wasn’t the bands fault; the sound was really unbalanced. There was way too much bass and drums, you could barely hear the vocals. The guitars and keys were just a murmuring sound under it all. The Drowning Men have two recordings on Borstal Beat, which is Flogging Molly’s own label.
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For those who don’t know Flogging Molly is an Irish-American folk-rock band. As always the band put on a stellar show, with their unique blend of traditional instruments like the banjo, tin whistle, and accordion combined with electric guitars and bass. Lead singer Dave King has a story or an introduction before each song. Everyone booed when he told the audience that this was the last Green 17 Tour, but he went on to say that it meant they were going to play the very best from each of their five albums and they did.

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King also introduced band members, told stories of his childhood in Ireland and even pointed out his son in the crowd. The played a very long set including Drunken Lullabies, Life in a Tenement Square, Us of Lesser Gods and Swagger. Flogging Molly is an extremely talented band with great showmanship and tons of onstage energy. This tenth annual Green 17 tour will continue through March 23, ending in New Orleans. After that the band is set to record their sixth album. Continue reading

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Concert Review: Bury The Hatchet Tour Featuring Falling In Reverse And Escape The Fate

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(PCM) Recently, the highly anticipated Bury The Hatchet tour featuring Falling In Reverse and Escape The Fate along with openers Chelsea Grin and Survive This exploded into the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA.

It has been quite a long time since I have seen so many excited fans waiting to get into a show at The Factory, the line was seriously wrapped around the entire building. Once inside, fans packed both the floor and the balcony of the venue eagerly awaiting a show that many thought would never ever happen.

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Over the years there has been a very highly publicized feud between both Falling In Reverse and Escape The Fate, so fans were completed shocked at the end of the last year when it was announced that the two bands had hung up their issues from the past and were coming together to embark on the Bury The Hatchet Tour.

It was so refreshing to see both the bands and their legions of die-hard fans finally coming together and proving that the power of music without a doubt has the ability to be quite a unifying force.

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I had a chance to catch up with Escape The Fate bassist and founding member Max Green. We were able to discuss the tour, how he is dealing with sobriety on the road, and what is next on the horizon for the band.

The crowd was a bundle of energy and once Escape The Fate took to the stage, the fans just exploded. The bands nearly hour long set included fan favorites such as “Ungrateful”, “Picture Perfect” and  “Gorgeous Nightmare” along with my personal favorites “One For The Money” and “This War Is Ours”.

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If we thought the crowd was energetic for Escape The Fate, they really went wild once Falling In Reverse took to the stage. The band rocked right out the gate with songs such as “Rolling Stone”, “I’m Not A Vampire” and “Fashionably Late”. It was especially fun to hear the band’s current single “Bad Girls Club” in the live setting.

For an encore the moment that fans were waiting for, finally arrived. Falling in Reverse were joined on stage by Escape the Fate to perform “Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliche” and “Situations”. Front men for both band’s, Ronnie Radke and Craig Mabbitt, did a fantastic job trading off vocals and proving to everyone in attendance that they have indeed buried the hatchet once and for all.

Photography credit: Ken Schuler

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Concert Review: Reverend Horton Heat Ignites In Philly

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(PCM) We recently attended the Reverend Horton Heat show at Philly’s historic Trocadero Theater and I have to say that it was the most amount a fun I have had at a show in quite some time.

Reverend Horton Heat brought along openers The Creepshow and Nekromantix and a very special guest Deke Dickerson. Despite the snow and freezing cold temperatures outside, the pyschobilly fire was definitely blazing full force inside once these amazing bands took to the stage.

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Reverend Horton Heat are currently touring behind their recently released new album “Rev” and only appear to be getting better and better with age. The “Rev” marks the band’s eleventh album release and the feedback that it has been receiving thus far has been fantastic. The trio that make up Reverend Horton Heat, Jim Heath (guitar and vocals), Jimbo Wallace (stand-up bass) and Scott Churilla (drums) put on an incredibly engaging performance and do an absolutely phenomenal job of keeping the rockabilly genre alive and kicking within the musical realm.

It was incredible watch the crowd as they interacted with the music, not just during Reverend Horton Heat’s set, but during both Necromantix and The Creepshow as well. The songs from all three bands made you want to get up, let loose and dance your heart out, which was definitely what was happening throughout majority of the evening on the Trocadero floor.

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While Jim may have toned down a few elements of his show over the years, one thing definitely remains the same and that is that the music and the performance is fun. Everyone appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and whether the Rev is snarling or smiling he and the rest of the band are without a doubt showing everyone a damn good time.

Photography credit: Ken Schuler

Additional Reverend Horton Heat photos:

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Concert Review: Pixies Play To A Sold-Out Crowd In Philly

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Pixies are currently in the midst of the North American leg of their 2013-2014 world tour and we were able to catch their outstanding performance to a sold-out crowd at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA.

The band just recently released “EP-2″ back in early January and their set was a solid mix of both old favorites and a few newer songs spliced in throughout the evening. Pixies are a band of little words once they grace the stage, however their music speaks in volumes and the audience was held mesmerized throughout the band’s entire performance.

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Throughout their history, Pixies have gone through quite a few shake-up’s over the years. The band originally disbanded in 1993, reunited again in 2004 and then bassist Kim Deal parted ways with the band last year. While officially there has been no plan to replace Kim,  Paz Lenchantin has currently taken on the role of touring bassist for the band and at least in our opinion, is doing an absolutely phenomenal job.

The band is sounding fresh and tight and appeared to be having a wonderful time as they played their heart and soul out to the voracious crowd. Vocalist Black Francis creates such a presence on stage and his voice is sounding better than ever. Even though there was no encore at the show, the band plowed through a 30-song set playing hits such as “Debaser”, “The Sad Punk”, “U-Mass”, “Head On” and “Monkey’s Gone To Heaven” fairly early on in the evening and closed out with “The Holiday Song” and “Nimrod’s Son”.

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The band will head to South America at the end of March for a series of major festivals including performances at Lollapaloozas in Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and then return to Europe  for the summer festival circuit.

For the most up-to-date information on the band, be sure to visit their Official Website!

Photography credit: Ken Schuler

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Stone Sour, Pop Evil And Stolen Babies Play To A Sold-Out Crowd In Philly

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(PCM) It was an epic way to start the 2014 concert season by catching Stone Sour, Pop Evil and Stolen Babies play to a completely sold-out crowd at TLA in Philadelphia, PA. This show was sold-out for good reason, as both Stone Sour and Pop Evil are two of the most hard-hitting and talented rock bands gracing the rock n’ roll landscape these days. Add in the artistic flair of Stolen Babies and you are provided with a monumental evening of pure unadulterated rock n’ roll.

LA-based artistic and experimental rockers Stolen Babies opened the show and provided those in attendance with quite a visual treat. It is not everyday that you witness vocalist Dominique Persi rocking out with an accordion, or anyone rocking out with an accordion for that matter, and the audience appeared to be quite mesmerized by the antics taking place on the stage.

Stolen Babies are still currently touring behind their album “Naught” and if you have a chance I strongly encourage you to get to the show early and check this band out. We had a chance to catch up with Stolen Babies Dominique Persi after their set (please forgive the Stone Sour encore playing the background).  You can view the full interview below:

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When Pop Evil blazed their way onto the stage, all eyes were hooked on vocalist Leigh Kakaty as the band launched into their hit single “Deal With The Devil”. Kakaty has an almost hypnotic presence on the stage and he along with the rest of the band made up of guitarist Nick Fueling, bassist Matt DiRito, guitarist Dave Grahs, and drummer Chachi Riot run enough raw adrenaline through the stage the shake-up the crowd at their core.

The boys in Pop Evil truly know how to commandeer the stage. This is not the type of band who comes out there and stands in one spot just playing the songs, these guys are running all over the stage and engaging with the crowd. Matt DiRito is an absolute beast with his bass, swinging it in all directions while head-banging his way all over the stage and drummer Chachi Riot is without a doubt one of the most energetic drummers I have ever had the chance to witness. There is no sitting idly behind the drum kit for this guy. He is standing up, jumping around, and banging on those drums as if his life depended on it….truly a sight to behold.

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Pair up the band’s incredible instrumentation with Kakaty’s amazing voice and this band is just unstoppable. Pop Evil is currently touring behind their third album “Onyx” and are certainly more than geared up for whatever 2014 will bring their way. We had a chance to catch up with Pop Evil drummer Chachi Riot prior to the show, you can view the full interview below:

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The moment finally arrived when Stone Sour hit the stage and the crowd went absolutely wild. The band opened up with the title track from their recently released two-disc concept album “The House Of Gold and Bones Pt’s 1 and 2″ and held the audience at full attention throughout their entire set. Stone Sour vocalist, Corey Taylor is one of the most captivating and engaging front-men in the business today. He has the voice of both an angel and a demon combined together to create the perfect package. Taylor is able to flawlessly channel raw aggression and heart-wrenching melodies crafting a performance style that is one hundred percent his own.

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The band performed a solid set of both new material and fan favorites including a cover of the Judas Priest classic “Heading Out to the Highway” to close out the show. There were times with I believe that the crowd was actually singing along louder than Taylor during certain parts of the show. I certainly had a great time belting out my personal favorites such as “RU486″, “Inhale”, “30/30-150″, and “Absolute Zero” to name a few. Several times throughout the night Taylor looked completely humbled by the amount of love and adoration that was coming back at him from the crowd. Stone Sour have a way about them that make you fall in love with the band over and over again despite the amount of times you may or may not have seen them live.

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Stone Sour provide a breath of fresh air to the musical landscape and certainly put on quite a memorable performance. Do yourself a favor and definitely check out this tour, as I promise it will not disappoint.

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