Hatebreed wrapped the second leg of their 25th anniversary tour in Dallas on Sunday night. The Connecticut metalcore band led an excellent tour package that blended hardcore punk and heavy metal. The lineup included hardcore punk legends Agnostic Front and alternative metal lifers Prong, with a healthy dose of death metal provided by Florida’s Obituary and California’s Skeletal Remains. No doubt aided by the Memorial Day weekend, Gas Monkey Live was packed with fans who turned up to adore every band, not just the headliners.
Skeletal Remains kicked things off at 6:30pm as the crowd was still making their way inside the venue. While the band was tearing things up while most people were still in the parking lot searching for a space, they still drew a healthy crowd of fans and put on a solid set of metal that got people geared up for the bands who followed.
A little after 7:00, lower east side New York stalwarts Prong hit the stage. Led by guitarist/vocalist Tommy Victor, the band was rounded out by Jason Christopher on bass and Aaron Rossi on drums. The last time Prong was in town, at the same venue, they were opening for Sepultura and Testament. The band played a solid set, but the crowd was typically Dallas: ambivalent and phone-gazing. But, Prong fans were out in force this time and properly received the band with warmth and enthusiasm. Not only did the pit get churning, two at once at one point, but the fans sang along just as loud to “Ultimate Authority” from 2016’s X: No Absolutes as they did to “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck.” Prong was also celebrating the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough album, Cleansing, and included “Cut-Rate,” “Whose Fist is This Anyway?,” and “Broken Peace” from that album in their setlist. Victor was all smiles throughout the set and Christopher added a potent dose of intensity. Rossi’s drums were among the highlights of the set as he pounded his kit with precision.
Agnostic Front followed Prong, and at this point the crowd was ready to let off some serious steam. Sadly, the Pit Bulls didn’t have a very strong presence for the first two sets and the pits were plagued by assholes putting people in headlocks and the uninitiated randomly pushing against the flow of the majority. But, by the time Agnostic Front went on, things had become more orderly, or at least as orderly as a vicious mosh pit can possibly be. The band fired through their set with aggression and admiration for the response received from the Dallas crowd. At one point, guitarist Vinny Stigma took his guitar to the crowd and stood in the middle of the pit that churned around him. Of course, there was one d-bag who immediately took the opportunity to grab a selfie. Sorry, there’s nothing hardcore about taking a selfie while Vinny fuckin’ Stigma is rocking out in the middle of a whirlwind of flailing bodies. Later in the set, two young fans made their way onstage to rock out with the band. The guitarists and vocalist Roger Miret made a point of rocking out with the kids, encouraging them to pump their fists or let the horns fly. Indeed, Agnostic Front is for the children.
The crowd got about 15-minutes to catch their breath before Obituary hit the stage. And when they did, the pit picked up where it left off as the band powered their way through material across seven albums. Two songs from Back From The Dead and a song each from Cause of Death, Frozen in Time, Slowly We Rot, The End Complete, World Demise, and 2017’s self-titled album were played. The band were without bassist Terry Butler, whose daughter tragically lost her life in a car accident last week, but that didn’t keep them from putting on a great set, that was no doubt played with heavy hearts. I’m sure the response from the crowd made it easier for the band. Each member was dialed in as they blazed through their set.
The Gas Monkey was at a fever pitch by the time Hatebreed hit the stage. Playing close to 20-songs that spanned their discography, the band was razor-sharp and Jamey Jasta’s vocals were powerful. Throughout most of the show, Jasta acted as much like a party host as he did a lead vocalist, as he constantly interacted with the crowd and encouraged mosh-pits, pogo-ing, and sing-alongs. The crowd responded to his every command with enthusiasm which helped give the whole evening a celebratory vibe. For as many shows as I’ve seen at Gas Monkey, this was the first show where security stood around the perimeter of the pit. Funny thing, the security dudes standing on my side were banging their heads along with the music most of the night. And while that pit was monstrous and numerous crowd surfers were flung around, I didn’t see anyone get hurt or any fights break out. Indeed, it was a physical night, but the crowd wasn’t there to start shit, rather they were there to hear their favorite Hatebreed songs and celebrate the band they’ve loved for more than two decades.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Robb Miller (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –