Photos + Review: August Burns Red at SOMA (San Diego, CA)

August Burns Red (Lancaster, PA), Protest the Hero (Whitby, ON), In Hearts Wake (Byron Bay, AU), and ‘68 (Atlanta, GA)
January 27th, 2017
SOMA in San Diego, CA

Ever since August Burns Red announced their Messengers tour, I’ve been living for January 27th.  In honor of Messengers turning 10 years old this summer the band is on the road playing it in full.  AND as if that isn’t enough they’re bringing along ’68, In Hearts Wake, and Protest the Hero.  I can’t even believe that lineup.  But the day finally came and it was just as bit as rad as I imagined.

I showed up early to SOMA because I didn’t want to miss a single thing.  There were a lot of like minded folks who were in and ready to go when ’68 hit the stage.  I’ve said this before but do yourself a favor and do not miss ’68.  The band is excellent.  ’68 is one part Josh Scogin and one part Michael McClellan and they are all you will ever need.  They’re noisy, gritty, in your face, hilarious, and most importantly really really good.  Even security was laughing at Scogin’s banter.  ’68 is the band of dreams friends, get on their level.  Also, the suits were a nice touch boys.

I hadn’t listened to any material from In Hearts Wake prior to catching them but their set made me wish I had.  These guys had tons of fans in the crowd and even in the venue’s security singing every word.  They all looked like they were having the time of their lives and the band didn’t look any different.  The guys hardly stopped their set except to bring out an inflatable alligator that frontman Jake Taylor used to surf the crowd.  They were incredibly fun to watch and listen to.  I will definitely be keeping tabs on these guys when they come back to town.

Canada’s very own Protest The Hero took the stage next and I wasn’t even ready.  I had been missing the chance to catch them for years and was so stoked to finally get to see them.  The band blew my mind.  I’ve never seen a crowd do so much air guitar-ing at one time but it was awesome.  I had some thoughts that maybe the band was awkwardly placed in the lineup but Protest The Hero are nothing if not smooth.  I mean they even had time to bring out a baby mid set and it was still smooth as hell.  It was the perfect transition for all the shredding August Burns Red was going to do.

August Burns Red hit the stage and immediately began to play Messengers in its entirety.  One by one the crowd got rowdier and rowdier and bodies started coming over the barricade.  “Back Burner” was intense and as they made their way through the gem of a record the shred got more and more real.  So many of the crowd’s fists were in the air and so many of the crowd’s fingers were scaling their air fret boards.  As the band made their way towards the end of Messengers playing “Black Sheep,” “An American Dream,” and “Redemption” the audience looked spent.  August Burns Red left the stage but only momentarily.  When they came back, Matt Greiner and Dustin Davidson did a killer drum solo and just like that we were all refreshed and ready for whatever the guys had to throw at us.  They began playing the first notes of “Empire” and the crowd was all up in arms again.   That followed with “Fault Line,” and then just knocked us the hell out with, “Martyr,” “Ghosts,” and finally “White Washed.” Messengers was the first record that featured ABR’s current lineup and it was so sick to get to see them finish their set with what the band has created since then.  With such a stellar show, it is no surprise these guys have become such a staple.  Definitely looking forward to whatever August Burns Red will deliver in the future.  With every year finding them better and better, it’s going to be solid, I know it.  If this tour is coming your way do yourself a favor and do not miss it.  Tour dates are here.

Thoughts?