Asking Alexandria @ Starland Ballroom

SAYREVILLE, NJ—What a better start to a tour than in the great state of New Jersey? For Asking Alexandria, their Reckless And Relentless Tour kicked off at the Starland Ballroom in support of their upcoming release of the same name. It was such a packed lineup; with Evergreen Terrace, Miss May I and Chiodos as openers. That alone is a full show, but there were still two more heavy hitters up after.

I came in halfway through Chiodos’ set, anxious to finally see how their new singer, Brandon Bolmer, was holding up. I hadn’t had the chance to see the new lineup and now, with new album, Illuminaudio, I wondered how they were going to balance the setlist. It was all familiar sounds with “Love Is a Cat From Hell,” off the new album and that feeling of, ‘I could never feel the same about Chiodos without Craig Owens,’ soon slipped away.

Maybe it was because I actually wasn’t able to find a good spot to view the band’s performance and was stuck off to the side that I didn’t notice any change at all. The music was right on point and fans were just as stoked as the band when “The Words ‘Best Friend’ Become Redefined” hit. I missed the bi-polar quality found in Owens’ voice, but the music’s dramatic nature still took over and filled the venue.

Emmure was up next and hit the stage hard. The deathcore outfit had the crowd completely under their control and mosh pits opened all around the venue. You could see all the older fans on the main floor and behind me on the second level off to the side, a bunch of younger fans opened their own little mosh pit. It made me chuckle while the people in the bar area stood still on my left side as the 12-year-olds flailed wildly around behind us.

I’ve never really listened to Emmure and couldn’t get too into their set even with the heavy vocals, a touch of melody here and there and strong musicianship. The crowd was excited for every song, especially the last, “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.” I was told later by one of my friends that it’s an oldie and beloved classic.

The sold-out house was all set for the main event, Asking Alexandria. The music began and the female fans at the front of the barrier were soon pushed even closer to the stage by their male counterparts, with arms extended, singing every word. It was quite the scene with two raised platforms on both sides of the drum kit, making required head banging during breakdowns fill the whole stage.

It was my first time seeing Asking Alexandria play and they definitely turned me into a fan. It was non-stop running around the stage, songs sounded great and were only enhanced by the new and improved vocals of confirmed-sober singer Danny Worsnop. But not drinking before performing didn’t stop him from pulling out rock star moves with a larger than life ego on stage and mic stand draped in bras.

They played “Breathless,” a new track I’m familiar with that blended perfectly with the entire set. These British boys were grateful for the bands on tour, even confessing that they’ve never seen Emmure, so to fix that, they figured to just tour along with them. While we didn’t hear any of their Skid Row covers, they played a good preview of the upcoming release, ending on “The Final Episode.”