All Stars Tour @ Irving Plaza

NEW YORK, NY—I was one of the many that packed the sold out house for this summer’s All Stars Tour at Irving Plaza. The summer heat lingered inside, making the heavy sounds that were ahead for the day even more intense. I like to compare the All Stars Tour to Warped Tour, with a day-long lineup that features a good mix of bands and allows for short sets, which sometimes leaves you wondering what else a particular band has up their sleeves.

I’d missed out on Betraying The Martyrs, who had recently graced the stage at this year’s Mayhem Festival and left me wanting to see them again. Another band I heard fans still buzzing about when I arrived was Stick To Your Guns, who had released their fourth album, Diamond, earlier this year.

Walking in, I noticed Dance Gavin Dance’s guitarist Will Swan chatting with fans about the day’s set. From what I gathered, Swan, along with bandmates, did material from their side-project Secret Band, which is done without singer Jonny Craig. And for those unaware, Craig had been kicked off the tour not too long before the NYC date.

Putting scandal and the bit of disappointment from missing the earlier bands aside, it was time for the heavy hitters of the night. A Skylit Drive was finishing up their set and would be the most melodic and easiest for me to get into for the evening. I was thrown off a bit with their cover of Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie,” but got right back with fans when they closed out their set with “The Cali Buds.”

The Word Alive has been on my radar for a while now, but I would say the evening’s performance cemented them into my rotation of bands to keep an eye out for. Their music sounded great and frontman Telle Smith was on point and completely feeding off the crowd. I’m sure the short set time was frustrating for them having just released their new album, Life Cycles, this summer.

Standing out as leaders of the evening were Winds Of Plague, who have never failed to impress me with their live shows. The command vocalist Jonathan Cooke has on stage is undeniable. Winds Of Plague were probably the heaviest band on the bill in regards to their music, the evil persona brought by Cooke, and the moshing on the floor. I took a breather for their set and remained upstairs with a bird’s eye view of the chaos below.

I was a bit curious to see how I See Stars would fit between Winds Of Plague and headliners, Suicide Silence. Maybe they would provide a nice break for the crowd with their incorporation of electronics in their music and then again, maybe they would give the hardest performance I’ve seen from them. Especially with an old fan favorite, “The Common Hours,” the whole room went insane.

People were calming down while Suicide Silence’s gear was being set up. You could see a long day’s exhaustion on the faces of the crowd, but a reserve of energy they were holding out for the final band. With a longer set than the previous bands, Suicide Silence provided songs from last year’s release, The Black Crown, with a couple older tracks mixed in.

It’s tiring just watching vocalist Mitch Lucker move about the stage while also taking time to perch himself on the stage’s front platform to let out screams. Behind him were headbanging guitarists and bassist, who were mirrored by fans. Ending out the night was their cover of Deftones’ “Engine No. 9.” The All Stars brought the heavy, melodic, and it’s simply the best alternative to the numerous summer outdoor festivals.