August Burns Red at The Masquerade (Heaven)
The original Masquerade has been an iconic venue in the Atlanta music scene since it opened back in August of 1990 on North Avenue. Sure, it had more than its fair share of very reasonable complaints (fear of the floor collapsing comes to mind), but no ATLien can deny filling a pang of sorrow to finally see the old place close down to be relocated this past November. The Masquerade's temp location is in the familiar stomping grounds of Underground Atlanta in the Downtown area; solving the old floor collapsing fear, while introducing new problems that are inherent to everything in Underground Atlanta see, bad parking, poor lighting, everything leaking, the humidity cranked up to 100, etc.)
But if there was any trepidation by the Atlanta community in accepting the Masquerade's temporary location, I didn’t see it that night. August Burns Red, a metalcore five-piece-band from Lancaster, Penn., famously know how to draw a crowd. And after seeing the fan-frenzied crowd I saw that night, I have no doubt that this show could have been at abandoned warehouse on the edge of town and it probably would have still been just as packed.
Headlining a crowded bill consisting of Canadian prog-metal titans, Protest The Hero, the Australian outfit In Hearts Wake, and the local punk two-piece,‘68. August Burns Red took the stage at 9:30 kicking things off with the first track from the fan-favorite sophomore album Messengers (2007), “The Truth Of A Liar." They never dropped the energy once. Feeding off of a packed, enthusiastic, moshing crowd, the band ripped through an almost two-hour relentless set.
Fan appreciation and crowd participation were the themes of the night, with the band playing Messengers in its entirety to commemorate its ten-year-anniversary. There was no “sit and observe” for this band if you were there that night. Try as I might to just be a passive participant, there’s something infectious, almost tribal about the band’s music. By the eighth song I’d gone from trying to find an non-sweaty spot on the vinyl couches by the bar, to finding myself eight rows deep a chaotic mosh pit, arms linked with sweaty strangers.
Natural showmen through and through, August Burns Red, played the last track from Messengers, “Redemption”, and then the band cleared the stage. Then set up an additional drum set for their long-time drummer, Matt Greiner, and their bassist Dustin Davidson to engage in a four-minute-long drum battle. Afterward, visibly winded frontman and vocalist, Jak Luhur asked the crowd if they wanted one more song. That I expected. The encore prompt is the oldest stage trick in the book. What I did not expect was for Luhur to proceed to ask the crowd if they wanted “two more songs? Three more songs? Four more songs?! FIVE MORE SONGS?!” and then to proceed to play a five-song-encore, closing out with their hit “White Washed."
August Burns Red never phoned it in once and continue to prove they are well worth the price of admission where ever they should gather. Though if in the future if that happens to be a place with a working A.C and maybe not a constant two-inch deep puddle by the bar, that would be great too.