Words by Emmie Ellis | Photos by Mark Ellis Photography
Heading to the Belasco theatre is a first for us, and walking into this historical and beautiful building, we’re not quite sure what to expect. The one thing we do know is that Escape The Fate are performing tonight and we can’t wait to see them!
Hitting the stage first is GARZI with their high energy to get the night going. The band’s original rap/rock sound instantly has the crowd engaged and enthralled. From the heavy riffs to the driving beats, this is a band who have that special something. The huge waves of energy coming from the stage are infectious and as GARZI instructs the crowd to join in there is no hesitation in everyone throwing themselves into the music. It’s clear that there are a lot of fans here who know GARZI’s music already and there’s now a whole host of new fans for those who didn’t. While the set may be short and sweet, we do get to hear all of his hits including “Demonstrate” and “Sick Of Me”. It’s been a masterclass in opening a show as the room is now fully ready to go.
Up next are LA’S own Stitched Up Heart and the room has started to fill out more with fans ready for the show. The switch from the last band to these guys’ heavier and gothic sound seems to get the crowd even more excited. From the minute they take to the stage, the whole band throws themselves into the performance and are clearly having a great time doing so. Frontwoman, Mixi is captivating to watch as she performs both clean and growling vocals all while performing each emotion in the music. There’s always something special about performing in your hometown but I’ve no doubt that these guys perform every night like they have tonight by putting on a hell of a show.
It’s still early in the night and it’s time for Point North to take over. Changing the musical vibe once more, these guys are definitely more Pop Punk and with that they keep the room filled with that incredible energy that we’ve had so far. It is another hometown show for this trio and with the way the crowd sang along with “Dark Days”, it’s clear they are well loved. It’s easy to see why though, with their infectious hooks and melodies, along with a huge stage presence, they have the whole package. With a setlist of hits including “Below the Belt” and “Gasoline”, these guys leave you with a smile on your face and a tiredness from bouncing around the whole time.
There’s just one more band to go before our headliners take the stage and this time it’s Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S). Kicking things off with “Destiny”, these guys aren’t holding back any punches as they give everything they’ve got to the performance. Not only is the room now fuller but there is a whole different vibe with these guys playing. The heavier and more aggressive sound to the band helps drive the crowd into a frenzy as vocalist Craig Owens helps them along like a conductor to an orchestra. As the set continues with “Graveyard Dancing”, a few crowd surfers begin to come over the barrier and the chaos continues as the band play “Gold” and “Longest Road”. Owens enthusiasm never wanes throughout as he commands the stage backed by the rest of the band who also keep up those same energy levels. These guys may not have been headlining but it sure feels like they could be at this point!
The room is well and truly warmed up by the four bands who have already played but there is still excitement in the air for our headline act. With the lights down and the stage screens flickering, there’s a chant of Escape the Fate, as the crowd gears up to see them perform. Frontman Craig Mabbitt enters the dark stage alone to begin “Forgive Me” before the song kicks in and the rest of the band join him. Mabbitt notes that he’s loving the energy of the room already but as soon as they play ‘The Flood” the room explodes and a circle pit breaks out. The band are right there with the crowd though as they continue through the set filled with huge hits including “Live Fast, Die Beautiful”, “H8 Myself” and “Broken Heart”. They are in high spirits as well as Craig follows guitarist Matti Hoffman round the stage during his solos with balloons for his birthday and has us all singing Happy Birthday to him. Hoffman makes use of the risers at the front of stage to perform these solos which only highlights the incredible talent that he has. However, it’s his big solo towards the end of the show which sees him alone on the stage that really stands out. The whole set is electric and performed to an incredible standard that for everything the band gives the crowd gives straight back. There’s something for all fans too in the set list from songs from their latest album ‘Out of the Shadows’ such as “Low” to their earlier stuff from their self-titled album with “Gorgeous Nightmares”. What you might not expect however is a cover of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” but what I can tell you is that they absolutely smashed it and in terms of covers is one of the best I’ve heard! As the night draws to a close there’s time for “Cheers to Goodbye” complete with a confetti shower and “One for the Money” which saw Mabbitt head up to the balcony to end with a bang. It’s been a huge show and one that you don’t want to have missed!
Photos by Mark Ellis Photography