Parkway Drive Packs Union Hall Nov. 5th, 2015 & Thy Art is Murder Almost Steals the Show [Concert Review]

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Union Hall in the heart of Edmonton, AB was in for a shit kicking of heart thumping metalcore bands on Thursday, November 5th, 2015 as Parkway Drive’s IRE Album Tour came through the small venue. It was an almost sold out show, as the band’s last visit to Edmonton was in 2010 at the Van’s Warped Tour. Despite a great line-up of bands, and great performances. The concert was overshadowed by a brutal sound system that desperately needs to be upgraded, especially if the venue plans to host bands of this calibre again.

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Opening for the night, was In Hearts Wake. Starting fairly early into the night, they played for few, and for the many standing in line and getting through the doors. The people who saw them seemed to enjoy them. However, in comparison to other acts of the night, there wasn’t anything memorable about them. They showed up, played their songs, and left. With the whiney, higher pitched melodic vocals, despite some deeper screaming, it left a bad taste in my mouth and made the band seem out of place at this event.

After what was a shorter set, and having a good mass of people through the pat-down lines, the audience was really ready for a band that could make them move. The deathcore band, Thy Art is Murder from Blacktown, Australia answered the call with thundering breakdowns, breakneck instrumental speed and punishing vocals of Chris McMahon who was hard to miss. The range from low to high screams on this guy is impressive to say the least. They sounded great despite the limited sound quality. He also addressed the crowd consistently on his love for foreplay and blow jobs. The concert-goers could not get enough of the group, leading to chants of “One more song!” After the completion of the set. Thy Art is Murder truly blew me away (pun intended) since prior to the show I had only heard few select songs of theirs. Getting to hear more material and see how well the group performs live; I have since purchased all of their albums…

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With Thy Art is Murder leaving a very hard act to follow, Miss May I was up next. Seeing them before, I thought I knew what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised when the band fired up. They performed well, produced tons of energy for the fans and really left everything they had on the stage. Plenty of the people in Union Hall were familiar with the band and their songs, who showed it by singing along to every song performed. The crowd didn’t stop moving while the band played, even partaking in a vicious “Wall of Death” midway through Miss May I’s performance. I myself was totally locked in on drummer Jerod Boyd, who was a blast to watch. Drum sticks spinning and flying about, it made his intricate playing visually appealing as well as sounding totally on point for the band’s set. After wrapping up their set, lead vocalist Levi Benton was happy to walk around the tightly packed venue to snap some selfies with fans.

Now the anticipation was at its highest. Sound check was done for the main act, the floor was jammed packed and chants of “Park-way-Drive” filled the hall. After a long wait, Parkway Drive emerged to the stage, being led by guitarist Jeff Ling in a wheel chair who suffered an injury to his hamstring before the IRE Tour began. The group quickly jumped into their set list and opened with Destroyer, from their new album, IRE (2015). Parkway Drive’s enthusiasm and intensity showed through each song they played. After a few songs, lead vocalist Winston McCall paused, gauged the crowd and stated,

“This smile, this smile right here (pointing to his smile)… Means it’s a fucking good one [show]!’ The band stuck to a lot of their newer material and fans showed their love for Parkway Drive by singing and screaming along to all songs, old and new.

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The encore consisted of two songs and was opened up with Crushed, also from the IRE (2015) album. The security braced themselves as a wave of crowd surfers flooded toward the stage. McCall addressed the crowd at the end of Home Is For The Heartless (Deep Blue, 2010), their final song of the evening, exclaiming his love for everyone and how he couldn’t wait to be back. Fans reciprocated with screams and and once again chants of, “Park-way-Drive.”

Despite all the band’s performing well, the only complaints of the night from myself and other concert-goers was the sound quality of the venues system.  Although there were moments of clarity, band’s sets came out muffled and dense, almost sounding muddy and taking away from the live performance quality. The other issue being that Parkway Drive didn’t play the fan favourite – Romance Is Dead from their album Killing With a Smile (2006) . I can imagine the band has played the song a thousand times and doesn’t get the same kick out of it, but for the fans, it would have been icing on the cake.

Rating:

Parkway Drive Set List:

  1. Destroyer
  2. Dying to Believe
  3. Carrion
  4. Dark Days
  5. Karma
  6. Vice Grip
  7. Idols and Anchors
  8. Deliver Me
  9. Wild Eyes
  10. Bottom Feeder
  11. Swing
    Encore:
  12. Crushed
  13. Home Is For The Heartless
  • kam

    Hi Ashton, my name is Kam from Union Hall, we greatly appreciate that you took the time to attend the show and write the very descriptive and intuitive review here.

    I rather surprised however to hear that the sound quality was not up to your hearing pleasure an would love to get your further feedback on the draw backs. Mainly because we just invested nearly $100k into a brand new sound and lighting system in 2015 to be best suited to accommodate the specific requirements of tours. We use some of alberta best and brightest A1 sound engineers that often engineer rexall tours. Th feedback I was given from the bands and management of the Parkway Drive and support that evening after their performance was that they were thrilled to perform to to sell out crowd in such an intimate venue with arena style sound system. The tour engineer mixed the show and had full control of all audio quality features on our brand new JBL audio PA and had zero issues or complaints towards the quality of the equipment or sound sound the end of the night for us.

    From what I’m understanding you felt:

    “The concert was overshadowed by a brutal sound system that desperately needs to be upgraded, especially if the venue plans to host bands of this calibre again”

    I believe I have addressed that the sound system is new and upgraded to handle artists such as Chromeo, Gwar, Batile, Arkels, Keisza, Akon, Gaslight Anthem, Madball in the last 6 months to name a few who have performed on this PA system and once again the feedback was great from all tours.

    So, this is why I’m concerned and reaching out for your feedback. The comments we received from artists is positive but our main concern is the feedback of our fans and patrons attending the shows such as yourself. I would value your suggestions on the short comings of the system that was not up to your expectations with hopes to improve. Our goal is to change your opinion of brutal to brilliant when you attend Union Hall next and with your feedback and help in understanding the faults I can strive to improve the system for our future shows.

    Our standard is to be of the utmost professionalism with bookings, executing shows and making sure that we deliver the BEST in show quality regardless of the artist or size of show we host. We strongly value constructive feedback and like to take the time to listen to each and every one of our patrons and fans to ensure that Union Hall is the #1 destination for all bands and their fans to attend.

    Once again thank you for your time and feedback in helping us meet the expectations of our fans and community.

    Gratitude mate.

    • hi Kam — thanks for checking out the review even if there was some concern over the sound etc. Who knows if it was just that evening or what — Ashton would love to continue hitting up concerts at Union Hall. Would you be able to email us at foxforcefivenews@gmail.com ? We would be interested in obtaining a press pass for Ashton to cover additional shows for reviews and even photos if possible. Let us know! Thanks

      • kam

        Certainly, i’ll email you my contact info for you to have. If you do receive further feedback/clarification please kindly provide him my contact info so i’m able to gather his thoughts and input on t parkway event further. Thank you.

        • Done and done — I’ll reach out to you before upcoming events and it would be great if we could hook Ashton up with a review pass with option for photos (I know there’s a three song rule before they kick photographers out of the way/no flash etc). Ashton will drop you an email about the Parkway thing later.

          • kam

            Gratitudes, I look forward to it working with your team. Cheers and lest we forget.