On December 15th, at the Conduit in Orlando, Florida, hard rock band Dark Divine headlined the first of their back-to-back "Holiday Havoc" shows. Their 12 song set contained a great mix of songs from both their EP "Halloweentown" and their newly released album, "Deadly Fun." Opening the show with the song "Drown" had the crowd instantly energized as they screamed the lyrics and jumped up and down.
Though this show was meant to celebrate the holidays, the band's atmosphere is more matched with Halloween, from the band members' spooky stage makeup, to the coffins and the candelabras set up at the back of the stage on either side of Tristan Blaize's drum kit. Despite this, the venue itself was decorated with Christmas lights, and various members of the crowd took it upon themselves to dress up for the holidays in fun sweaters or santa hats. Combining these factors made the show feel like a scene out of the movie, "The Nightmare Before Christmas," which is fitting, considering guitarist Robby Lynch's makeup always resembles a skeleton. The entire night was a spirited one as Dark Divine put on a show impossible to look away from, and the crowd responded with loud enthusiasm.
I've had the privilege of seeing Dark Divine perform before, but this was my first time at a headlining show for them. Based on what I'd previously seen, I had no doubt they'd be able to pull it off, and they certainly did. While vocalist Anthony Martinez constantly moved around the stage, always interacting with the crowd, drummer Triston Blaize would captivate the audience with his dynamic drumming and how expressive he was. Likewise, guitarists Jason Thomas and Robby Lynch would encourage fans to sing along as they played. In contrast, bassist Cory Piscitelli interacted less directly with the crowd, but was still just as engaged. Both Cory and Tristan's skills with their instruments were clearly evident, which made them a lot of fun to watch.
About halfway through the set, an exciting moment occurred when the band began to play "Paper Crown." It's a well known song among Dark Divine fans, and the crowd was in for an extra treat as Anthony Martinez invited vocalist Bryan Kuznitz from Fame on Fire to sing with them. Bryan Kuznitz's vocals are featured in the song on the album, so as soon as his name was mentioned, the entire room went wild. Even though adding a sixth person to the small stage might have seemed crowded, with the added energy Kuznitz brought, along with the frenzied audience, it was barely noticeable. Instead, I was drawn in by all of the enthusiasm from band and crowd alike as everyone sang their hearts out, headbanging and jumping along to the beat.
Dark Divine's "Holiday Havoc" show was such a fun time, the perfect way to kick off the holidays. Not only did Dark Divine put on an energetic set, local Florida bands Spirit Leaves and Dirty Rivals, as well as pop rock band Colorblind from Austin Texas, all opened with excellent performances. Together, these bands put together a memorable show. It was my last one of 2023, and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the year