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Metalcore Dropouts 2nd Semester Causing Chaos On A Wednesday Night! The National, Richmond, VA

On January 31, 2024- The Metalcore Dropouts performed at The National in Richmond, VA with Co-headliners Fit For A King and The Devil Wears Prada with special guests; Avoid and Counterparts. For a week day event, the show was completely packed even when you were walking outside to get into the venue, the line felt never ending. Everyone was ready to see their favorite dropouts!





The first band of the night to perform was one of my favorites; Avoid. A metalcore band fromSeattle, Washington and currently signed to Thriller Records consisting of; Benny Scholl (Vocals) , Nick Olson (Guitar) , Chris Echols (Guitar) , and Paul Jaton (Drums). Avoid became my top favorite band of 2023 when I photographed them in Atlanta, GA when they were touring with Silverstein. They toured with bands such as: Wage War, Within Destruction, Pop Evil, The Word Alive, Silent Planet, and The Plot In You



The second Benny went on stage; I already knew I had to be ready because the vocalist can MOVE. When I mean MOVE, he's like an energetic bunny on stage and it’s so difficult to keep up with him. The one song that Avoid performed that night was “Flashbang” from the EP “The Burner” released in 2020 with almost 3 million spotify plays! The guitars in the beginning of the song is the REASON why this song is my favorite. The beginning of the song; the way Benny projects his vocals is very enjoyable and within 50 seconds of the song, you will be head banging and causing mayhem in the crowd! The crowd at the barricade was already banging their heads the second they started the song!


Within the first 6 minutes of their set; Benny dropped down from the stage and stepped up onto the barricade to crowd surf in the crowd. If a vocalist can perform vocals while crowd surfing, that should just automatically tell you that Benny is top dog. Performing clean and unclean vocals while crowd surfing indicates good vocal control which I'm not shocked. Because it's Benny.




Another song that was performed during their set was “Cowabunga” off their Cult Mentality album released in 2022! This album was meant to be for comfort for those who are either struggling mentally or want to have fun. The song “Cowabunga” was created due to band realizing the love they have for chaos on tour and this song is catchy, moshing worthy, and just fun in general.


Avoid



Next up on this Metalcore Dropout Tour was Counterparts. Counterparts is a melodic hardcore band that formed in 2007 in Hamilton, Ontario. The band consists of; Brendan Murphy (Vocals), Jesse Doren (Lead Guitar), Tyler Williams (Rhythm Guitar) and Kyle Brownlee (Drums). The reason why this band is so popular is because the lyrics are raw and transparent, which not a lot of musicians do to fear of backlash from fans. This is Counterparts second run on this tour supporting Fit For A King and The Devil Wears Prada. If the band is BACK on this tour supporting the headliners, it shows that fans love them and will come support!



The one song that they performed was “Whispers Of Your Death” which is about Murphy's cat “Kuma” that passed away and he stated on stage that this cat meant the world to him and If he could, he would be with them right now. He also stated that everyday is a struggle and that if no one causes complete chaos in the room that everyone is disappointing Kuma. As a feline lover myself and having my cat of 19 years pass away a couple years ago, it is a mental struggle. Having a normal routine with them around and once they are gone, it's like your whole life is turned upside down. This song caused one of the largest pits during their set due to the vocalist wanting everyone to release all their anger into the pit, so they understand how hurt and angry he is. “Whispers of Your Death” is from the album “A Eulogy for Those Still Here” released in 2022 with another song they performed during their set; “Bound To The Burn



My favorite song from their set was the one they opened their set with; “Love Me” from their “Nothing Left to Love” album released in 2019 with the song being at the highest with over 9 million spotify listens! You can hear the desperation and hopelessness in this song; “Will you love me whens there nothing left to love?” 


Counterparts



The next band to perform is a band that I haven’t seen since 2011 at Vans Warped Tour; The Devil Wears Prada. The Devil Wears Prada formed in 2005 in Dayton, Ohio consisting of; Mike Hranica (Unclean Vocals, Guitar), Jeremy Depoyster (Rhythm Guitar, Clean Vocals), Kyle Sipress (Lead Guitar, backing vocals), Mason Nagy (Bass), Jonathan Gering (Keyboards, backing vocals), and Giuseppe Capolupo (Drums). The first two songs performed during their set was “Exhibition” and “Watch Tower” from their album “Color Decay” that was released in 2022. Depoyster sang the clean vocals during the chorus for Exhibition and that's the main reason why this song caught my attention when It was released. Hearing the crowd sing along to the chorus and seeing Depoyster smiling while singing definitely strung at my heart. During an interview about this albums released, Mike stated; It’s about contrast, We’ve really tried to create individualism within the songs and make them distinct. The title references the disintegration and discoloration we experience from daily struggles. Those feelings come with mental health, getting older, and dealing with it. We confront these fights over a lengthy period of time. This record goes up and down, which I’ve always liked for an LP. You will want to listen to it from front-to-back”



The second “Hey John, Whats Your Name Again?” started; I was currently walking through the crowd to get crowd photos and all of a sudden I got the wind knocked out of me because I didn’t realize the pit started in .5 seconds and grew very large quickly. I realized I was almost dead center of the pit and someone saw my face and saved me quickly before the moshers went full force. This is what we do at shows. You see someone in a situation they don’t want to be in, you help. Especially being in a pit accidentally. Listening to this song live after all these years brought so much nostalgia. When Depoyster stated that they will perform a throw back from the past; they did not disappoint with this song to get a wall of death going. In the most pit, you can see those who grew up when the “Plagues” album was released in 2007 with certain individuals wearing the OG merch from over a decade ago.


The Devil Wears Prada


The last dropout group to perform is one of my favorite bands; Fit For A King is a metalcore band from Tyler, Texas that formed in 2007 consisting of; Ryan Kirby (Vocals), Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary (Bass), Trey Celaya (Drums) ,  and lastly Daniel Gailey (Guitar). Between both musicians; Kirby and O’Leary progressed over the years with their vocal talents. Every band needs a bass player like O’Leary that is constantly jumping in the air or spinning erratically on stage. If the crowd can’t match his energy; the band stated that they need to do better since O’Leary indicates if the crowd's energy is high enough.



They performed several of my favorite songs throughout their set; “When Everything Means Nothing” ,  “DeathGrip” , “Pissed Off” , and their newest single “Keeping Secrets” Let me start off with “When Everything Means Nothing” which was released in 2018 from the album “Dark Skies” having over 29 million spotify plays! This song is one of my favorites because it holds a ton of meaning for mental struggles and for those who become depressed or fixate on what people post on social media wishing they had that life. Kirby stated that people portray themselves a certain way on social media and that comparing yourself to them will only hurt you mentally. He also stated that even if you are depressed, it doesn’t make you less of a person. You could tell that the crowd needed to hear this song live with the amount of singing along and some individuals becoming very emotional. That's what I love about this band. Their lyrics hold so much meaning to them and you can see on stage the amount of love pouring out of these musicians.”Pissed Off” off of “Deathgrip” album was one of the most brutal mosh pits I think I’ve seen in years. The moshpit went from 20% to 101% in seconds. Complete chaos. This song is about being pissed off about the amount of violence and killings that's happening in the world. The guttural scream at the end of the song from Kirby is just filled with chaotic emotions. 



Deathgrip” has become one of my favorite songs in the past 3 years and I believe I listened to this song on spotify over 180 times in the last 5 months. I love this song because like Kirby stated in an interview; the band does not tip toe around events that happen around the world even though they are considered a christian band. And he also stated that usually christians don’t like to speak about certain horrific events such as terrorist attacks or child soldiers, but we aren’t afraid to speak the truth about what happens in this world. The album “Deathgrip” has a theme and it's about death since so many fans responded back to Kirby on what they went through in life and that it affects a ton of people. 


Keeping Secrets” is the band's newest single released on January 12th, 2024! The second O’Leary started singing in the song, I was hooked. You can HEAR the difference in his vocal talents over the years with this song. Kirby stated; “The song’s theme of questioning if people can truly love you, if you don’t open up and let them know the real you, is something my adopted daughter has struggled with greatly, and is the inspiration for the song” It's a very beautiful song that has a mixture of new elements and older elements from older albums. I believe this song really allows O’Leary to show his clean vocal talent and hearing it live; it was an amazing experience. He also noticed this young girl in front of me and he reached downward to give this girl a pic that he was using. The amount of happiness this young girl expressed just in her facial expressions warmed up my heart.


Fit For A King


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