I really have to hand it to August Burns Red, because they put on a great stage show! The energy the band possesses, and the amount that it pulls from the audience, is remarkable. Every chorus to every song was sung by the sweaty masses of gathered fans, rivaling the PA system itself, and two-thirds of the audience seemed to consist of a constant circle pit. Except, of course, when the vocalist, Jake Luhrs, would jump onto the monitors at the front of the stage and throw his hands in the air. His presence demanded attention, and people would stop long enough to receive their next set of instructions, such as whipping out their lighters and cellphones, clapping in time with the stunning drumming of Matt Greiner, or, as often was the case, just forming more circle pits. At one point, however, all the music stopped and he went into a speech, telling the audience that "Everyone one of you has dreams, goals, self-control, and a purpose. Your dreams are not meant for when you're sleeping, but are meant to be lived out. Your time is now!" That moment, which seemed unusual to me in this setting, was somehow fitting all the same. It reminded me that despite the aggressive nature of the music, the lyrics sung by this band are often empowering and not to be overlooked.
Despite the fact that we arrived later than we expected, we had a fantastic time. August Burns Red does an excellent job as entertainers, in addition to their mandatory role as musicians. I wish we would have had time to stick around and thank them for everything they gave to the crowd that night, but I'll just have to trust that the more die-hard fans conveyed that for me. As one such fan, Brian Baker told me after the show, "When I listen to August Burns Red, I connect their music to what's going on in my life. After a show like this, it just makes me feel even more connected to it. They make it mean that much more."
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