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On Monday, September 9th, I was joined by fans from all over to see the rock stars we call Breaking Benjamin. Not only did they straight up rock the stage, they had other killer acts destroy it right before them. With performances on the docket from  DIAMANTE,  Dorothy,  Three Days Grace, and  Chevelle, we were surely in for a stellar night.

Straight out the gates DIAMANTE brought the heat and we were off. Something Benjamin Burnley said was that there is a shortage of strong women in rock music, and they did well choosing DIAMANTE for this tour. I had never heard of Diamante but from what I could tell, they are a perfect blend of anthemic rock music. Let’s not leave out how electrifying Diamante Bovelli’s hair and outfit were. FIRE. Their set was banger after banger and I thoroughly enjoyed it. DIAMANTE delivered a heavy start to the show and warmed it up for Dorothy to come next.

Hailing from Los Angeles, the quartet they call Dorothy hit the stage. I was not prepared for what I was about to hear. Dorothy Martin definitely comes out and gets the crowd’s heads and hands bobbing up and down. I think the song I enjoyed the most  was “Wicked Ones” because it had so many different elements at play. I can see myself listening to them in the future for sure. The modernized-blues rock group was definitely there to have a good time and you could tell. Big things in store for Dorothy, I can see it now.

Following Dorothy was Three Days Grace. Now, I was specifically excited to see them because I have been listening to them since I first got into rock music back in middle school. Beginning in 1997, in a small town in Ontario, Canada, Three Days Grace took punk rock music and thrashed the alternative rock scene in the 2000s. After leaving in 2013 because of health issues, Adam Gontier was replaced with Matt Walst and some people wouldn’t have even guessed that happened because of how similar they sounded. They played hits like “Pain”, “I Hate Everything About You”, “Never Too Late”, and ended with “Riot”. All those songs had an impact on my music taste, and I was stoked to see them performed live. Every aspect of their performance was so well put together that it was like listening to them on the radio. Job well done to Three Days Grace.

Next up was Chicago-area based band, Chevelle. Having shot them at Edge Fest in 2017, I was prepared for another sick performance. I wasn’t able to shoot them this time around, but my floor seat was sufficient enough to enjoy the show. They are a fun band to watch because the lights are dim most of the time and when they hit any chorus the lights come on and hit you in the face! Watching Pete Loeffler sing these songs is entertaining as well because of all the high notes he has to hit – but he kills it every time. They played through a ton of great songs, but they knew what they were doing when they saved all of the best ones for last. “Vitamin R”, “Send The Pain Below”, and “The Red” were back to back of each other but there was still more to come. They ended their set with “I Get It” off their 2007 album Vena Sera and honestly, I couldn’t complain. Great performance all around.

And then there was one. I was looking forward to this moment all day and it was finally here. Breaking Benjamin, the highly anticipated act had a lot to top but they definitely found a way to do it. Starting the set with “Red Cold River” off their latest album, Ember, they dove right into “I Will Not Bow” soon after and the crowd went wild! I had a hard time taking photos cause I was so hype. Being a fan for the last 10 years, I couldn’t believe I was standing right in front of them taking their photo. Accompanied by some flames, in the middle of their set, they did covers of some all-time favorites in the rock genre. From hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, to “Bulls On Parade” by Rage Against the Machine, they ended with an amazing drum solo by Shaun Foist.

They had no trouble getting the crowd off their feet and yelling every word to their songs. They played more hits such as “So Cold” and then “Failure” from their 2015 release, Dark Before Dawn. What we thought was the end (and usually never is), “Torn In Two” came on and then the stage went dark once it concluded. With the crowd yelling and the lights down, the chords to the beginning of “Rain” started playing. Voices in unison started singing while Benjamin Burnely began walking around the pit with all of the fans. It was truly an awesome sight seeing the crowd allow him to walk through the center of everyone. Knowing it wasn’t over yet, the only logical song was missing, “The Diary of Jane”. With the last chance to get everyone off their feet, Breaking Benjamin gave it their all and closed the show out with a bang.

Monday night will go down as one of the best shows I have ever seen. Benjamin Burnely and the rest of the band did a phenomenal job throughout their performance and brought their 'A-Game' to Austin on Monday night.  All supporting acts on this tour were incredible and played off each other in ways that made the lineup pop.  I'd highly recommend catching this tour when it swings through your area as it was truly one for the ages!

James Coffman

Photojournalist - Dallas

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