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Concerts are such a unique experience. You’re normally in an enclosure room with a bunch of like-minded fans. The sound system bounces off the walls and gives you the ultimate surround sound experience. The light show that some bands bring have become legendary and really transform the experience. You don’t necessarily get this same kind of experience in an outdoor venue or a festival. One band that I have seen twice now outdoors during a festival has been Memphis May Fire. I’ve never truly seen what their show could truly be like in a venue on a headlining tour. Well I was finally going to fix that when Memphis May Fire announced that their The Remade in Misery Tour coming to The Glasshouse in Pomona, CA. Bringing with them some amazing support bands like From Ashes to New, Rain City Drive, and Wolves at the Gate. It was time to light up Pomona.

Opening this night was the Christian metal and post-hardcore band from Cedarville, OH called Wolves at the Gate. This was the only band on the line up that I had not heard of yet, so I did not know what to expected. When front man Nick Detty came out with the unclean vocals on their opening song “Shadows” they were ready to make their presence known. The member that surprised me the most was rhythm guitarist and clean vocalist Steve Cobucci. His clean vocals were so crisp and angelic, it took their post-hardcore sound to another level of existence. Lead guitarist Joey Alarcon brought in the crunchy guitar riffs, while drummer Abishai Collingsworth had the most relaxed and chill vibe of the night while blasting away on the kit. Most people tend to not think much of an opening band, but Wolves at the Gate was there to prove you don’t skip the opener. Playing songs like “Peace That Starts the War,” “Counterfeit,” “A Voice in the Violence,” “Dead Man,” “Weight of Glory,” and even giving a nearly 3-minute-long sermon that surprisingly to me, connected with majority of the crowd. You don’t see many opening bands that can connect with a crowd like Wolves at the Gate did, and I am so glad I was there to experience their presence.

The second band to go on this night was the newest band to be added to my music library, the newly named Rain City Drive.  I saw this band when they were formerly known as Slaves about four years ago at the Las Rageous Festival. Back then I had no idea who they were, but by this performance I have become a fan. Opening their night with “Waiting on You,” the bands new singer Matt McAndrew hit the stage with the highest fashion style of the night. And when he started singing, the beautiful of his voice was felt in your heart. Though Matt has only been fronting the band for a couple years, he fits into the band like he’s been there since the beginning of their formation. Lead guitarist Weston Richmond and rhythm guitarist Felipe Sanchez blended their licks together to create some of the best grooves that made the crowd want to dance. Bassist Colin Vieira had the most energy in the band, running around the stage and playing right in fans faces while syncing perfectly with drummer Zachary Baker. Rain City Drive had everyone in the crowd dancing to songs like “Talk to A Friend,” “Heavier,” “Dreams,” “Prayers,” “Blood Runs Cold,” and ending their night with one of their newest singles “Cutting it Close.” Since getting Matt as their newest singer, the band has gone through huge transformation and continue to build steam as a highlight of any tour package. I look forward to seeing them headline their own tour, as I can see that coming soon.

The next band up is the one I have seen the most out of this line. This makes the fourth time I have now seen From Ashes to New, and every time I see them, they just keep getting better. Co-front men Matt Brandyberry (rap vocals) & Danny Case (clean vocals) are a dynamic duo on stage. The way they layer their vocals on top of each other has so much energy behind it. It allows you to go crazy in the crowd moving and bouncing to Matt’s rap, and then seamlessly come in and sing the huge chorus’s that Danny is belting out. Not to let the co-front men steal all the spotlight, the other members are just as exciting to watch. Guitarist Lance Dowdle somehow manages to be the manic person on stage, jumping, bouncing, flailing, making faces at every person in the crowd, and throwing his guitar in all kinds of directions. Yet he never misses a note that he needs to play. Drummer Mat Madiro is not one to be forgotten behind the kit. Not only does he have a powerful strike and sound coming from his kit, but he is almost nonstop throwing in stick tricks through their 45-minute set. Twirls, spins, flairs, the man can not be stopped from showing off to the crowd. Playing songs like “Panic,” ‘My Fight,” “Broken,” ‘Heartache,” “My name,” “Scars,” “Crazy,” and ending with “Through it All.” Most bands call their bandmates family, but you can really see a brotherly bond between the guys in From Ashes to New, as they joke and goof around with each throughout the set. It really makes the performance even more enjoyable to watch.

Finally, it was time. A band I have only seen during a 30-minute set in an outdoor festival. I was ready to see what Memphis May Fire could do on a headlining tour. Fronted by Matty Mullins, the fiery red head of the crew. Sadly, Matty had just recently gotten injured which broke two ribs and he hit his head pretty badly. Luckily, there was no serious damage to his head, but it did limit how much stage presence he could have. Matty informed the crowd after the first song, that he wouldn’t be able to move around as much as he is known for, but that’s not gonna stop him from playing to the fans who have been supporting Memphis for over a decade now. Even with the broken ribs, and minimal movement, Matty still had the vocal power to bring a lyrical punch to the Glasshouse. Flanked by Guitarist Kellen McGregor, who is so chiseled he should have his own statue next to Arnold Schwarzenegger. And bassist Cory Elder, who picked up the slack for Matty by grooving, spinning, and dancing all around the stage. Up high on the riser was drummer Jake Garland, with his double bass drum setup was blasting beats into the faces of everyone in the house that night. Playing songs like “Blood & Water,” “Left for Dead,” “Legacy,” “Somebody,” “Make Believe,” “Miles Away,” and “Vices” where Danny Case came out for guest vocals. But Memphis May Fire was not ready to leave just yet, they knew the crowd needed some more heat and came out for a two-song encore featuring “The Fight Withing” & “The Sinner.”

Driving into Pomona this night, I knew I was gonna have a fun time. But honestly, I think each band has stepped it up even more than they have previously. Memphis May Fire & From Ashes to New have given a performance of higher quality than I have seen them prior. Rain City Drive really brought their music to life and had the entire crowd moving. And with Wolves at the Gate, I came in with no expectation and was blown away. I will be anxiously waiting for the next time any of these bands come back to town.


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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