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I’ve been fortunate to see many metalcore legends live in concert, but one that has always eluded me was Asking Alexandria. They have come through Southern California countless number of times, but something has always come up and I missed them. The last opportunity I had was their co-headlining tour with Nothing More. Which, sadly Asking Alexandria had to drop out of due to Danny Worsnop dealing with a throat infection. Thankfully he was able to recover, and Asking Alexandria announced their next tour. The All My Friends North American Tour with support from Memphis May Fire, The Word Alive, and NERV. This incredible lineup came to the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA and I stepped into the venue ready to see a band that will no longer elude me.

Opening the night was a metalcore band known as NERV. I had heard of this band in passing, so I was excited to see what they had to offer. Starting the night off with their song “Bad Nature,” vocalist Dillon Jones gets the show started by screaming the lyrics “You and me are just bad nature!,” before guitarist Scott Buchanan and Jordan Grokett launch into a fiery riff. NERV were here to get the crowd pumped for the show. Drummer Tyler Clark was a groove master behind the kit, letting his playing flow with melody. One of the sweetest moments was when Dillon Jones young daughter could be seen rocking out on the side of the stage. Jones spotted her and picked her up to help sing the outro of “Blue.” You could see the joy in his eyes from getting to share his passion with her. Other songs NERV played included “Not the One,” “Demons,” “Fake,” “Low,” and ending with “Bad Habits.” The House of Blues was already packed before NERV went on, and the crowd fed them their energy to help heighten the performance.

Up next was band known as The Word Alive. I had the pleasure of seeing them once before back in 2018 in this same venue. But this was before I knew who they were. At the time, I thought they were good, but I wasn’t captivated yet. Over the last few years, I have been getting more and more into the band, and have regretted not properly appreciating the band the first time I saw them. So, when they were announced on this tour, I was happy to finally see the band live and appreciate them properly. Vocalist Telle Smith is very beloved in the metal community, and the fans made sure to show him their love, as they hung on every word he sang, and accompanying him by singing along with every song. Guitarist Jose DelRio was just as charismatic on stage, whipping his hair around and shredding right into the faces of the front row. While fellow guitarist Zach Hansen is a bit more subdued on stage, instead letting his instrument do the talking, while still backing Telle with powerful screams. Drummer Daniel Nelson slams on the kit with powerful double kick blasts that let the crowd rage. The Word Alive kept the energy up with songs like “2012,” “Nocturnal Future,” “Play the Victim,” “Hate Me,” “Slow Burn,” “New Reality,” “Life Cycles,” and ending with “One of Us.” For the final song Telle wanted to see anyone who had not crowd surf, get up in the air and get crowd surf to the front. This sent a barrage of bodies hurdling over the barricade for security to catch, and everyone was having the time of their life.

The next band up was Memphis May Fire. These Texas boys always bring a standout show to their loyal fans. However, something must have been in the air this night as Memphis seemed to be giving the crowd even more energy than I have seen in the past. Vocalist Matty Mullins couldn’t get rid of the smile on his face, as he just gleamed with excited from performing this night. The smile he radiated just elevated his performance and drew the fans in deeper into the songs. Guitarist Kellen McGregor drives the songs with his punchy riffs. While bassist Cory Elder and drummer Jake Garland handle the low end that sends the mosh into a frenzy. With songs like “Make Believe,” “Left for Dead,” “Bleed Me Dry,” “The Old Me,” “Somebody,” “The Sinner,” “Vices,” “Chaotic,” “Miles Away,” “No Ordinary Love,” “Misery,” and ending with “Blood & Water.” Memphis May Fire was giving us everything they had and could have been headlining this show from how much noise the fans were making for them.

Excitement grew throughout the crowd as the stage was cleared, and a new lighting rig was placed in position on the stage. Asking Alexandria started off the night with their song “Closure” and right out of the gate guitarist Cameron Liddell unleashed a fury of nasty chugs to build up the energy in the crowd. While bassist Sam Bettley was right there with him in melody, making the song sound even heavier. By the time vocalist Danny Worsnop came in with his screams, fans were already surfing over the barricade. All the while, drummer James Cassells layers his playing with quick and tight double kick patterns. Yet still throwing melody and groove in with his hands across the top of the kit. I’ve always heard that Asking Alexandria is a fun show to watch, but I was still taken back by just how much fun it was. Liddell and Bettley nearly steal the spotlight from Worsnop at every moment of the show. The two play with such massive energy that you can’t help but watch them. They also continually play at the foot of the stage as close as they can to the fans, giving them the very best that they have. We even got a special duet when Telle Smith came back out to help sing the fan favorites “Into the Fire” and “The Violence.” Seeing Smith and Worsnop exchange vocal lines was a power move for both men, as their voices complement each other.  We were bestowed a glorious set that spanned Asking’s entire discography, with songs like “Alone Again,” “Bad Blood,” “Down to Hell,” “Where Did It Go?,” “Dark Void,” “Someone, Somewhere,” “Moving On,” “Let Go,” ‘To The Stage,” “A Prophecy,” “The Finale Episode (Let’s Change the Channel),” and ending with an encore performance of “Alone in a Room.”

The fans packed the House of Blues early before any band went on, and by the time the show was over we were on such a high that no one wanted to leave yet. The lights were on, the security was asking people to leave, and we were stuck in a state of ecstasy from what these four bands brought to the show. NERV are proving they are a band that needs more eyes on them with solid songs, and a powerful live show. The Word Alive hold my unending appreciation now that I finally know more about the band, and the love everyone has for them. Memphis May Fire continues to be one of the most consistent bands performing out there. And Asking Alexandria has finally been experienced live. It was a show worth waiting for and blew any expectations out of the water. 

Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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