August Burns Red with Fit For A King, Miss May I, and Crystal Lake
Fort Collins, Colorado
February 12, 2019
Words and photos by Alexis Springer
The Aggie Theater sits amid light-filled trees and quiet coffee shops in the heart of Fort Collins, CO. The last thing you would expect when walking past the doors would be to hear the Tokyo natives Crystal Lake, opening up the Colorado branch of August Burns Red’s ‘Dangerous’ tour. Following a stick-splitting drum solo by Gaku Taura, Crystal Lake opened their set with the heavy-hitting song “Prometheus.” The only voices I was able to hear over the phenomenal breakdowns were multiple “Who are these guys?” and “How have I not heard them before!?”. They closed on a crowd favorite “Apollo” and left listeners in high spirits as the next act prepared for the stage.
From my position under the stage, waiting for the next act, I spotted something that tugged the heart-strings. Miss May I, a band who is no stranger to large crowds and packed venues, was gathered together. Perhaps saying a prayer, or even just rallying to support each other, it was obvious that the Ohio-native metalheads are a close-knit family. Opening with “Swallow Your Teeth” off their most recent album Shadows Inside. Miss May I was showing the audience that their newer tracks hit equally as hard as a personal favorite “Hey Mister” that followed. Reversing that order, the last two tracks of their set were “Relentless Chaos” followed by the flagship song of their newest releases, “Shadows Inside.” The only thing more impressive than lead singer Levi Benton’s hair during their set were the killer tracks that left the crowd wanting more.
Fit for a King were an obvious fit for their audience, as the crowd surfers sailed over the front row during their opener, “Shattered Glass.” Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake graced us with supporting vocals during “Backbreaker,” while Levi came out to stack more bodies on stage for the song “Stacking Bodies.” Ending on a strong note with “Tower of Pain,” Fit for a King earned the wave of patrons (including myself) that flocked to their merch standing following the set.
Kicking off their headline setlist with the tour’s namesake, August Burns Red rolled in with “Dangerous,” a slow open that immediately bombards you with extreme instrumentals and powerful vocals. With everyone’s blood well-pumping, the headliners dropped directly into “Composure” off their second album. With no shortage of favorite’s such as “White Washed,” “Invisible Enemy,” and “Mariana’s Trench,” both ABR and their audience were left wiping sweat from their brows and smiling. Returning for an encore, the band finished strong with their newly viral “Legend of Zelda” cover, followed by “The Frost,” and ultimately, “White Washed.” The surreal experience of walking out of the venue into the cold, quiet February air was broken only by the crowd of satisfied fans that couldn’t stop talking about their experience on the journey to their cars. The next time any of these four amazing bands finds their way back into Colorado, you can bet I’ll be there, trying to keep my camera as steady as possible while headbanging.