Escape the Fate with Attack Attack -The Opera House, Toronto - May 7, 2012

Review and Photos by Aaron Tamachi

The World is Ours Tour stopped by Toronto’s Opera House this past Monday evening. When I first arrived, I took the time to query the approximate 200 fans waiting in line, and discovered that most were there to see either Escape the Fate or Attack Attack, with very little, if any, crossover. It would seem that each band has their own devout fans.

Two bands unfortunately couldn’t make it to the show - San Diego’s Secrets (Rise Records) arrived too late to play, and Mest (Blue Island, Illinois pop punk [Maverick]) was absent due to undisclosed circumstances.

The show opened up with Phoenix, Arizona’s own The Word Alive (Fearless Records), with the audience chanting ‘T.W.A’ until the stage went black. The band opened with “The Hounds of Anubis’ from their debut album Deceiver, and their passion for their fans quickly became apparent. Interacting with the crowd, they called for 3 circle pits, instructed moshers to pick each other up if someone fell, and took photos of the audience from the stage. “Make someone move!” was the message, and the crowd responded every single time.

Mid-set, TWA played “Epiphany” to appreciative fans who continued to sing and scream, myself included. Their set was concluded with a befitting song titled “2012”, and no less than four injured individuals who, despite their wounds of battered knees, scraped elbows, and even a broken nose, were nonetheless ecstatic about the performance and commented on the mosh pit being the best they’d ever seen. With that kind of enthusiasm, no doubt we will be hearing much more from The Word Alive.

Next up was Attack Attack (Rise Records) from Columbus, Ohio. The first time I experienced this band was during Warped Tour 2009. Caleb Shomo (vocals and programming) was merely seventeen years old at the time. Now twenty, he has grown as a person and musician, and took control of the audience.

I really enjoyed the stage set-up for their performance; there wasn’t a single amp stack anywhere on the stage, and the drums were placed on top of a large platform. This allowed for more space and a different atmosphere to charge the crowd… and charge they did!

Opening with “The Betrayal” off their latest album This Means War was like releasing an angry bull from its pen; the crowd took the euphoria from The Word Alive and built from it, as they responded quickly to the heavy, fast-paced tune with a venue-wide circle pit. The band was tight, seemingly without missing a single beat, flowing in synergy. Prior to their performance of Wretched, Shomo stopped the show temporarily to have a personal one-on-one conversation with the crowd, as he spoke about loving oneself, despite all the hurt and anguish in the world. He went further by reminding the crowd: “You’re all incredibly beautiful people!” which was followed by a series of claps and cheers.

Standout songs in their setlist included “Stick Stickly” and “The Revolution”, which was used to end their portion of the show. In The Revolution, I swear “Start the Revolution!” could have been heard outside the venue. Shomo demanded at least 100 crowd surfers to take security by surprise, and a respectable 45 did exactly that.

All bets were off the table when Escape the Fate (Interscope), post-hardcore elites from Las Vegas stood up now to conquer the stage. With the band’s latest vocalist, Craig Mabbitt, Escape the Fate had some new and returning ears to impress.

Decked out in tight leathers, sunglasses, and eyeliner, the band took the stage and immediately captured the hearts of their fans with “10 Miles Wide” the single from This War is Ours. Their energetic show encompassed a range of songs spanning previous albums with Mabbit at the helm, including “Ashley”, also from This War... Proof of their appeal could be heard from throughout the venue, with cries of, “I love you!”

For ‘Wall of Death” Mabbitt separated the crowd into halves to open up the pit, and though this initially created confusion among fans, the song’s ending was so impressive that it pulled everyone together once again.

Escape the Fate closed their set with “The Aftermath” (aka Guillotine pt 3), the final track from their self-titled album. The performance was tight and featured a rip-roaring guitar solo where the band left the stage to allow Bryan “Monte” Money to take control of the reigns.

All told, the band put on a memorable show and undeniably proved the tour name as appropriate – the world is theirs.