I have never been to a metal-ish show at The Congress, so to see Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying, Memphis May Fire, and I See Stars together at a large venue was exciting.
I See Stars started the night with their own brand of electronic dance-infused metal. Between the performance and the bands energy they put on an excellent show. The band frequently encouraged the crowd to jump and move. Both the metal and electronic breakdowns forced the audience to respond in a half-mosh, half-jump. This performance set the bar for the rest of the bands on the bill.
My focus as a photographer made it hard to listen intently to Memphis May Fire's set, however from what I experienced through the viewfinder of my camera the band put on awesome show. Matty Mullins darted from riser to riser on stage to the audiences entertainment. The bands performance ended with a thank you to the crowd.
As I Lay Dying's set was for the heaviest metal heads in the crowd. After I was escorted from the pit I sat stage left (right if you are looking at the stage) and listened as Jordan Mancino laid down some machine-like double kick blasts. Tim Lambesis' guttural vocals echoed through the cavity above the stage. The front row of the audience pressed against the barrier raised the horns and bobbed their heads. The band was an oddity because they are not necessarily up-and-comers to metal and could have easily been the headliners, but they rocked the house regardless.
Asking Alexandria's set began with a rush of fog and a swift entrance by the band. The first song started when Danny Worsnop burst through the fog, wielding his mic stand between his hands like the fulcrum of a balance. The crowd cheered as the band opened with "Closure," one of their singles from Reckless and Relentless, released in spring of 2011. In my opinion that band couldn't have picked a better track to start their set because the crowd erupted into pits during every breakdown. I turned around to try to grab crowd shots, but quickly redirected my focus to the band as I could feel the breakdown give way to the chill chorus smattered with synth sounds. The tone shifted gears once more as the song concluded with brutal, layered metal vocals. The photographers were cleared out of the pit and I made my way to the balcony of The Congress where I saw the band blast through the first half of their set that included one my favorite song of theirs "Not the American Standard" off the album Stand Up and Scream. The mood of the show changed completely when the banner behind the band dropped revealing an iconic shot of the late Suicide Silence Singer Mitch Lucker with his fist in the air in front of a festival crowd. The band, after a few words, left the stage and the light show continued while Suicide Silence's "You Only Live Once" was cranked over the pa system.
After returning to the stage the band played a few other songs from Reckless and Relentless including the title track and another favorite of mine "To The Stage." Asking Alexandria also played a single from their currently unnamed third album called "Run Free." The band would return to the stage for an encore that included "Alerion" and "The Final Episode" both tracks from their first album.