The ‘In Our Wake’ tour kicked off earlier this month and Tampa, Florida, was one of the first few cities to get to check out the show. The Ritz Ybor sold out just a couple hours ahead of showtime, and was filling in nicely by the early 6:00 PM showtime.
Minneapolis hard rock quintet Sleep Signals was the first band to take stage. The hard rockers released their latest EP ‘At the End of the World’ in September, last year, and have been touring extensively in support of the album drop. Though the crowd didn’t seem overly familiar with the songs, Sleep Signals was unphased. Every member was full of energy, flashing expressive faces toward the crowd to keep them entertained and interactive.
Sleep Signal’s 30 minute set went by quickly, and the venue was flaunting its sold out status by the time Ice Nine Kills hit the stage. Ice Nine Kills came through Tampa as part of the final Van’s Warped Tour back in August this year and anyone who saw them then knew not to miss their set.
In their typical horror metal fashion, every band member was dressed up as a different character from various horror films. A red balloon was attached to a microphone at the far right of the stage that guitarist Ricky Armellino took place at, sporting a bright yellow raincoat to represent Georgie Denbrough from Stephen King’s iteration of IT. Bassist Justin Marrow donned a full mask of face paint, looking eerily similar to Jigsaw from Saw. Meanwhile, guitarist Jason Deblieck sported a Jason mask (Friday the 13th) and vocalist Spencer Charnas wore his usual red and green striped Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street) shirt.
Ice Nine Kills released their fifth studio album ‘The Silver Scream’ just back in October, and this is the first tour that fans are getting to hear almost a full set of new material. They opened with the album’s first single, “The American Nightmare,” continuing with “Stabbing in the Dark” and “Thank God It’s Friday.” Fans were clearly feeling the heavy riffs and Spencer’s harsh vocals, with plenty of metal horns in the hair, headbanging and crowd surfing. In spite of only being the second band on the tour bill, it appeared that Ice Nine Kills may have actually managed to pull the biggest collective crowd of the evening during their set.
Metalcore band Memphis May Fire was next up for the evening. They opened their set with a beautiful light show and CO2 blasts for heavy starter, “Sever the Ties.” Vocalist Matty Mullins was quick to let the crowd know that guitarist and backing vocalist Kellen McGregor lost his voice, so crowd participation was welcome to help fill in some of those parts. Fans cheered and happily obliged during the 2012 single “Prove Me Right” and 2016 single “Carry On” that followed.
Memphis May Fire’s sixth studio album ‘Broken’ dropped on November 16th, just one day before the Tampa show. Despite the new release, only the record’s lead single “The Old Me” was included on the setlist. The remainder was a well balanced smattering of songs from across their discography. Although the crowd was plenty loud enough in their effort to help Matty out, he ultimately didn’t seem to have any trouble fluctuating between the harsh and clean vocals on his own. Memphis May Fire had a slightly longer set, closing out with “Vices” after nearly an hour of play time.
Finally, it was time for the headliners of the night: Atreyu. The band came out full of energy from the get go, kicking open their set with the title track from their new album ‘In Our Wake’ that the current tour is in support of. With a seven album discography, Atreyu had plenty material to mix the night up with, bouncing from songs off ‘Lead Sails Paper Anchor’ to ‘The Curse’ and back to the new material on ‘In Our Wake’ again.
Every member of Atreyu was full of on stage personality. Guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel along with bassist Porter McKnight bounced back and forth across the stage, making faces at each other, posing for the fans and obviously enjoying themselves while putting on a fun show for the crowd to watch. Lead vocalist Alex Varkatzas soaked in the crowd interaction, being OFF stage just as much as (if not more than) he was ON stage. At one point, he even crossed over the barricade, stood and sang on one of the bars in the venue, then roamed his way through the entire audience before crowd surfing back to stage.
Enthralling the crowd even further, Spencer from Ice Nine Kills came out for guest vocals on “Bleeding Mascara” halfway through Atreyu’s set. They continued with singles, “Falling Down” and eventually landed on a fan favorite “Blow,” which received a roar of a cheer and plenty of voices singing along. Sadly, this was also when it became apparent that the show was coming to a close, as Atreyu concluded the song by saying goodnight and making a quick exit off stage. This day in age, no one falls for the “fake exit” though, and fans also seemed to have looked up the set list prior to the show as they cheered, “Three more songs! Three more songs!” as opposed to the typical one in an encore.
Drummer and co-vocalist Brandon Saller returned to the stage with just guitarist Dan and decided to forego the traditional encore, opting to “Rick Roll” the crowd instead. The two performed their own version of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which made for a bit of hilarity as the sold out crowd of metalheads had no shame singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs. The remaining band members returned to stage for another cover song, “You Give Love a Bad Name,” originally by Bon Jovi. Atreyu closed out their set with a throwback to their very first single ever, “Lip Gloss and Black,” which included another guest vocal appearance from Matty Mullins. The band expressed their gratitude to the fans for their support over the years and Brandon had a little contest to see which side of the crowd could cheer loudest before tossing a drumstick prize to the winning side.
Every band on this tour brought their all to the stage, easily delivering memorable sets and an all around night of good, hard rocking music. The In Our Wake tour will continue across North America until December 13th, coming to a close in Anaheim, CA. Be sure to catch a date near you!