From The Pit To The Crowd: Nonpoint with He Is Legend and Letters From The Fire – Orlando FL – August 24, 2018

There isn’t anyone in the Orlando rock and metal community who doesn’t know Nonpoint. This band has constantly toured through our city over their careers, played numerous Earthday Birthday festivals, and is prominently supported by our local rock station 101.1 WJRR. When they announced they would be touring off their new album ‘X’ and stopping in Orlando, I knew I had to be at the show. I was certain the band was going to deliver a performance the fans wouldn’t forget. And I was right, as this was one of the best performances I had seen from them yet.

First up that night was the rock band from San Francisco, CA, Letters From The Fire. The band formed back in 2014 and released an EP and one studio album titled ‘Worth The Pain’ released in 2016. Before working on their self-titled second studio album, they had lineup changes and brought in new vocalist Nina Bergman and drummer Seth Hostetter to round out the band. Their first single “Comfort You” was released on April 13th and peaked at #40 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts. The new album was released on June 15, 2018. Letters From The Fire is Nina Bergman (vocals), Mike Keller (rhythm guitar), Cameron Stucky (lead guitar), Clayton Wages (bass), and Seth Hostetter (drums).

The crowd was excited to see them and Letters From The Fire looked amped up and ready to rock. They started it off with “Harley” the opening track from the new album. What starts out sounding like a pop tune immediately blows up into a hard rock, headbanging tune. The band absolutely turned it up and had the crowd rocking through the song and singing along. They followed that up with “Safe Word”, which was another rocking song. I had listened to the album before, but hearing them play songs from it live was so much better. The band is energetic and active on stage constantly moving around, headbanging, pointing at the crowd and interacting, and having fun playing together on stage. Clayton though was a crazed man on stage the way he plays bass and rocks out on stage. It is definitely an experience to watch him. They closed out their set with “Comfort You” and killed it. Nina is a very talented vocalist and performer on stage and absolutely had everyone’s attention through the entire set. And the fact she did a split on stage while singing was beyond impressive. They walked off to huge applause from the crowd and offered people to come to meet them at their merch table. And they had a lot of people over there after their set. They definitely gained a bunch of new fans that night.

Next up was the rock band from North Carolina, He Is Legend. The band started back in 2003 and releasing their 1st album ‘I Am Hollywood’ in 2004. Though they’ve had some lineup changes over the years and even a hiatus, the band released 4 additional studio albums, including one in 2017 titled ‘Few’. The band consisting of Schuylar Croom (vocals), Adam Tanbouz (lead guitar), and Matty Williams (bass), and Jesse Shelley (drums) had the crowd applauding and hollering loud for them.

They opened up with “Dicephalous” from their 2009 album ‘It Hates You’. The song immediately had the crowd bouncing and moving around on stage. Schuylar loves to move and dance around on stage with the music, so the faster they play, the harder he goes. Adam is always so calm when he plays even when it’s a hard rocking song. Matty and Jesse rock out hard during their songs. The followed up with “The Seduction” from their 2004 ‘I Am Hollywood’. I love how the band mixes it up a lot, especially the pace sometimes right in the middle of a song. One moment they could be rocking out and bring the song to a near halt before ripping right back into it again. He Is Legend primarily ripped through their set from song to song barely taking a break between songs. Some of their other songs included “Attack of the Dungeon Witch”, “Mushroom River”, “The Widow of Magnolia”, and “I Am Hollywood”. They blew the crowd away and I heard multiple fans turning the night saying how much they loved their set.

Finally, Nonpoint was ready to rock the crowd. The metal band from Ft. Lauderdale, FL started off back in early 1997 before self-releasing their first album ‘Separate Yourself’ later that year. And it was only the start of a successful career. They signed a record deal with MCA and released ‘Statement’ in 2000. Their fourth studio album ‘To The Pain’ would release one of their most recognizable songs “Bullet With a Name”. Each of Nonpoint’s album made it into the Billboard Top 200 with their highest ranking album came with ‘The Return’ in 2014 peaking at #39. And this evening the band released their 10th album ‘X’. Nonpoint is Elias Soriano (vocals), Robb Rivera (drums), Rasheed Thomas (rhythm guitar), Adam Woloszyn (bass), and B.C. Kochmit (lead guitar).

The band had 6 light boxes sitting on the stage along with small platforms for members to stand on. When the lights went dark, the band came out on stage and the crowd went wild, screaming and hollering. They opened up with “Empty Batteries” the first track from ‘X’. As like with a majority of Nonpoint songs, it is hard-hitting, fast-paced, and had the crowd banging their head immediately. What I truly loved about this song is how Elias uses his vocal talent to provide a blend of level changes throughout the song. They followed it with “Buscandome” from ‘To The Pain’. Elias addressed the crowd saying how they had a long setlist for them tonight and asked if they were ready. The massive cheers showed they were ready.

They continued on with “Endure” from their first studio album ‘Statement’ and “Circles” from ‘Development’. Robb was pounding away on the drums with his stuffed Animal from The Muppet Show attached to his drumset. Rasheed headbanged from one side of the stage to the next, his dreadlocks whipping around in the air. Adam also headbanged away on stage keeping mostly to the left, along with B.C. who ripped through riffs with ease. Elias gestured to the crowd often to get them engaged, but they didn’t need the encouragement. This crowd was loving this show.

The band played “Wheel Against Will” from the new album and included the infamous “El Diablo” from their 2016 album ‘The Poison Red’. The band had some fun with the crowd with Elias and Robb splitting the crowd in half and getting them to see which half cheered louder. It was a fun display and Elias and Robb were both smiling during it. “Chaos and Earthquakes” from ‘X’ was definitely a crowd favorite and one of mine that evening. They wrapped up their set with “Bullet With a Name” that had the entire House of Blues Orlando jumping or moshing on the floor. The band came back to encore with their amazing cover of Phil Collin’s “In The Air Tonight” and “What A Day” from ‘Statement’. Elias thanked the crowd and the band took a photo on stage before saying goodnight. It was truly a special and amazing set of songs and Nonpoint poured their heart and soul into the performance that night.

After the show, I went over to speak with Letters From The Fire as they were still at their merch booth. They are a genuine group of people who truly appreciate their fans and meeting with them too. But on the other side of the merch booths, there was a massive line waiting by Nonpoint’s table. Why? Because Nonpoint came to the table to autograph anything and everything their fans purchased or brought to them. At every show I’ve been at for them, they always go to their merch table to meet fans, take pictures with them, and sign stuff. I truly love that Nonpoint still appreciates their fans for helping them have such a successful career. I look forward to the next time they come back to Orlando because I know it will be a truly memorable experience.