From The Pit To The Crowd: Crown The Empire with Attila, Veil of Maya, Gideon, and Hawk – The Plaza Live – Orlando, FL – August 17, 2019

Photo by Talon Kane Photography

I always found summer concerts to be some of the most memorable and fun events. Tours that have tons of bands stacked on the bill, early start times that drag the shows into the evening hours, and each band given a pretty decent set time to play at the show. And this is what we had when the Rage Fest tour came to Orlando, FL at The Plaza Live. Five bands, lots of metal, and all the time to sit back and enjoy on a Saturday night. It was a large crowd that night with people packed in as close as they could get to the stage and with the back area opened for the “designated” mosh pit.

Hawk, formerly known as This Or The Apocalypse, opened up the show. Rick Armellino (vocals), who also performs with Ice Nine Kills (guitar), and Jack Ebenshade (guitar) are the only two original founding members. Joining them under Hawk is Bernard Stabley (bass) and Adam Reed (drums). The band kicked into gear right away when Rick jumped over the barrier and into the mosh pit singing from within the crowd. The crowd was loving it and the band rocked on through their set. Their energy poured through the venue getting those in the mosh pit moving hard. They thanked the crowd after their set and Ricky said he would meet fans out by their merch table. You find Hawk’s music on their website HERE and see a full gallery of photos from their performance HERE.

Gideon, the metalcore band from Alabama was next to the stage. Founded in 2008 and with 4 albums under their belts, Daniel McWhorter (vocals), Tyler Riley (guitar), Caleb DeRusha (bass), and Jake Smelley (bass) turned it up a notch. The band rained down the heavy with red lighting pouring down on them. The crowd definitely reacted to the heavier style of music and the mosh pit grew larger as they played on. Daniel encouraged the crowd to keep moving and moshing. I was extremely impressed with their music, stage presence, and Daniel’s vocals were truly headbanging worthy. Gideon appeased the metal gods that night and the crowd threw up horns in appreciation. Daniel thanked the crowd and also asked the crowd to visit them at the merch table. You can find Gideon’s music on their website HERE. The band will be releasing their next album Out of Control on October 11th. You can see a full gallery of photos from their performance HERE.

Next to the stage was Veil of Maya. The metalcore band formed in 2004 out of Chicago, IL. After self-releasing and self-producing their first album, All Things Set Aside, the band signed with Sumerian Records. The band went from a five-person lineup to a four-person lineup. But, their biggest change was the departure of their original vocalist after their third album Eclipse. In 2014, they brought in Lukas Magyar from Arms of Empire as their vocalist. Along with original members, Marc Okubo (guitar) and Sam Applebaum (drums), and Danny Hauser (bass), they would release two additional albums with their most recent False Idol releasing in 2017.

The band came out to tremendous cheers from the crowd. Veil of Maya’s metal has some great transitions in the vocals from guttural screams to crystal clear singing. Lukas has some gifted vocals that compliment the band’s heavier metal sound. Marc passionately played all over the stage, bouncing, jumping, and dancing. One thing that surprised me was Danny’s bass which was smaller than most bass guitars I’m used to seeing on stage. Yet, he made the bass vibrate sounds through your body that night as I could literally feel it coming off the speakers. Sam ripped out thunderous beats to keep the crowd energized. The mosh pit was going even heavier now and at one point Lukas separated out the crowd to the left and right and had them run at each other to continue the mosh pit. Veil of Maya put on a great performance and was thanked with booming applause and screams. You can find more info on Veil of Maya HERE and see more photos of their performance that night HERE.

And then the crowd went insane as hometown heroes Attila hit the stage. Formed out of Atlanta, GA in 2005, has always called Orlando, FL home. With their carefree attitude, hardcore metal music, and true love for their fans, Attila instantly became crowd favorites wherever they went. The band released 8 studio albums with Villain as their most recent released in February 2019. The band was recently in Orlando on April 7th touring with All That Remains (read that review HERE) and now returned to continue their partying ways. With Chris “Fronz” Fronzak (vocals), Chris Linck (guitar), Kalan Blehm (bass), and Bryan McClure (drums) raring to go the crowd was screaming for them to perform.

Attila’s greatest strength has always been their stage presence and how they engage their fans. Their song selection has always been crowd pleasers to get them amped up and moving around. And Fronz knows how to get that crowd moving. Yet, the band is humbled by the love the fans give them and Fronz always calls out how much they appreciate their support. Outside of that, Attila’s music gets right in your face, rattles you around, and throws you down metal. You can’t help but smile watching and hearing the band perform on stage because they love their music, they love their fans, and of course, love to party. Fronz described that night as “being at a house party with the best band ever playing”. And he constantly referred to the crowd as family. When he asked who had never seen Attila before he told them, “Welcome to the family.”

As usual for an Attila show, Fronz asked the ladies to throw their bras up on the stage so they can hang them on the mic stand. Halfway through the show, he noticed there weren’t many bras thrown onto the stage. He started to ask why and then said, “Oh, it’s because you ladies aren’t wearing bras”, which raised cheers from the crowd. Before performing “Pizza” Fronz called up a woman on stage. She was topless and had pizza stickers over her nipples. She stayed on stage to dance and sing with Fronz which led to huge cheers from the crowd. And right before they wrapped up with “Toxic”, Fronz separated out the moshers to the left and right and had them run at each other. It was the largest mosh pit of the evening and it was utter chaos. Fronz thanked the crowd and the band said goodnight throwing out guitar picks and drumsticks. Also, I learned there were multiple injuries from the mosh pit during their set. You can find more on Attila at their website HERE and see a full gallery of photos from their performance HERE.

Finally, the headliners Crown The Empire were ready to take the stage. The metal band from Dallas, TX formed back in 2010 and released their EP Limitless in 2011. It didn’t take long for the band to be signed to Rise Records and release their first studio album The Fallout in 2012. The band won the Alternative Press Best Breakthrough Band award in 2014. The band released 3 more studio albums, including Sudden Sky, which released on July 19, 2019. Andy Leo (vocals), Brandon Hoover (guitar), Hayden Tree (bass), and Brent Taddie (drums) came to the stage with a huge roar from the crowd. Andy moving around the stage as he sang invigorated the crowd. Brandon and Hayden were also moving around as they played getting the crowd pumped up.

At one point Andy noticed a bar in the back left of The Plaza Live and asked if that was a bar. He then asked if they carried White Claw Hard Seltzer. He said someone gave him a thumbs up and he would be eternally gracious if someone brought him one. As they continued to played someone had indeed brought Andy a White Claw, which he proceeded to chug on stage and finished it. He said if people brought him another he would happily finish it, and so they did. He was having fun and Andy looked very happy. Andy mentioned the band was celebrating their 9 year anniversary as a band and he thanked the crowd for supporting them.

Crown The Empire played some of the singles off Sudden Sky including “(X)”, “Sudden Sky”, “20/20”, “What I Am”, “Red Pills”, “BLURRY (Out of Place)”, and “MZRY”. One of the best things they did that evening was their performance of “Millennia” from their 2014 album The Resistance: Rise of The Runaways. Those who purchased the Deluxe Edition of the album got an acoustic version of “Millennia”. Brandon was handed an acoustic guitar and Andy sat down on the stage. Brandon sat down next to him as they played through that acoustic version of “Millennia”. It was heartfelt and powerful. When they finished their set, the crowd gave then a tremendous round of applause. You can find more on Crown The Empire HERE and see a full gallery of photos HERE.

The Rage Fest tour was a solid night of talented metal artists. Everyone put on a memorable performance and it was an absolutely fun time.

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