The best part about end of tour stops is the energy you feel from the bands performing. They’ve reached the end of a long journey after weeks of touring and always want to end at their very best, giving it all they have on the stage. And that’s exactly what was happening at House of Blues Orlando on November 1st. Headliners, Wage War, were closing their tour in the Orlando area as a “hometown” show. All of their friends and family were there and you felt this was going to be something extremely special to see. And it was.
Opening up the show was Dayseeker. The California hardcore band formed in 2012. The band signed with InVogue Records and released their first album What It Means to Be Defeated in 2013. The band toured extensively supporting the album before going back into the studio. Their second album Origin reached #20 on the U.S. Heatseeker Album charts. They signed with Spinefarm Records for their next album, Dreaming Is Sinking/Walking Is Rising that hit #11 on the U.S. Heatseeker Album charts. Dayseeker released their fourth album Sleeptalk on September 27, 2019, which peeked at #3 on the U.S. Heatseeker Album charts. Dayseeker is Rory Rodriguez (vocals), Gino Sgambelluri (guitar), Mike Karle (drums), and Ramone Valerio (bass).
Dayseeker came out to a tremendous roar from the crowd. It may have been the loudest cheers I’ve heard for an opening band. It was packed elbow to elbow at the House of Blues Orlando and there were many Dayseeker fans. Rory looked emotional and surprised by the ovation they received when they got on stage. They opened up with “Drunk” from Sleeptalk. Rory‘s soft vocals were beautiful along with the musical accompaniment. Non-fans may have been confused by the soft opening, but it didn’t last long when Dayseeker let it rip mid-song, which ran chills up my arms. Rory was very grateful to the fans for their love and support during their set. I was beyond impressed with his vocal range. Gino moved around the stage playing hard and providing backup vocals. Ramone was in his groove, keeping a calm demeanor playing bass. Mike was hardcore behind the drums. The band had the crowd moshing during “Sleep in the Sea Pt. II”. Rory got the crowd engaged to light up the floor with their phones during their set. The band used a lot of blues and purple lighting throughout their set. It was a very impressive and solid performance by Dayseeker and the crowd cheered in agreement. You can find their music and merch HERE. Their setlist that night was:
- Sleep in the Sea Pt. II
- Burial Plot
- Crooked Soul
Next up was the Australian metalcore band Polaris. The band from Syndey formed in 2012 and released their first EP Dichotomy independently in 2013. The went on to release their second EP The Guilt & The Grief independently in 2016. The band was signed by SharpTone Records and in 2017 released their debut album The Mortal Coil. The album received fantastic reviews and was nominated for an Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) music award in 2018. In the same year, Polaris made their first tour across North America part with Gideon and the other half with headliner fellow Australians Parkway Drive. Polaris is Jamie Hails (vocals), Ryan Siew (lead guitar), Rick Schneider (rhythm guitar), Jake Steinhauser (bass), and Daniel Furnari (drums).
Unlike Dayseeker who started off soft, Polaris was all in from the start with “The Remedy” off The Mortal Coil. Jamie has beautiful transitions from screaming to clean vocals with true power behind them. Ryan and Rick moved around often while they played as did Jake. All three were caught up in the music and having fun. Daniel also played hard but seemed composed behind the drums. The band played with flashing lights, strobes, and backlighting providing us with silhouettes of the band at certain times. Jamie urged the crowd to mosh and crowd surf and the crowd surfers started to come over the barricade. Polaris provided an intense, mosh-worthy performance and the crowd cheered them on through their set and when they wrapped up. They were a true powerhouse on stage. You can find their merch and music HERE. Their setlist that night included:
- The Remedy
- Crooked Path
Next to the stage was the Ohio metalcore band Like Moths to Flames. The band formed in 2010 and didn’t waste time in releasing music demos. They caught the attention of Rise Records who signed up to their label. Within the same year, the band released their first EP Sweet Talker. From there it was full steam ahead on touring and then back in the studio to release their first studio album in 2011 When We Don’t Exist. The band continued on releasing two more studio albums, an EP, and then their latest studio album, Dark Divine, in 2017. The band even released Dark Divine Reimagined EP in 2018, which was an acoustic version of some of their tracks from Dark Divine. The band left Rise Records and recently signed with UNFD releasing the singles “All That You Lost” and “Smoke and Mirrors”. Like Moths to Flames is Chris Roetter (vocals), Aaron Evans (bass), Jeremy Smith (lead guitar),and Zach Pishney (rhythm guitar).
When Like Moths to Flames took the stage the crowd went ballistic. The word I’d use to define their performance is intensity. The band was hardcore from the start of “GNF” through their entire set. Chris’ vocals were powerful screams that shredded you at every note. Aaron wailed on the bass, headbanging throughout the set in a frenzy. Jeremy and Zach were in perfect harmony throughout their performance, moving around the stage quickly. And the media photographers were dodging crowd surfers more than the first two bands. I truly enjoyed their performance of “Nowhere Left To Sink” from Dark Divine showing off their musical flexibility and Chris’ vocal range. Like Moths to Flames is a band you need to experience live to feel that energy they bring to the crowd. It was a phenomenal performance from them that night and the crowd absolutely appreciated it. You can find their music and merch HERE. Their setlist that night was:
- I Solemnly Swear
- Nowhere Left To Sink
- All That You Lost
- You’ll Burn
- The Worst in Me
- Serpent Herders
- You Won’t Be Missed
- Bury Your Pain
Finally, it was time for the headliners Wage War. The metalcore band from Ocala, FL formed in 2010 under the name of Empires. In 2011 they released an EP titled The Fall of Kings. The band underwent a lineup change and renamed themselves Wage War. Years of hard work and performing got them signed to Fearless Records in 2015. The band released their first studio album the same year titled Blueprints. The album peaked at #9 on the Billboard U.S. Hard Rock Album chart. The band toured the following year to support the album including being part of the former Vans Warped Tour. In 2017 they released their second studio album Deadweight. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard U.S. Hard Rock Album charts. Wage War released their third studio album Pressure on August 30, 2019. Wage War is Briton Bond (lead vocals), Cody Quistad (clean vocals, rhythm guitar), Seth Blake (lead guitar), Chris Gaylord (bass), and Stephen Kluesener (drums).
As the band came out on stage, the crowd became the loudest it was all night. They opened with “Who I Am” from Pressure and they fired off confetti from the stage into the crowd. It was an amazing sight! Besides being a stellar single, the band was all over the stage rocking and having fun performing for the crowd. The crowd surfers started early and came on faster than before trying to get closer to the band for a high five or acknowledgment. They followed up with “Prison” also from Pressure. Briton was smiling from ear to ear as he sang. Cody was behind the mic stand for most of the show singing and smiling. Seth had an intense look on his face as he played, absorbed in the music, while playing perfectly playing through songs. Chris engaged the crowd to get them amped up as he strummed. And Stephen banged away on the drums looking like he was having a blast. Wage War had the crowd in the palms of their hands and the crowd was perfectly OK with it.
The band went back to their older roots of Blueprints playing songs like “Hollow”, “Twenty One” and “Alive”. Wage War was full of energy, passion, and poured it all back to the crowd through their music. During one point Briton thanked his family for all their support and the support of the fans as well. Cody was very emotional stating how much he appreciated all his family’s support and how he couldn’t even look up to the balcony, where his family was watching, because he knew he’d start to cry. It was a truly heartful moment before the band continued on through the rest of the set. The band continued playing a great mix of songs from their three albums and wrapped up the night with “Stitch” from Deadweight. Wage War thanked the crowd again and walked off stage closing out the tour. You can find their merch and music HERE. Their setlist that night was:
- Who I Am
- Don’t Let Me Fade Away
- Twenty One
- The River
- Me Against Myself
- Johnny Cash
It was a perfect night from all four bands and a perfect night to end the tour. Wage War will be heading to Europe at the beginning of 2020 and I’m sure the fans over there will love them as much as the fans loved them here.