August Burns Red - O2 Ritz Manchester

August Burns Red - O2 Ritz Manchester

American metalcore giants ‘August Burns Red' brought their live show to Manchester last night, bringing with them a night of brutal riffs and stomping pits. This is the first night of their UK and EU tour in support of last year’s album release ‘Death Below ’and they’re ready to bring the hammer down on Manchester.

First band of the night is ‘Thrown;’ a band who are easily one of the most exciting
upcomers within the metalcore scene. As the crowd slowly filter in, the lights drop and the
show begins. The first notes of ‘Grayout ’cut through the venue as strobe lights start to flash, flooding the stage with intermittent lighting. With crushing guitars and catchy yet
aggressive vocals, the band catch the crowd off guard; a crowd that clearly does not know
what to expect from the metalcore newcomers. As we hit the third song, the crowd are treated to a crushing performance of their latest single ‘Backfire. ’This picks up the pace and gets some movement going.

Although the room isn’t even half full, ‘Thrown’ doesn’t hold back on their performance as vocalist Marcus Lundqvist’s vicious screams burst from the speakers, and silhouettes move through the smoke filled stage. A highlight of their set is ‘on the verge’, a song which their fans amongst the crowd absorb, and those who are not yet familiar with the band clearly enjoy. After putting on a strong performance, it seems like a real shame that a large portion of the crowd
missed such an exciting band.

After a brief interval to remove equipment from the stage, our penultimate band of the night prepare to take to the stage. Second to the stage we have ‘Dying Wish,’ led by female
vocalist Emma Boster, the crowd are yet again in for a real treat here. As the stage fills with smoke, the first squealing notes pierce through the crowd, and the stage comes to life. Kicking off with ‘Symptoms of Survival ’the band hold nothing back, tearing through a big set list for a small slot. Having released a new album at the end of 2023, 'Dying Wish’ are keen to make a lasting impression without trying to be anything but themselves; brutal, raw and unapologetic.

As they break into ‘Enemies in Red, ’the room starts to warm up to their performance.
Something to note about ‘Dying Wish’ is the vocal performance from Boster. Her voice is
harsh yet filled with emotion, and holds well above the rest of the instruments. As the set
nears its end, an unexpected stage invader tries to take the microphone before being
removed by security. It doesn’t phase the band; they just keep on pounding through.
Similarly to ‘Thrown’s’ performance, the crowd doesn’t quite know what they’re missing from this exciting up and coming metal act.

The smoke has finally reduced on the stage and the room has started to fill up as fans arrive ready to watch our headliners tonight. Taking to the stage into pulsing lights ‘August Burns Red’ wastes no time in unleashing their music upon the crowd. Delivering a blistering performance of ‘Empire, ’the band quickly move on, eager to wake the crowd up and inspire some movement. ‘August Burns Red’ have been in the game for a long time now and have racked up an impressive number of tours and shows. All members of the band move about the stage effortlessly; both guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler make use of the blocks on stage to show off their shredding skills, whilst bassist Dustin Davidson makes use of the space around the stage. Vocalist Jake Luhrs is a very entertaining frontman, swinging the microphone between vocal lines and stomping around the stage with intent as he bellows out the lyrics of their songs.

Another perk of having been around for many years is having an array of albums to build a setlist from; something that is noticeable tonight, allowing fans old and new to enjoy the songs in equal measure. By mid-set, the show is in full swing as guitarists take on the classic crouched metal stance, air cannons billow into the air and Luhrs takes centre stage. It’s truly exciting to see. The
floor shakes as people throw themselves about the mosh pit to brutal breakdowns, whilst others bang heads in appreciation.
As the set reaches its end, the band power through an encore of ‘Paramount’ and ‘White
Washed;’ something fans clearly enjoy. ‘August Burns Red’ have always said their
intention is to entertain and, based on the reaction from tonight’s crowd, this is a promise they have fulfilled.

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