From Ashes To New's 'Blackout Tour' Recap

From Ashes To New's 'Blackout Tour' Recap
From Ashes To New Blackout Tour

It's not every day you get to go back to where you saw your first concert and be there not as an attendee, but as a photographer. Being able to see Ekoh, Catch Your Breath, The Word Alive, and From Ashes To New at the historic Milwaukee, WI venue, The Rave, was absolutely a core memory for me. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to grasp that I was able to shoot these amazing bands in such an iconic venue. For those who don't know, you might recognize The Rave from the multiple photos and or videos of artists standing, or singing, in the empty pool where many artists have signed their names along the wall, most commonly shared is Mac Miller's note of "I am Mac Miller. I once lived and now am dead, my soul remains here. Enjoy.. P.S. I sold this place out 3 times." Oh yea, the Rave is also known for being haunted- Mac Miller or no.


Having a rapper open up this show might have seemed like an out of the box option but I feel like Ekoh helped completely tie this night together. Along with DJ Kode Break and drummer Andrew Zakher, this group was so fun to watch. I can't say I've been to too many concerts with rappers, but I can tell you that Ekoh and Kode Break's crowd engagement was amazing. From start to finish, they were interacting with the crowd, even at the barricade, crowd surfing (see below), and Ekoh was even signing shoes to his song "Freeverse 3" ("I said fuck a pair of Yeezy's, I'm just rollin' in these Vans"). During that song the crowd can (probably preferably lightly) throw their Vans, or in some cases Doc Martens, on stage to get them signed. Ekoh started the night off with high energy and more than once had the crowd loosing their minds, most notably during one of his faster paced songs. Throughout his entire set I was excited, involved, and wishing I knew the words to (try to) sing along with him.

Ekoh with Catch Your Breath

Following Ekoh, Catch Your Breath hit the stage and kept up the energy. After having a big year that involved releasing their debut album, so many of the crowd were excited to see them, myself included. While they didn't match Ekoh's crowd engagement (not many could honestly), they consistently had the crowd singing along with them and hyped throughout their set. This tour in particular was a great time to see them since they were able to perform their song "Mirror," which features Ekoh. Having him back on stage absolutely got the crowd going crazy. Throughout their set, Josh, the vocalist, shared some of the deeper meanings of their songs. It definitely shed new light on their songs, setlist, and origins; I'm grateful to have been in crowd. Hearing them play their songs "Fade," "21 Gun Salute," "Shame on Me," and closing the night with "Dial Tone," they hit some of their best songs, in my opinion, and put on such a great performance.

The Word Alive

Having recently closed out their own headlining tour, The Word Alive, came on as the final opener of the night. Blending their older songs like "Trapped," and "Thank You," with songs from their new album 'Hard Reset' like "Slow Burn," "New Reality," and of course, their song with Bad Omens, "One of Us," they kept new and old fans alike happy. And Milwaukee showed their thanks with opening a pit without any prompting at the first chance they got; as in, the very first song. The lead vocalist, Telle, had no hesitation of crowd involvement- from engaging the fans, posing for photos (see tongue out, horns up below), or calling out fans in the crowd, I can't imagine those at the barricade were disappointed. I have to give a shout out to Jose, one of the guitarist, for some great dance moves and showing his energy while on stage. One of my favorite parts of a show is that one guitarist, almost without a doubt, will be consistently on the move and be spinning around (also see below). Another of my favorites is when there's genuine chemistry between band members and it's obvious that these guys just get along. There were several moments throughout the show they were all going back and forth, most notably between Jose and Daniel, the drummer. Given the nature of drums, Daniel wasn't up and spinning, but it was obvious he would if he could. It's always a joy when a band is high energy, high performance, and consistently puts on a great show.

From Ashes To New

I'm not going to lie, I had no idea what to expect for From Ashes To New. With a blend of rap and rock, they're a unique set. However, I've never been so happy to have no expectations. What I thought was just a tight stage, was actually a dual level set up for From Ashes To New with screens behind the bottom stage hiding the second level where the guitarists and drummer eventually started, with a screen behind them as well. Before the band even came on stage, however, the screens lit up with a retro gaming display. It transitioned to their blackout video showing an apocalyptic world. I'll give them this, they absolutely know how to make an entrance. And the show hadn't even started yet. Fittingly, they started the night off with "Armageddon," and the crowd was absolutely wild from the start. With both vocalists, Danny (red head) and Matt (not red head), starting with some great crowd work, the night was only going to get better.

I mentioned the vocalists' crowd engagement; Matt was quick to get the crowd singing along with Danny (see below) and Danny was quick to hype the crowd up while Matt was rapping. The guitarist, Lance (dark hair) and Jimmy (long hair) quickly made their ways down to the first stage along side Danny and Matt and played into the crowd engagement as much as they could while still putting on a great show. I mentioned how much I love when the band obviously get along and the whole crew of From Ashes To New absolutely brought the on stage chemistry. From the vocalists riffing off of each other to the guitarists doing the same, it was an even better show because they were just visibly happy to be there. And the drummer, Maty, was not left out. Several times, Jimmy made his way back up stage to engage with Maty. It was a special treat for me to watch Maty realize he was so close to the ceiling that his drum sticks got stuck in the ceiling, it's really the simple things, both him and I had a good laugh when he realized what was going on.

Throughout their entire show, the crowd kept up the energy and for a great reason, From Ashes To New puts on an absolutely amazing show. Playing a good mix of their songs like "Monster in Me," "My Fight," "Hate Me Too," and closing out with "Nightmare," I was more than happy throughout the whole show. The cherry on top was when they came out for their encore and performed their infamous "All I Want for Christmas Is You" cover. They commented on the crowds influence of them playing that song and how impactful their fans are. It was obvious throughout the night how much their fans mean to them, but I have a soft spot for when the bands go out of their way to ensure the fans know that and the band absolutely did that. Those guys put on such a great show and closed out a great concert. I'm, without a doubt, looking forward to seeing them again the next chance I get.

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