Concert review: Bodysnatcher steals the show! w/ We Came As Romans, Emmure, & Archetypes Collide | 11.17.23, Red Flag (with photo gallery)

Photo of Baodysnatcher’s Kyle Medina by Jen Ruff

The chill outside was cutting but it’s so typical Midwest. A friend had VIP for We Came As Romans and I was the plus-one so I wouldn’t be cold long. Bands have elevated meet and greet experiences: we got about 45 minutes with the band for pics, hugs, fun conversations, and cornhole. Soon enough, everyone started filing in and Archetypes Collide began the show. I hadn’t heard of them previously but their seven-song set was a good warmup. The highlight of their set was a cover of Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer.” I’m never surprised when I hear them covered, as their music crossed over as an inspiration to so many.

But then: Bodysnatcher! It wasn’t my first or even second time seeing the band from Melbourne, Florida. This crowd was definitely NOT ready at all. Midway through the opening of “Glass Prison,” lead singer Kyle Medina issued a challenge to the now-packed venue: 100 crowd surfers was the demand. Also dedicating the show to a few friends, it felt as he was more emotional than he’d been in previous encounters. Drummer Chris Whited would continuously stand to observe the overflowing of the crowd as the security had their work severely cut out for them. There wasn’t a moment of let up throughout the eight-song set. The crowd surfed and moshed harder than I’ve felt in maybe a decade. Though we ended around 60 or so crowd surfers, it was a very active part of the show. Bodysnatcher plays hard but very energetic music, designed for anyone needing a bit harder stuff to release any pent-up feelings. The set was far too short for me personally, as I thoroughly enjoy this band more every time I see them.

Emmure was a new band for me. I felt their energy, which was more in line with previous openers for the headliner. Vocalist Nicholas Pyatt carried himself as very much a rock dude but with a heavy hip hop influence. His activity during the show felt like a basketball player sprinting up and down a court. Guitarist Joshua Travis was the standout for me, however. He played his set while engaging with almost everyone on his side of the stage. The personal attention and interactions were fun, hilarious, and touching. He also played almost half a song with his guitars woven between his legs. He is an incredible showman that made it nearly impossible to pull your eyes away to watch anyone else.

By the time the headliners came on it was almost impossible to move in the venue. The cornhole champs in We Came as Romans really pack a crowd. The first time I’d ever seen them was opening for Bullet For My Valentine in their first show after the passing of late vocalist Kyle Pavone. I hadn’t heard of them previously, but during that show they touched on that tragedy and how numb they were. I recall never seeing a live band so very vulnerable and they immediately etched this space in my heart for being unafraid to be so very fragile but still put out an incredible performance for their fans.

The only change the subsequent times I saw them was that that fragility was now replaced with having found the fun and purpose in creating music and performing. Darkbloom is a stellar record—their sixth, but the first without Pavone, with vocalist Dave Stephens taking the role and excelling. Dave carries performances and sets the energy bar high and bassist Andy Glass is never in the same spot twice. The fun was contagious—even their merch guy performed.

Opening with “Darkbloom” and working through “Cold Like War,” “Lost in the Moment,” and ending with “Black Hole,” it was a full tour through their catalog of essentials.

It felt as much like a family party as the preshow stuff I got to be a part of. My best friend is known to the band and is a die-hard fan and I’m always just in awe watching him interact with a band as much a fan of his as he is of them. Their photo with him was a “Prom” shot which was endearing but so much fun to have watched. Genuine caring is super rare in most performance artists but We Came as Romans is incredibly solid. | Diane Ruff

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