Principal Club, Thessaloniki, Greece 22.04.2017
In the 22nd of April 2017, Principal Club Theater relocated at a new space , and what better way to inaugurate the new venue, than having three huge bands of the metalcore/hardcore scene that either one of them could be the headliners of the show play there. It was PARKWAY DRIVE’s and DARKEST HOUR’s first time in this city, so fans were excited to see them perform. Little did they know, they were up for an unforgettable evening that would be carved in their memories for a long, long time.
Attendance was still low when DARKEST HOUR’s set began, which was a really sad sight as this is a band that, as mentioned earlier, could easily be the headliners and an act you’d pay the same amount of damage just to watch them. The set kicked off with “Knives In The Safe Room”, perfect tune to ignite the crowd and set them up for the explosive performance that was about to follow. Unfortunately, their set was plagued by sound issues that persisted almost until the end.
Sound issues aside, DARKEST HOUR’s performance was energetic and their playing was tight. Honestly, I expected nothing less from a band of DARKEST HOUR’S caliber and experience. John (vocals) was really on his game, and from what little could be heard due to the mediocre sound, did really well. The highlight of the set was “With A Thousand Words To Say But One”, a song released back in 2005 in the album “Undoing Ruin”, which is also one of their most well-known songs, but it was nice to witness it in its full glory. As attendance got better, so did the sound, but there were still issues. The huge circle pit in “The Sadist Nation” meant the end of their barely 30 minute set, which was kinda disappointing as DARKEST HOUR left their long time fans hungry for more songs. Overall, their experience and quality gave us a great result, whose only downside was the sound and the set length.
When California natives STICK TO YOUR GUNS hit the stage the the atmosphere changed. From the first riffs it was pretty clear the sound was much better. There was no doubt the band literally came to play. The opening riff of “Against Them All” meant the beginning of the set that stole the show in my opinion. I had seen STICK TO YOUR GUNS twice live till that day, but this show was on a whole different level. The bass drops were so big they made my beard grow. The performance was electrifying, full of energy and groove. Jesse (vocals) did a great job at communicating with the crowd and keeping them upbeat. His singing also has to be praised as he did both screams and cleans without missing a single note. Every single breakdown hit harder than how puberty hit Macaulay Culkin.
The highlight of their set was “What Choice Did You Give us” which caught everyone off guard and absolutely turned the venue upside down. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how Jesse talks a lot between songs, but anyone who’ve seen, at the very least, live videos of STYG, know that this is their thing. The things that Jesse talks about are very important, tackling topics like, homophobia, racism and anti-fascism. Personally, I prefer a band that talks a lot between their sets and sacrifices one song to tackle issues like this, than a band that doesn’t talk at all between sets and their lyrics are complete garbage and the message they spread is false. So overall, STICK TO YOUR GUNS stole the show when it comes to the music side, as for everything else, well, that’s another story that I’m about to tell below.
After a long wait and with the venue fully crowded, the first notes of “Wild Eyes” hit the crowd’s ears and that’s all it took for the venue to lose its mind. In an instant, a torrent of confetti started raining from the ceiling and the room was overwhelmed by the incredibly bright lightshow. Speaking of lightshow, this was the theme of the concert. An amazing spectacle of various colors, brightness, and shapes were worth ticket price on its own. Add to that the fantastic performance of the Australians that gave 100% on every single song and seemed overwhelmed with how expressive the reactions from the crowd were and you have the magnificent experience PARKWAY DRIVE gave us.
Unfortunately there were sound issues from the first song that occasionally went away, but never completely. Thing is, PARKWAY DRIVE are so energetic and so electrifying , that nobody cared about this till the end of their set as they lived up to their name in every other department. Winston is an amazing frontman that has the whole package. Great communication with the crowd, true to the albums live voice and a fantastic stage presence. The most memorable moment (besides the confetti stuff and the crowd chanting “The Australians Are Crazy”) was “Boneyards”. When Winston announced it, the venue lost its shit and what followed was a live version that was better than the studio. The night came to a conclusion with “Bottom Feeder”, a night is sure to be remembered by many and will be talked about by even more.
Photos by: Panagiotis Karagiannidis