Carnival of Madness 2013

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Sunday, August 25, 2013

We As Human:

I enjoyed We As Human a lot more than I’ve enjoyed an opener over the last ten to fifteen shows. After downloading some of their songs post-show, I loved how well the songs translated live. John Cooper of Skillet even came out to sing on their song “Zombie”.

Sadly the crowd was pretty pathetic that early so crowd participation was minimal, but they definitely gave 110% and I commend them for that. I definitely hope to see them added to some more tours I cover over the next year.

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 6
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9

Set list:

1. Sever
2. Dead Man
3. Zombie [Featuring John Cooper of Skillet]
4. I Stand
5. Strike Back

 

In This Moment:

I’ve been tasked with covering In This Moment one too many times over the last year. Musically, I like the band. Guitarists Chris Howorth and Randy Weitzel both create some bone-crunching riffs, but it all comes down to vocalist Maria Brink. A bands vocalist makes or breaks the band and Brink is definitely the weak link of the band. Perhaps I just don’t get her “shtick”, but she’s one of the worst front women in rock in my opinion.

Every time I’ve seen them she’s done absolutely nothing but slightly bend over and flip her hair from side to side and then take the time to switch “costumes” before every song. As if she wasn’t enough of a joke before, she’s added backup “dancers” to her stage presence and some choreographed dance moves between her and said dancers. If I hadn’t been laughing so hard I might’ve cried. I don’t have some crazy expectation for every band I see to do backflips and set themselves on fire, but if you’re not going to be energetic you should AT LEAST sound good while you’re playing and that’s not the case for Brink. Dear other band members: you’ve got a great sound, just find a singer that can actually sing.

Vocals: 3
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 8
Overall rating: 6

Set list:

1. Rise with Me
2. Adrenalize
3. Blazin’
4. Whore
5. Burn
6. Burn Blood

 

Skillet:

I’ve been kind of amazed at how much Skillet has grown on me over the last couple of years. Every time I see them I start to like them a little bit more. Not only do they put out great music, but they have a phenomenal stage presence. Vocalist and bassist John Cooper is all over the stage and guitiarist (and wife) Korey Cooper isn’t far behind. Between fire, smoke and beautiful LED light shows behind them, Skillet manages to have a headline worthy show even when they’re not headlining.

Thankfully their set was a decent length even if they were the middle band of the tour. Smash hits like “Hero”, “Whispers in the Dark” and “Monster” all had the crowd going and singing along. Definitely the highlight of the tour for me.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. Hero
2. Whispers in the Dark
3. Sick of It
4. Comatose
5. Rise
6. Awake and Alive
7. The Last Night
8. Not Gonna Die
9. Circus for a Psycho
10. Monster
11. Rebirthing

 

Papa Roach:

This was the nineteenth time I’ve seen Papa Roach. Hell, this show had them pass Atreyu for my most-seen band. You’d think I’d be sick of them, but I’m not. Each set list has just enough variety that they remain somewhat fresh to me. This set saw some great additions including “Blood Brothers” and “Between Angels and Insects”, two of my favorite songs from my favorite Papa Roach album Infest. While I feel like the majority of current Papa Roach fans rarely know anything off of Infest, for older fans like myself it definitely helps us feel the love from the band when they play songs off the album other than “Last Resort”.

Obviously this tour was more about the current fan favorites so all of the staple setlist songs are there such as “Scars”, “Getting Away with Murder” and “Forever”. I was also happy to hear my favorite song off their new album (The Connection) – “Leader of the Broken Hearts”. Overall, the set list was about what you’d expect if you’ve seen Papa Roach over the last ten-ish years and despite Jacoby’s bad luck with vocal issues lately, he sounded very good.

If you’ve somehow lived under a bridge for the last decade and a half and haven’t seen Papa Roach yet, use any means at your disposal to do so. You won’t be disappointed. Also, right below we’ve got a great interview with Papa Roach bassist Tobin Esperance!

Vocals: 9
Crowd Response: 10
Overall Sound: 9.5
Band Activity: 9.5
Overall rating: 10

Set list:

1. Still Swingin’
2. Blood Brothers
3. Give Me Back My Life
4. Between Angels and Insects
5. Where Did the Angels Go?
6. Burn
7. Forever
8. Leader of the Broken Hearts
9. Scars
10. …To Be Loved
11. Getting Away with Murder
12. Last Resort

 

Shinedown:

I feel the same way about Shinedown that I mentioned that I felt about Skillet; the more I see them the more I like them. Unlike Skillet, I don’t find myself listening to much Shinedown outside of shows, but I at least always love covering and seeing them live.

Vocalist Brent Smith is a great front man and has a natural poise and stage presence that seems to be lost on a lot of today’s bands. After their second song of the night, “Enemies”, Brent turned to the crowd and asked how many people had never seen Shinedown before, after a bunch of people raised their hands or screamed, Brent asked the entire crowd to turn to the person to their left, and then to their right, and introduce themselves and shake hands because they were going to be friends after this show. While they’re not the first band to do that, stuff like that definitely helps make a show even more memorable, especially for those who don’t frequent concerts to the extent that others do.

The 1-2-3 punch of Skillet, Papa Roach and Shinedown definitely made for one of the summers best tours and I hope that Shinedown’s able to keep putting on Carnival of Madness and bringing out their eclectic group of friends to each show.

Vocals: 9.5
Crowd Response: 8
Overall Sound: 9
Band Activity: 9
Overall rating: 9.5

Set list:

1. I’m Not Alright
2. Enemies
3. Devour
4. Unity
5. The Crow and the Butterfly
6. Adrenaline
7. I’ll Follow You
8. Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
9. If You Only Knew
10. Amaryllis
11. 45

Encore:

12. Sound of Madness
13. Second Chance
14. Simple Man [Lynyrd Skynyrd cover]
15. Bully

Photos (Bands Listed in Alphabetical Order):

Leave a Reply