While Hurricane Florence was approaching Wednesday night, the looming storm couldn’t keep down the hardcore scene on Spring Garden Street. The occasional breeze floated through the open back doors of the Blind Tiger, cooling down the inevitability sweaty bodies that are a key aspect of every hardcore show. The weather was perfectly suited to the popular attire of the evening: skinny jeans and a cut off muscle tank.
The Blind Tiger, as always, was small and homey— a puzzling choice for such a well known (and traveled) band. Blessthefall’s stop in Greensboro was to promote their new album, “Hard Feelings”, on a smaller tour. The size of the crowd was perfect for old fans who wanted to get right up front to see their Warped Tour idols from the early aughts.
The venue wasn’t exactly packed, which can likely be attributed to the impending storm, as well as the fact that the main act has been playing shows for a whopping 15 years since 2003.
Ages ranged from teens to thirties, even with a few older folks hanging around the outskirts of the venue. Someone even brought their son, who sported noise cancelling headphones and paraded around on dad’s shoulders. Newcomers were buzzing with anticipation, and older fans wore their old tour merch from the band’s earlier days as if they were rites of passage.
The air throughout the Blind Tiger was almost electric as the openers warmed up the stage for the eagerly awaited Blessthefall. The crowd remained bashful until the third opening act, A War Within. Being only their third show in North Carolina, not many knew who they were.
“I think they’re from….. not America”, commented a friendly audience member on the patio.
His assumptions were incorrect, though. The scream-heavy band is originally from Detroit, Michigan, and definitely enjoyed their stop in North Carolina, feeding off of the infectious energy of the crowd.
Their profane screams echoed off the wall, inspiring a mosh pit or two in the crowd during their short lived set. It was obvious towards the end that the crowd was sufficiently hyped up for the main act, Blessthefall.
Between acts, the crowd milled out to the patio to smoke, while a DJ mix played inside. With the severe lack of seating, strangers mingled, and laughter filled the air as everyone patiently waited for Blessthefall to take stage. The audience was definitely ready, but had one more opening act to go. This time, though, it was someone that people had heard of.
The last opener, The Word Alive, was the most popular of the four acts prefacing the main performance. When they took the stage, shouts and cheers echoed off of the walls of the Blind Tiger. Performing a short set of only five or so songs, the crowd sang along to the older hits. As the show went on, the pit in front of the stage got more and more packed. Finally, it was time for Blessthefall.
Walking onto the stage, if you didn’t know the band was fifteen years old, you definitely couldn’t have guessed it. Frontman Beau Bokan doesn’t seem to have aged a day since the release of their ‘07 album, ‘His Last Walk’. He was charismatic as ever Wednesday night.
“They told us there’s gonna be a hurricane,” Bokan explained, “and told us we shouldn’t come. That we should cancel it. But hey, we’re here.” The crowd was certainly ecstatic over that fact, as the band proceeded to open up their set with an old hit.
Song after song, Blessthefall showed the crowd that they’ve still got it. A mix of old and new, they played songs from a fair amount of their studio albums, all the while celebrating their newest release, “Hard Feelings”. As the set wore on, the crowd exhausted themselves dancing and stage diving to their heart’s content.
Overall, the new “Hard Feelings” album that the tour is promoting, definitely appeals to a wider audience than their older albums. The instrumental backgrounds are less abrasive, and the songs are more lyrical than in past albums. However, the album is still remarkably unique– as are all the band’s other albums.
“It’s like I stepped into a time machine and went back to 2009,” remarked Jeffrey King, who has been a fan since the band’s earlier days. Based on the energy of the crowd, he wasn’t the only one who felt this way. For anyone looking for an alternative blast from the past, a Blessthefall show is sure to take you back to the earlier years of the 2000s.
Blessthefall’s new album, “Hard Feelings”, is available for streaming on Spotify.