Hello and Happy New Year to all you preferred pretty people of the pit! A brand-new year and your intrepid KC crew has already put a notch in our concert belt. On Friday, January 12th, we were taken again to one of our favorite venues, Arvest Bank Theater at the Midland. This show would have us seeing one new band (Crown the Empire) and one we have covered previously (Asking Alexandria).
January in Kansas City is usually brutally frigid, but things were about to heat up at the Midland. Being fashionably late for nearly everything, I arrived a little later than normal to an otherwise early start show. The crowd was pumped, merch was being sold, and the bar staff was in overdrive to meet the demand of the reveling fans.
Crown the Empire lead us off on this night, but being the openers didn’t mean these dudes from Dallas (no relation) were newbies by any stretch. Formed from a high school friendship, Andy Leo (vocals), Brandon Hoover (guitar), Hayden Tree (bass), and Brent Taddie (drums) have been active since 2010 with three studio releases to their name.
One thing about this band that you immediately notice is the intensity of Drummer Brent Taddie – he works his set like a set of artillery cannons. Throughout the set, you could feel the blast beats in your chest. Notably, too, is vocalist Andy Leo’s manic pacing about the stage like a caged animal. Flanked on either side of Leo were the bass and guitarists, tying the whole sound together. The band was clad in all black, with contrasting white speaker stacks wrapped in red caution tape setting a modern, eerie mood to the stage. By the end of the set, the song “Machines” opened with a solo Leo on the stage. One by one, starting with the drummer, then guitar and bass, a build-up and explosion on music saw the eight-song set wrap up.
Asking Alexandria was next to the stage. It was nearly two years to the day and probably just as cold when we covered them last at the Midland. I took a softer approach to watching AA play this time around. Two years ago, I thought I could keep up in the mosh pit, and my body didn’t bounce back like it did in my late teens when I frequented pits without fear.
AAs return to the Midland also signaled the return of original lead singer Danny Worsnop. Back with Danny were Ben Bruce (lead guitar, vocals), James Cassells (drums), Cameron Liddell (guitar), and Sam Bettley (bass).
The stench of rock n roll was already heavy in the Midland, and a low, dull humming noise filled the theater signaling the band was about to start. AA opened up their set with “Into the Fire”, accompanied by a dazzling array of fog machines, bright lights, and lasers. Blitzing right into “Killing You”, the visual effects of the large screen behind the band elicited memories of trippier times. The set continued with AAs own brand of high-energy, brutalizing metal. The set took on a more mature feel, with “Vultures” being performed semi-acoustic, and “Someone, Somewhere” following it up with more acoustic jams. The band then played some new material from their self-titled 2017 release, and closed the show “The Death of Me” from their 2013 release “From Death to Destiny”
There ya have it folks! New Year, new photos, but still the same cool dudes. Peace, Love and Rock!
Words by Dallas Hessel
Photos by Josh Chaikin
Crown the Empire