Concert Review

Review: Parkway Drive and Stick To Your Guns at Stage AE Pittsburgh

A new album, a tour across the United States, what more could you possibly ask for from Epitaph Records golden boys from down under, Parkway Drive.  Pittsburgh just so happened to be on the list this time around, and it is quite humorous because the last time they were here, it was at Altar Bar (R.I.P.).  From Altar Bar to Stage AE is quite the upgrade, the fully packed venue just goes to show how far they have come since they were a small town metalcore band.  Having Orange County’s Stick To Your Guns and Bad Omens on the card definitely helped.  Since that time period, Parkway Drive have definitely matured with their music and have been breaking the barrier of metal music with each and every release.

From the last time Parkway Drive was here to now, expectations were fairly high since they have been really stepping up their game in the performance and props department.  The crazy things they have been adding to their sets have been all over social media and they have been nothing short of spectacular.  Sadly, we did not get to experience all the extra stage props on this tour, but the natural raw performance we did get to experience was something that was well needed.  A lot of bands “oversell” the music with props, so seeing Parkway Drive without the extra props, and seeing them as an actual band who does nothing but constantly raises the bar so far out of reach that they are almost untouchable was more than worth it.

Throughout the night, they played a very odd setlist I felt covering songs from their sophomore album, Horizons, all the way to their latest release, Reverence.  When I say “odd” I mean more along the lines of that they didn’t play all the songs you would expect them to play.  It was kind of nice that the normal everyday setlist was different.  Songs like Boneyards, Idols and Anchors, and Dead Man’s Chest were played rather than Romance is Dead, Deliver Me, Swing, Dark Days, etc.  Fact of the matter is, is that it’s nice to see a band still mixing up their sets to keep people on their toes.

The biggest thing I noticed during their set was this, all of the new songs hit so unbelievably hard live!  Listening to their newer songs in the car doesn’t even come close in comparison to the exact same songs live.  The catchy chorus lines, singalongs, and head banging riffs all at once was just overpowering and you couldn’t help yourself but to give into every demand Winston McCall had on stage.  Luckily all he wanted was for people to jump and scream a lot.  Songs like Vice Grip, The Void, and Prey were huge hits throughout the night because of the intense choruses and such.

Overall, we get to hear some of the best songs Parkway Drive has to offer, Wild Eyes and Carrion are always all time favorites for people, Karma is another great fast song of theirs, Crushed and Bottom Feeder to wrap up the night, a lot of great picks for the night and they went hard for every song.  There’s a reason why they are always nominated for numerous different awards for their work as a band and seeing them live proves every part of it time and time again.  This may be the last time we see them for another couple of years, but I will only expect more from them the next time around, and they always seem to never disappoint in the least.

Stick To Your Guns wasted no time in engaging the crowd at Stage AE opening with the hard-hitting The Sun, The Moon, The Truth: “Penance of Self”.  Jesse Barnett (vox) has a golden throat that can belt hard with the best of them.  It took a bit to get the crowd completely engaged prompting Barnett to say, “You know why I love Pittsburgh?  You make us work for it!”  And work for it they did, entertaining the hell out of their current fans and definitely gaining a ton of new ones who may have never encountered the force that is STYG.

Guitarist Josh James met with us pre-show and post-workout for an interview to discuss all thing True View and much more. Watch here.  Josh’s grueling workout did not keep him from throwing all his energy into the performance as he jumped, sang, played, and generally crushed all.  Along with rhythm guitarist Chris Rawson, Andrew Rose on bass, and George Schmitz on drums the band was extremely tight and packed in a lot of entertainment into the seven-song set (Nobody, Such Pain, Empty Heads, The Reach for Me: “Forgiveness of Self”, Doomed By You, and Against Them All.  STYG never disappoints.

Parkway Drive photos David Mondine © 2018