Words and photos: Abigail McNatt
Following the release of their newest single, “Degenerates”, A Day to Remember hit the road with I Prevail, Beartooth, and Can’t Swim. On November 2nd, they brought The Degenerates Tour to Pittsburgh and to the home of the Pittsburgh Panthers, Petersen Events Center. For what was sure to be a loud and exciting evening, I was prepared to jump head-on into the music.
As a result of miscommunication at the gate, unfortunately, I missed most of Can’t Swim and by the time I arrived at my seat, they were performing their final song, making it so I cannot give a rightful review. From what I did hear though, they fit the sound and were a proper introduction to the rest of the evening.
So the first band I heard, second on the bill, Beartooth, from Columbus, Ohio. Beartooth really kicked it into gear. The lead singer, Caleb Shomo, pulled the crowd in with his infectious energy and consistent crowd interaction during and in between songs. If I could describe Beartooth with a phrase, it would be “adrenaline-pumping”. The crowd surfing was at full force; one after another after another. Beartooth embraced the energy and highly encouraged the crowd to start a circle pit, to which they did not disappoint. As I said before, Beartooth brought a kind of energy that really spiked the crowd and lasted for the duration of the show.
Up next, we had I Prevail from Detroit, Michigan. First off, their lighting was beautiful. I loved watching the different colors paint the stage and the crowd’s faces. They used a ton of different colors and shades and I felt it really added a beautiful effect. In I Prevail, like most harder-core bands, there is a singer and a screamer, as I call it. The ‘clean vocalist’, as they describe it on their Facebook page, is Brian Burkheiser, and their ‘harsh vocalist’ is Eric Vanlerberghe. Throughout their entire set, I saw a vast majority of the audience on their feet, consistently. In an arena setting, it’s very hard to get a large percentage of the crowd on their feet. But with this show, that was hardly the case. I looked around and saw members sitting in the 200 level seats on their feet as if the energy was infectious. At one point, Eric ran into the crowd and screamed in their faces as they screamed back. All in all, I Prevail brought the Pittsburgh crowd an incredible hard rock experience.
Finally, we have A Day to Remember closing out the show. Originally from Ocala, FL, the band made their return to Pittsburgh and was ready to rock. Their set started out in a very unique way; they had a large white curtain that showed their silhouette when they came on stage. Once that went up, the stage was in view. They had a full white stage, which reflected the lighting very well, as well as a ton of fog. One of the most interesting things I learned about the band was that their fans created something called, crowd surfing on a crowd surfer. They told the story of how that was born during their set on the Vans Warped Tour, several years back. With caution, frontman, Jeremy McKinnon, encouraged the crowd to try it out. And they did just that. I was seated at the side of the stage, out of what I considered to be the “danger zone”, just watching the crowd, in awe. One crowd surfer, surfing on top of another, after another. It was almost like watching the waves on the ocean, the movement was that fluid. Definitely one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced. I’d never partaken in it, but watching people do it was wild. The energy during their set was contagious, from the floor to the ceiling. There was hardly a single person in their seat. Later on, during their set, the band threw in some beach balls, just to keep the audience on their feet. It found Jeremy to be very charismatic and seemed to belong right there’s on stage. But what I loved the most was when he went into the audience, stood on the barricade, fist-bumped the fans surrounding him, and sang right to them as they sang back. The band as a whole very clearly loves what they do and really dedicate themselves to making sure the fan shows enjoy themselves, and the fans’ dedication is proven right back. A Day To Remember brought their all and made November 2nd a day to remember for the Pittsburgh crowd.