Despite being what we call 4th winter here in the Midwest, fans lined up around The Clyde Theater in full anticipation of the killer line up on the opening night of The Below Tour featuring Beartooth with support from Silverstein, The Devil Wears Prada, and Erra.
For the unfamiliar, myself included, Erra hails from the dirty south of Birmingham, Alabama. Erra formed in 2009 and is currently comprised of Alex Ballew, Jesse Cash, Sean Price, J.T. Cavey, and Conor Hesse. Their modern progressive hardcore sound is reminiscent of August Burns Red, Texas in July, and Born of Osiris to name a few. Erra released their self-titled fifth album in August 2020. Albeit this being my first time seeing them, I was more than impressed with their energetic stage presence.
Following Erra was The Devil Wears Prada and they completely released hell on Fort Wayne. Red, orange, and yellow lights accompanied by massive amounts of fog filled the venue as TDWP took the stage. They opened with a new banger “Watchtower” which they released in February of this year. I’ve never seen so many bodies slam into each other so quickly. Like moths to a flame, the crowd was completely in the hands of frontman Mike Hranica and they just hung on to every word he was screaming into that mic. They closed their set with “Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over” off their first studio album, Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord. This was the first time since 2012 they played the full version on stage. TDWP no strangers to the Midwest as they originated in the neighboring state of Ohio and their Ohio family of fans came out in full support as I could tell from the amount of Ohio license plates in the parking lot.
Up next were Canadian natives, Silverstein. I haven’t seen them in many years and was elated to see their name on when this tour was announced. Silverstein was formed in 2000 by frontman Shane Told and the current lineup consists of Paul Koehler, Josh Bradford, Billy Hamilton, and Paul Marc Rousseau. After being together for over 20 years, I’m so happy they’re still touring and killing it – not to mention they filled my nostalgia meter for the night. They came out to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and of course the entire crowd was singing along in anticipation for Shane and the boys to take the stage. I saw them waiting in the wings and Shane was wearing this killer white leather jacket, which was very Freddie Mercury of him, at least in my eyes. They came out and slammed one of their biggest hits (and one of my personal favorites) “Bad Habits” of their 2020 release A Beautiful Place to Drown; which was one of the few good things 2020 had to offer. They played singalongs such as “Infinite” and “My Heroine” which immediately brought me back to my senior year of high school and basically every dude sang this to their girlfriend at the time. They also performed a live debut of their single “Ultraviolet” off their upcoming album Misery Made Me slated to be released next month. Mike Hranica of The Devil Wears Prada joined Shane on stage to close out their set with “Smile in Your Sleep” off their sophomore album “Discovering the Waterfront”.
Finally, headliners and fellow Ohio natives, BEARTOOTH!! As a white curtain cloaked the stage, the anticipation of the crowd grew. Curtain dropped and multiple cannons went off showering the crowd in purple and black confetti – now that’s how you start a set off with a bang! They set it off with their latest single “Below” off their newest album harnessing the same title; and OMG what a slap that is (better than the one Will Smith laid on Chris Rock).
They too debuted crowd favorites such as “Hated”, “The Lines”, and “Bad Listener”. My favorite part of their set was when vocalist, Caleb Shomo, shared his heart and journey sobriety just before their chart topper “Disease”. Caleb went on and said that on this night, March 26, 2022 marks 100 days sober from alcohol for him and what it meant to him. Caleb received such a welcoming and great response from the Fort Wayne crowd and respectably so. Caleb further went on to explain what the song meant to him with the depression he once had, and the different meaning it holds others. Beartooth finished their set with “In Between” – or so we thought. The crowd chanted ‘Beartooth, Beartooth, Beartooth….’ and the guys ran back out and hit the audience with “The Past is Dead” and “The Last Riff” both of their latest album “Below”. This was my first time seeing Beartooth since Warped Tour 2017 and they are just incredible live! Fantastic stage production, crowd interaction, and non-stop vigor. If you have never seen them live, I highly suggest you check them out on this tour if/when they hit a stage near you.
The Devil Wears Prada