Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012
P.O.D., Red, Love and Death, Icon for Hire
The Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN
I'd made a trip to the Cannery last year to see Hinder and Saving Abel, which definitely left me with some concerns about how this venue would work out for a band that I liked so much more. But despite concerns about the venue, when I saw that P.O.D. was coming to town, I jumped on the chance to see them live. I've been a fan of theirs for at least a good 6 or 7 years, but had never seen them live, so I was very glad that they came so close to home this year! On the day, I arrived perfectly on time after the doors had already opened, and much like last time, found everyone in the venue to have a little bubble of personal space around them, preventing people from getting close to the stage. Well forget that...I love P.O.D., so I just politely moved around people and said excuse me until I was about 5 people back from the front, almost right in the middle.
The first band to play was Icon for Hire, who boast a fairly rare female lead vocalist.
She looks a little like Kari Byron, no?
Her performance was great, and they did a wonderful job of hyping up the crowd, especially by having the crowd jump in unison. I did think that all of their talking ("There's no place we'd rather be right here, right now, than Nashville, Tennessee!!") sounded way too scripted, but aside from that, they did a great job.
The next band was Love and Death, which is the new band formed by former Korn guitarist Brian Welch. I love performers with dreads...they're so interesting to watch :-) These guys were very entertaining, since they came with white contacts in their eyes, heavy eye makeup, black paint smudged around their faces and had a generally scary/intense look about them.
Their guitarist particularly fit this mold, and I ended up watching him a lot during the set.
Getting ready to sing a Men in Hats song
The crowd was really into their performance as well, which was fun to see.
Now, if you keep up with my blog, you would know that Christian metal is not where I have been concentrating my music listening efforts lately. So when I heard that Red was opening for P.O.D., I'd honestly never heard of them before. But apparently I was the only person in the venue who hadn't! Before they took the stage, the crowd completely compressed and moved forward, and people were yelling and chanting for Red. Two guys came up to my left and started flipping out about how much they loved Red, and were making videos on their phones of them screaming and hyping the crowd. And the girl I'd been standing right behind turned around and started showing me pictures on her phone that she had taken at the last Red show she'd been to. Of course I had to put my foot in my mouth and be all "Who's that?" when she showed them to me, and she acted so shocked that I didn't recognize the lead singer! But then, if I'd done the same thing to her, she'd have seen pics of Twiztid and KMK in my camera, and I doubt that she would have recognized them, so it's all relative.
When Red finally took the stage, the venue erupted in excitement over them. The two insanely excited guys started a mosh pit which lasted on and off for the entire performance. It felt really awkward to be the only person there (that I could see) who didn't share the same level of excitement as everyone else. I kind of stood there taking it all in, and clapping and cheering at the ends of the songs, but I just couldn't fake like I was a fan when I wasn't.
They did a really great job though, and were very emotional and passionate with their performance. There were even times when the crowd would open their hands and raise them above their heads as though they were listening to real praise music. Three different times, the lead singer said "I know you know the words, so sing it with me!" or something similar, and everyone seemed to know the words! These guys obviously have a large following here...not sure if this is because they're from Nashville or if they're just legitimately that popular. But everyone looked like they were having a great time, and that's what matters.
After Red, the crowd shuffled just enough to allow me to move all the way forward, and I ended up just one person back from the barricade, behind two older guys who didn't look like the kind who would mosh :-) P.O.D. didn't really create much fanfare for themselves when they first came onstage, instead just walking out with big grins on their faces. I've been a P.O.D. fan for years, and my fandom truly never had anything to do with the religious aspect of their music. I was glad that once I was finally getting to see them live, I had a really close spot so I could get some good pics.
As they started the first song, Sonny said that he was gonna start the show off right or something to that effect. They went right into playing Boom, and he jumped down off the stage, climbed up onto the barricade and balanced himself precariously there while he sang.
After a line or two, he then jumped right onto us and started to walk out onto the crowd (with his foot tagging the inside of my left arm...I have the big red bruise to prove it!). He grabbed an overhead light and steadied himself, and finished out most of the song while STANDING UPRIGHT ON TOP OF THE CROWD in the middle of the venue. Craziness! I'd never seen anything like that before. When he was done, he fell backwards and everyone surfed him back to the stage, where they finished out the song. What an amazing start to the show!!
He's got an orb hanging out on his head!
Through their entire set, they performed with a passion and intensity that I haven't seen at a mainstream show in a long time. The crowd was going wild the entire time, and there was almost always a mosh pit of one size or another at any point. The guy standing next to me had to have been the "World's Greatest P.O.D. Fan" since he knew every single lyric, and was head banging, jumping, fist pounding, screaming and whatnot like he was totally possessed by the music. It was so fun to watch.
As the set wound to a close, the last song they sang was Alive, which is my very favorite of theirs. They had the crowd sing along at many points, and everyone was singing loudly and in unison.
As the song was ending, Sonny jumped off the stage and onto the barricade again, and leaned over onto the people at the very front. He was close enough to touch, so everyone was touching an arm or hand, or whatever part of him they could reach, and he finished out the song that way. Before the last song, someone in the crowd had tossed a baseball cap to Sonny, and he had tossed his hat back to the guy in exchange. After singing all of Alive wearing the new hat, he jumped down and gave the guy a hug. The guy was nearly in tears, and I could hear him tell Sonny that he was such an inspiration, and something to the effect of that P.O.D. had pulled him out of some tough times with their music. Sonny then jumped on stage and retrieved the drumsticks that had been used and gave them to the guy, and he looked like he was on top of the world.
Man, this was a fantastic show...WAY more fun than I was anticipating actually. The last time I was at the Cannery, everyone seemed so indifferent about the performance, so I was worried that I'd have the same experience at this show. But luckily, P.O.D. and Red have a very solid following in Nashville, so the crowd was pumped and excited for the show. Of all the mainstream shows I've been to in the last two years (STP, Hinder, U2, etc), the crowd for this show was definitely the best, and really made the show seem that much grander and more awesome. I was very glad that my concerns were all for naught, and that I'd had a fantastic time. And the fact that I was able to drive straight out of the parking lot afterwards without a bit of traffic was icing :-)