On a cool night in April, the No Fear Music Tour swung through the Windy City to brutalize Chicagoans during a night that had its good points, and… not so good points.
Having gotten their just as He Is Legend was finishing, I could tell one thing right away-that the sold out crowd filling the House of Blues was hyped, and ready for a good show. From all accounts, He Is Legend started things out right.
Chimaira was next up on the bill. I had previously heard quite a bit about Chimaira, but didn't have a clue as to what to expect. Apparently, I'm the only person on the planet for whom this applies. Seemingly every person in the crowd was into their set. They did put on a pretty hype set, at least by the crowds standard, but it was pretty apparent that Mark Hunter's vocals, for whatever reason, were running through some type of vocal processor. Perhaps a few. In fact, it took the entire first song to figure out if he was lip-synching worse than Ashley Simpson or not, because his vocals simply sounded completely unnatural. Musically, Chimaira was fairly solid, even though it's uncertain exactly why they need to follow the all-too-popular trend of the screamo/metal/hardcore keyboard player. Back in the day, a band would get the hell beat out of them for even MENTIONING the word keyboard, let alone having one in the band. All too common nowadays, however, although I can't say I'd lend it being due to a progression in the genre. Perhaps the set would have been more riveting also if the band would have actually moved around a bit, although I'm willing to concede that as an opening act, they probably didn't have the most room to work with on stage.
The next band to hit the stage was Dragonforce. I had, early on, dubbed this as the night I would be introduced to numerous bands I'd heard much about, yet never really took the time to, nor cared to check out. Dragonforce was another such band. A few things were glaringly obvious from the get-go. First, Dragonforce LOVES metal, and they love what they do. I've never seen a band have so much fun together on stage, while still nailing the songs seemingly with little or no effort. Mixing the vocal styling of Stryper (yes, you heard me right), with classic 80's speed metal, Dragonforce kept the crowd pumped up, moving, and happy throughout their set. Dragonforce's brand of metal might not be everyone's thing, but you can rest assured that they are happy doing what they do.
All of the previous ups and downs finally gave way to the night's headliner, Killswitch Engage. Having had the chance to see KSE previously, but not able to for various reasons, I was VERY excited to finally catch their live show. They did not disappoint. KSE threw down just over an hour of some of the best of their 4 album catalog, stretching all the way back to tracks like "Fixation On The Darkness" and "My Last Serenade" to "Rose of Sharyn" and "World Ablaze", to plenty of new songs from their latest release "As Daylight Dies". Howard Jones kept the crowd moving, and was a phenomenal front man, while the rest of the band moved around, many times dodging around an equally-active Jones, and keeping the crowd in it in the process.
All in all, the No Fear Music Tour was a fairly solid tour that, while it could have been a little better in the way of lineup, was still killer compared to most of what's out there today.