Anti-Flag and Political Punk Never Stopped Being Great… But They Have Gotten Even Better

Review and photography by William Dibble

Anti Flag is currently on tour as part of their “Silence = Violence” tour with Stray From the Path, White Noise, and Sharptooth. The Denver, CO stop at Summit Music Hall was expanded into a local “Punk Against Trump” music festival. We previously covered the venue in our review of Arch Enemy/Trivium’s show. It turns out, they have excellent calzones, too, but that’s not what the focus of this review is.

“Punk Against Trump” was a concert combined with miniature activism event. There were several organizations present for a variety of causes. PETA2 was present to talk about veganism. A group called Defend J20 was there to push for support for activists arrested at the Washington, DC march exactly a year before the concert. ProgressNow Colorado was present, a group that defends and advocates for reproductive rights for people who can carry pregnancies. Sea Shepherd was present to talk about saving whales and ocean wildlife. A Voice for the Innocent is a community of support for victims of rape and sexual abuse. And Get On the List is an organization that gathers donations of blood stem cells and bone marrow for patients in need. And a portion of every concert ticket sold raised money for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition. A total of $3634 was raised. (Each organization name is a link to their website).

In our previous review here, we mentioned that Summit Music Hall maintains two stages. Today, they had both in full operation. The concert kicked off with Rotten Reputation, a Denver-based punk rock band. Full of spunk and good old-fashioned punk vibes, they put on a heck of a show despite being given the smaller stage in the venue. The singer’s arm tattoo reads “Fight Like a Girl” with an angry rabbit-like creature holding a large amount of weapons, and she certainly exemplifies this.

The bands throughout the afternoon and evening alternated between the smaller secondary stage and the main stage. Frequently, there was only five to ten minutes between the earlier bands in the day. Rotten Reputation, for example, played from 4:00pm to about 4:25pm, and the next band was scheduled on the main stage at 4:35pm.

Denver hardcore band Line Brawl was the first band to take the main stage. Energetic and angry, Line Brawl put on a heck of a show, dominating the entirety of the space given to them. They jumped, they ran, they made full use of every square inch and minute.

The New Narrative is another Colorado native, a fast and pure punk. They brought along a poster with an adorable seal on it, “the seal of approval.” They implored their fans to sign off on it and pass it around. Later, it settled at their merch booth. The band members wore shirts with what was presumably their names and short, slightly comedic descriptions. It would be difficult to find bands with as much energy as any of the bands at this show, and based on the political statements, it is definitely probable that some of that energy comes from the political climate.

Baltimore-based Sharptooth, and the first band from the national tour to play, took center stage. Sharing a brief moment before the show together, they stormed the stage like only a seasoned band can do. Sharptooth combines blistering hardcore with political and social commentary, interspersing politically charged songs with meaningful words on problems. Between the blasting drum beats, Lauren’s screamed vocals, and the masterful guitars, Sharptooth is a band to pay attention to in the hardcore genre, or in heavy music at all. Sharptooth is currently touring in support of their debut album, Clever Girl, which is available now on most music retail platforms.
Editor’s Note: I don’t like to speak in the first person in reviews, but I think it is also very important to note that Sharptooth spoke to me on a personal level. Lauren spoke on the importance of intersectionality, including people of color, and trans/non-binary individuals in conversations. Frequently, as a non-binary individual, I feel left out, so this meant a lot to me as an individual.

Allout Helter played up on the secondary stage just moments later. Allout Helter offers a fast, accessible blend of hardcore and thrash. The band was flanked by a pair of femme individuals holding “RESIST” posters. While not the final band playing on the smaller stage, Allout Helter was definitely one of the highlights of the afternoon.

The next touring band, The White Noise, exploded onto the stage from the beginning. They traveled all the way from Los Angeles, CA, to be on this tour, and they were having fun doing it. Like Sharptooth, they are a played-straight hardcore band with serious talent. The singer, super energetic, was constantly moving around, and at several points, stood on the barriers around the photographer’s pit, and even sang from the crowd itself. At one point, he climbed up onto the outside rails of a stairway to the second floor of the venue, finishing a song from there before returning to the stage. He made sure to let everyone know that everybody, of all genders, races, and backgrounds, was welcome. Well, except for Nazis. They were not welcome.

Cheap Perfume had a more traditional punk-rock sound than the last few hardcore bands. The singer, donning a one-piece bathing suit for their set, made everything about her words and her band’s set an act of rebellion. From their strong political messages to a killer cover of “Bad Reputation”, they very much gave off Joan Jett and the Blackhearts vibes throughout the set.

Hardcore genre veterans Stray From the Path were up next. They are from the opposite end of the country from The White Noise, and they, as always, brought a stage full of anger and power. At this point, the venue was nearly at capacity, and the crowd went wild for them. During their song, “Goodnight Alt Right”, water bottles and even people were flying back and forth through the main pit. They led a stunning and powerful set, which set the crowd up for the main act of the night.

Before the headliner played, though, one last local band got to show their skills on the secondary stage. Hardcore band Over Time is fast, frenetic, and angry. Their singer vocally and loudly makes his views on the United States Presidency clear as they smashed their way through their evening set. The area around the second stage, while spacious at the opening of the day, was now crowded and tight. Finding a good spot to watch and listen proved difficult.

The final band of the night was Anti-Flag. Long-time survivors of punk rock, the long-running protest punk band opened with their brand new song, “When the Wall Falls”. Anti-Flag has been speaking and protesting for as long as they’ve been a band. They performed several songs in protest a year prior to this show at the inauguration, and they made it clear that night that they believed the President and his administration belonged in prison, not in office. It was also clear that the audience full-heartedly agreed with them. Their powerful, energetic set was the perfect closing for a day full of top-notch punk and hardcore.

The tour still has many stops remaining. You should get your tickets now, get them today, and go see it when it comes near you. You can also see our full set of photographs from the concert here (PG-13 NSFW/nudity warning)!


Trivium and Arch Enemy are no Trivial Display of Power at Summit Music Hall

Trivium 31

Review and photography by William Dibble

Denver has many music venues, with several of them within a few blocks of each other. Summit Music Hall is one of the larger ones. The venue is located just blocks away from the Nuggets baseball stadium squarely within the center of Denver night life. Most shows are general admission, which includes access to an upstairs balcony section with plenty of room and a fantastic view. The lower floor has a huge area dedicated to merch to the right of the stage, with enough room for several bands to host their merch comfortable while fans line up. Over on the left of the stage is a small dining area and window, from which you can buy pizza and hamburgers. There’s a second, smaller stage near the bar, situated near the entrance of the venue. Tonight’s show promised to be crowded – Summit Music Hall was reporting that it was sold out.

The venue was already filling up even before any of the bands had taken the stage. They’d posted the night’s time schedule next to the door on the way in. Fit For An Autopsy was scheduled to open the night around 6:30pm. Right on time, the metal tracks went quiet, and the lights dimmed. Sometimes, you get shows where the opening bands are relatively new to touring and the stage, and while their music is fantastic, their stage presence is not as notable as the headliners. Tonight is an exception. Each of the four bands are seasoned veterans. Fit For An Autopsy took over the stage right away. They only had thirty minutes, but they made the best of it.

They opened up with two tracks from The Great Collapse, “Hydra” and “Heads Will Hang” before going further back in their discography to play “Absolute Hope Absolute Hell”. While their set was only six songs long, they smashed their way through it energetically. There was no lag between the opening acts and the headliners here- the crowd was energized from the very first moment. All too soon, their set finished, and they were packing up the stage.

It took only fifteen minutes to get their gear off stage and the next band started. Like a well-oiled machine, While She Sleeps was ready to go right on schedule. Like the other bands on tour, they were supporting a new album. They opened with the title track from You Are We, before playing mostly new songs and two older songs. Hailing all the way from Sheffield, England, they were ready to throw down with the Denver crowd. At one point, the singer even climbed into the crowd, riding atop the hands of adoring fans, before closing out with the new song “Hurricane”.

Despite being a changeover of the entire stage from the two supporting acts to one of the two headliners, the stage was ready to go in just fifteen minutes again. Arch Enemy was up next, and they hit the stage like an explosion. The crowd was ready before they’d even started playing “The World Is Yours”. Alissa White-Glutz, who joined the band on their last studio album as well as new release Will to Power, absolutely owns the stage. Not once did her energy flag through their monstrous seventy-five minute setlist, comprised of fifteen songs. Relative band newcomer Jeff Loomis, formerly of Nevermore, fit right in with the Swedish death metal. They drove through a powerful mix of new and old songs, with Alissa showing off her ability to both belt out the songs she’d recorded on, as well as the classics from the band’s other singers. It was clear within moments why Arch Enemy was one of the legendary staples of death metal. Despite having a set well over an hour long it felt like they were leaving the stage almost as soon as they’d come onto it, closing out with “Nemesis”. They left Trivium, the co-headliner, with a lot to live up to, between their honed stage show and their costuming and lights.

Trivium, however, was not about to be upstaged. Trivium’s Matt Heafy may not have an elaborate jumpsuit and costume like Alissa, but he doesn’t need it to command a powerful stage presence. Where Arch Enemy feels both welcoming and imposing, Trivium feels like they’re there to have a great time together with the audience. They opened with the new song “The Sin and the Sentence”, followed by “Down From the Sky” from 2008’s Shogun album. Similar to their co-headliner, they played a wide range of old and new material. Part of what makes Matt’s stage presence so endearing and unique is that he frequently flashes the most friendly, happiest smiles at the audience. At one point, he stopped mid-song. “Are you okay?” he asked, gesturing out to the mosh pit. “I saw you fall. You looked like- Oh you’re okay? Cool! I want to make sure everyone’s having fun.” Trivium had an absolutely amazing set, and was great fun to watch.

Summit Music Hall is a fantastic venue. The sound quality there is absolutely impeccable. Whether you were getting pizza and drinks at the food window, or buying merch, or in the back at the bar, sound is both loud and clear. It never feels muddy or distorted. There is a lot of space for moving around, and two wide stairs to the upper floors. This becomes important at bigger shows, especially sold out ones like this one. The stairs happen to be great viewing stations overlooking the stage at an angle. In fact, you can see that angle from some of our shots. The railings can become decently crowded, so it is important that there is still room to navigate up and down the stairs. There are restrooms both next to the stage and near the entrance.

All four bands are touring in support of new albums. Fit For An Autopsy just released The Great Collapse. While She Sleeps released You Are We, with one song featuring Oli Sykes. Arch Enemy’s Will to Power is available as well, and Trivium recently released The Sin and the Sentence. All albums are available from Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, and other music distributors!

You can view the complete set of photographs from the show here: 11-17 Summit Music Hall

GALLERY: SOMETHING CLEVER at the 3rd Annual Queen City Metalfest at The Fillmore Underground

Photography by Hannah Lee Photography

GALLERY: 3rd Annual Queen City Metalfest at The Fillmore Underground

Photography by Hannah Lee Photography.

The 3rd Annual Queen City Metalfest gathered eight of Charlotte, NC’s top metal acts in solidarity under one roof at The Fillmore Underground. The festival boasted an incredible 600+ attendees, proving once and for all that the local music scene is not only thriving, but is producing bands, shows, and fans to rival any nationally touring act.

The night featured an all-star lineup of heavy Charlotte favorites: Skinkage, Something Clever, Black Ritual, Auxilia, Blackwater Drowning, Vices & Vessels, A Light Divided, and Annabel Lee.











Welcome To Rockville 2017 Recap

The World’s Loudest Month kicked off in spectacular fashion on April 29th and 30th with the Welcome to Rockville Festival in Jacksonville, Florida and their sister festival Fort Rock in Fort Myers, FL, boasting a record-breaking weekend with over 75,000 music fans over the two sites. Fuel The Scene Magazine was on-site a Welcome to Rockville, conducting interviews, photographing the bands, and generally enjoying the perfect rock atmosphere created by the festival.

Saturday started off with a running, headbanging start with Badflower, Al That Remains, and Dutch metal band The Charm The Fury. The European influence was abundant all day, including Sweden’s In Flames, England’s Dinosaur Pile-Up and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

The energy didn’t wane as the day went on, the energetic crowd headbanging, moshing, crowd-surfing to The Pretty Reckless, Coheed And Cambria, Mastodon, Pierce The Veil, and some classic punk rock goodness with The Offspring.

As the sun went down and the temperatures dropped, A Perfect Circle took the stage in a mysterious and disappointingly dark show. For the entirety of their set, A Perfect Circle kept the lights down, putting Maynard on a small riser at the back of the stage and keeping the rest of the members enshrouded by shadows and fog. This choice may have worked well for a headlining tour, but for a festival crowd that struggled to see from a distance, the set was a let down that was neither outstanding visually or sonically.

In stark contrast, Soundgarden brought the day to a perfect close with a 13 song set that was full of color, emotion, energy, and showcased Cornell’s immortal, iconic voice. The crowd was utterly spellbound from the opening notes of “Spoonman” to the fade out of “Beyond the Wheel.”

On Sunday, Queens, New York based Sylar and Austin, Texas’ Fire from the Gods opened the show with their rap infused metal. But this day belonged to dynamic lead vocalists, as Jonny Hawkins of Nothing More, Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons, and Chris Cerulli of Motionless in White engorged the crowd with their dynamic ranges and each one left the stage drained of every ounce of energy.

In This Moment and Motionless In White put on incredibly detailed, theatric performances of non-stop energy, fake blood, and costume changes. Chris Motionless was in perfect vocal form, never missing a beat despite the intense movement, stage antics, and heat.

Both Of Mice and Men and Three Days Grace showcased new vocalists (Aaron Pauley and Matt Waist, respectively) and showed the crowd that they were stronger, tighter, and more badass than ever.

Chevelle and Def Leppard closed out the weekend—overlapping a little too much for some fans’ liking, as Def Leppard started 10 minutes ahead of schedule, causing fans to swarm from one stage to the other. Def Leppard put on a hell of a show featuring 15 songs from across their entire catalog of hits.

In addition to the eclectic mix of new and old rock and metal, fans were treated to gourmet food and ice cold beverages compliments of Jack Daniels, Monster Energy, Bud Light and an impressive array of local and national food trucks. Beyond the concerts and food options, fans also had the opportunity to meet some of their music heroes and snag a coveted autograph at The Music Experience and FYE tents. Welcome to Rockville was the perfect start to one of the best Loudest Month lineups and will definitely bring us back in the coming years.

Fuel the Scene 1st Anniversary Concert

Images by Terie Shaver and review by William Dibble of Panfocal Photography.

April 15th is notable for several things. Most importantly, it is the date by which you must remember to do your taxes. Wait, that was a lie. Most importantly, April 15th 2017 was the one year anniversary of Fuel the Scene Magazine! Fuel the Scene, a locally-focused non-profit music magazine, is now over a year old! What better way to celebrate the one-year anniversary than with a concert?

Six bands from Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh took the stage that night. Hard-rock outfit Something Clever hails from Charlotte, NC. Having just released their album, Season of Light, they are notable for their excellent stage presence and the singer’s clever microphone stand.

Also hailing from Charlotte, NC, is progressive metal group The Reticent. A lyrically and musically powerful band, this group is absolutely amazing. Chris Hathcock, the band’s core, uses his band to take a powerful stand on emotional subjects like suicide. They just recently released a music video as well as headlined for a suicide prevention concert.

From Greensboro, NC, we have melodic hard rock group Raimee, fronted by none other than our own Rei. Mixing vocals reminiscent of Evanescence with hard rock and metal elements, they are visually recognizable from Rei’s always stunningly bright hair. They are always a joy to see live.

Sixlight, also from Greensboro, recently released their self-titled EP. These five guys certainly know their way around both a studio and the stage.

Finally, from Raleigh, were two more bands. Dynamic rock group MODENA really knows how to put on a good show. The word ‘dynamic’ certainly describes their musical style and range, as their rock spans several subgenres.

Rock group Paper Dolls also hails from Raleigh, with a grungy rock sound that is well practiced. They treated the attendees of the show to a cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” and are well worth giving a few minutes to listen to.

Reason Define Album Release Show

Show review by William Dibble, photography by Optical Explosion

There are many things to like about shows at The Underground. It has a great local food presence, its close to Charlotte while avoiding a lot of the traffic snarls, and it has excellent parking, to boot. There’s also the amazing sound crew that operate the venue, the pristine dance floor, and the cleanliness of the facility. It is obvious that the Fillmore operates it with pride. None of this was any different for Reason Define‘s album release show, which had a line stretching down the block before doors officially opened.

The first on the bill was Ghosts Again, a NC post-hardcore band. Four members, brought together from a pair of projects, bring together the progressive influences of the genre into a new group. While the band itself was relatively new to the scene, Ghosts Again played a very professional and well put-together set, leaving the audience ready for a few more tracks as they finished up.

Blackwater Drowning was the next band up. Sounding like a combination of metalcore and melodic bands, they slammed into the venue with the aural assault that is “Deity”. The massive bass attack that composes part of the intro could be felt through the entire venue, as Morgan took over the stage, as if she owned the place. Their set was unrelentingly brutal, spawning several mosh pits throughout the venue. All too soon, though, it was time for them to pack up and set the stage for the next band.

AuxiliA, a metalcore band, enjoys a hometown advantage. Hailing from Charlotte, NC, It is worth noting that it is pronounced closer to “Oh-Kill-Ya” than “Aux-Ill-Eeya”, as their shirts will happily remind you. If it was possible to be heavier than Blackwater Drowning’s set, AuxiliA certainly pulled it off. While Blackwater Drowning has a sound reminiscent of the more melodic side of metalcore, AuxiliA brought in the breakdowns and nonstop brutality that is a trademark of the genre.

The headliner of the show, however, was Reason Define. After the previous two acts, theirs was almost metal. Reason Define brings a melodic sound to metal, combined with excellent lead vocals. Their recently released album, Far From Strangers, is a fantastic piece of music, and they brought it to stage with great energy and skill. The brightly colored hair of the band members served only to enhance the experience as they expertly played through their set, clearly seasoned professionals.

“Far From Strangers” can be purchased from iTunes and Google Play!