A Day to Remember has always been a strange beast to me. They are a band that on paper shouldn’t work at all. Their idea of mixing pop punk songs with hardcore breakdown and heavy riffs is something that countless bands have tried to imitate but few have been able to replicate with success. One of the key elements of their success always has been their live performances. In their first year as a band, they played more than 200 shows across the United States to make a name for themselves. With a new album planned for early 2020, they embarked on yet another tour and this time they spared no expense.
The Degenerates tour was a celebration of their entire career. They played songs from every album except their first release (they rarely play anything out it except the excellent ‘You Should Have Killed Me When You Had the Chance’) and proved that they are currently at the top of their game. The fact the tour was stopping at Place Bell was even more impressive. With Bring Me the Horizon and Parkway Drive, they are one of the few bands of this era to finally break free of the club’s scene and make it to the arena’s circuit.
The opening acts were Can’t Swim, Beartooth and I Prevail. They were all good and entertaining, however, the sound quality was lacking during the first two bands and only got corrected past the half mark of I Prevail’s set. The crowd was really into I Prevail though and the floor was moving right from the first song and never stopped until the end of their set. I Prevail have two singers and I am normally not a fan of this formula. I always feel like the clean vocal singer is often a glorified chorus guy. With I Prevail, it’s a bit different: they both sing verses and even harmonize with each other. It’s a significant change from a stale formula and made it a lot more fun for me. Strangely, there had no bass player and I felt that their sound was a bit flat as a result. They were entertaining but I was not entirely sold on them to be honest. As they left the stage, music was piped very loudly through the PA system and twenty-five minutes later, A Day to Remember finally showed up.
It was my fourth time seeing A Day to Remember in concert and this was by far their best performance. Their gigantic white stage was very simple, but it kept evolving throughout the night. A giant screen in the back was unveiled after a few songs, and the drum riser was made of multiple light columns, all illuminating in sync with the songs. They had confetti, fireworks and flame throwers: they even threw toilet paper rolls and t-shirts in the crowd.
Every song had something to make it special and it was always met with great appreciation from the fans. Musically they were in great shape too. Their lead singer Jeremy McKinnon was particularly good; when I saw them in the past, he would often run out of breath, mumble words or change a vocal line completely. This was not the case at all on this tour: his perfect rendition of ‘Sticks & Bricks’ was a good example of how excellent he was. He even started the song by telling the crowd that they don’t normally play this song since it is too hard for him to sing. With multiple switches from growling vocals to high pitched clean choruses it is quite easy to see why. It’s also one of my favourite song, which put a giant smile on my face.
They largely stuck to their heaviest songs, always a good choice to keep the crowd momentum going. They played ‘Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End’ early on and that set the mood for the night to come, but a few softer songs like ‘End of Me’ or ‘If It Means A Lot to You’ were also met with a good reaction from the crowd. They played their newest song ‘Degenerates’ and I am happy to report that the live version is way better than the studio recording. I felt the song was a bit overproduced but live it sounds like classic A Day to Remember. The crowd already knew the chorus by heart and were singing it at the top of their lungs.
They finished the set with ‘The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle’ and as the confetti were flying through the Place Bell, I realized how far this band from a small town in Florida had come. It’s truly inspiring to see a band from my generation hitting the big time without any compromise on their sound and philosophy. Long live A Day to Remember and I hope their next tour is at the Bell Center. They deserve it.
- The Downfall of Us All
- All I Want
- Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End
- Sticks & Bricks
- Better Off This Way
- My Own Worst Enemy (Lit Cover)
- Right Back at It Again
- Rescue Me
- Have Faith in Me
- Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail
- End of Me
- 2nd Sucks
- I’m Made of Wax Larry, What Are You Made of?
- If It Means a Lot to You
- All Signs Point to Lauderdale
- The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle
He currently works in the video game industry while continuing to write music with his own band.