As I Lay Dying
(DTE Energy Theatre, Clarkston, MI – August 3rd, 2006)
It was a rainy day at the DTE music theatre, but the drops didn't keep fans from sticking around to see As I Lay Dying take to the stage. They were the last act of the night, following In Flames. First to step on the stage was vocalist Tim Lembesis followed by drummer Jordan Mancino. Clint Norris, bass, was out next, leaving guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso to join in tandem. "Hello Detroit!" Lembesis shouted before grabbing the mic from the stand.
They opened the set with "Meaning in Tragedy". Lembesis leant into his hand holding the mic as he pulled the lyrics seemingly from the depths of his soul while the band kept up a dizzying pace. The fans thrashed and nodded their heads in haphazard unison. Next out the gate was "The Darkest Night". Lembesis continued to scream the lyrics to the song with fervent passion, but fell back on a melodeath refrain, that the crowd had a good time chanting along with.
The band hails from California, home of the American underground Gothenburg sound bands. It has been argued that American bands with the Gothenburg sound use watered down versions of Iron Maiden riffs. As I Lay Dying is a testament that there is nothing 'watered down' about it. In case the first group of songs from the set didn't cement this into everyone’s mind, when "94 Hours" was played it sealed the deal, leaving audience members to thrash and nod their heads in haphazard unison while shouting the lyrics. It was obviously a crowd favorite.
The rain let up just as the band started in on "Confined". The audience showed their appreciation by getting even more into the music. What the band lacked in words they made up with pure stage presence, head banging and slamming away on their instruments with reckless abandon. It almost seems impossible that the band can unleash such frenzied riffs and melodies in such remarkable time while throwing themselves around the way they do. After finishing the songs one of the members is heard saying "Hey, it stopped!"
The last song of the night was, appropriately, "Morning Waits" as the sun went down on the day. After the song was all wrapped up the band thanked everyone for coming out and asked them to come again. Some members of the crowd begin to disperse while others choose to linger possibly hoping for an encore.
The set was short but they still managed to cover a lot of ground, playing songs from their new album Shadows Are Security as well as numbers from the older releases "Frail Words Collapse" and "Beneath The Encasing of Ashes".
As I Lay Dying played a gimmick free set, as opposed to what many of the other bands in the same genre adhere to. They played a genuinely entertaining show without the guise of fake blood or bile to distract the audience from the music. The impressive riffs and moving intensity are all the band need to put on a show that any hardcore fan would be pleased to attend.
Review by Natalie Borsh