While July goes down to be one of the hottest months on record, why wouldn’t you go to a metal show that’s adjacent to the beach. The only problem is, that when it’s that hot out, people somehow always forget to drink water. While waiting in line at the Stone Pony Summer Stage to see Better Lovers, We Came as Romans, The Ghost Inside, and Underoath, a person fainted right in front of me. Now here’s why I love metal fans, I found her later at the show, full color in her face, water bottle in hand, and just about to jump into the pit. So thank you miss, you’re the reason why I’ll be going to metal shows till I die.
Ok, let’s jump right in. Better Lovers. Fuck yeah. It’s weird when a headliner plays first on a four-band bill but these bad ass mf’ers are putting in their dues. Better Lovers is a supergroup composed of Every Time I Die members, their producer (who to me is always a member of the band anyway) Will Putney, and the always over-the-top Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan. It will never get old seeing the amount of energy these guys put forth. From the timing, the accuracy, the jump kicks to Greg always finding a way into the audience. Sadly, the Asbury show wasn’t available for his jumps but the next night at Irving Plaza, he of course, jumped off the balcony, not missing a beat. This band is a power house and I really can’t wait to see what they bring to the stage. The EP, ‘God Made Me An Animal,’ is amazing and only a taste of what’s to come. They played the full EP along with two unreleased tracks and one of my favorite Soundgarden songs.
We Came As Romans took the stage and immediately unleashed a wave of melodic metalcore ear candy. The crowd erupted into cheers as they performed some of their classics alongside tracks from their latest album, ‘Darkbloom,’ released in 2022. Vocalist David Stephens absolutely killed it on stage with his clean and harsh vocals. Andrew Glass brought so much energy that I could barely keep up taking pictures. The fans were really feeling it and singing along to every song. With that said we always need to pay respect to members who have died, Kyle Pavone, who passed away by an accidental drug overdose in 2018 will always be missed. Happy to see the band going strong and thriving, and the Kyle Pavone Foundation is out there helping people with addiction.
As twilight descended upon the venue, The Ghost Inside finally came out…. On to the stage. This was my first time seeing The Ghost Inside and they absolutely slayed. In 2015, TGI was involved in an incredibly serious bus accident. Drummer, Andrew Tkacyk lost his leg in the accident, and the rest of the band was hospitalized. Seeing how far they came from the incident and listening to them play is nothing short of a miracle. It’s one of the more inspiring stories to come out of the metal community. The fact that people came together to engineer a drum seat that can act as a pedal is just amazing. On top of the fact that they play flawlessly onstage was super cool to watch. They have been switching on and off with Underoath, who finished off the night, but the set list they put together was one banger after another.
Finally, the moment everyone had been eagerly awaiting for as the headliners, Underoath, stormed the stage. The presence was undeniable, and the crowd erupted into a frenzy. Underoath’s blends of post-hardcore and progressive elements rippled throughout the venue all the way onto the beach. They had a pretty decent light show on stage as well as just great energy. Timothy McTague, lead guitarist, had my jaw dropping every time he got up super close to me while wearing his short shorts (pics below). At one point, I almost tripped while shooting the vocalist, Spencer Chamberlain, rolling on the floor. I apologized instantly and at the end of the song, Tim asked me, “Is your camera okay?” I thought that was super cool of him, and I think that means he likes me. They played such a fun setlist into the dark of the night and I only saw a few more people passing out due to heat exhaustion.
Super happy metal is alive and well especially for bands who have been around for quite sometime now. The only problem is, a lot of the shows are being under sold. While this crowd was roughly 3k in attendance, the next night at Summer Stage was sold out to teen fans gathering for a chance to see a member of One Direction. For me, metal will always be better at a smaller venue. Intimacy, moshing, singing, true fans, touching someone’s butt and blaming it on the person next to you. The list goes on. I’m sure the heat had something to do with it too, but that’s why they moved from Coney Island to Irving. Which, if you saw, was a better show, Case and Point.
Check out photos of Better Lovers, We Came As Romans, The Ghost Inside and Underoath live at The Stone Pony by Dylan Lappin via the gallery below (click to enlarge).
We Came As Romans:
The Ghost Inside: