After over a year since the last time I truly got to experience going to a live show and feeling the rush of running around in the photo pit and the floor shaking underneath my feet, Beartooth and Wage War hit Minneapolis running on their nearly sold out The Below Tour.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, live music had to press pause and music venues had to close their doors to keep listeners safe and promote communal well-being. Beartooth came on this tour ready to give their all and keep their music alive after what felt like an eternity of lockdowns, 6-foot reminders, and safety risks.
From Ocala, Florida (where A Day to Remember also has major roots), Wage War started the show off with intense energy and passion. Their newest album, Circle the Drain comes out in early October and everyone at The Fillmore was ready to hear their new sound and sing along with the music they had already fallen in love with.
Both Wage War and Beartooth brought sincere and honest energy to the stage that really showcased their passion for their craft and their dedication to the music scene and their listeners. You could truly feel how intense their energy was but also how needed this energy was.
After spending a year without being able to see live music and support the metalcore music scene, these artists really came to give us a show and remind us what live music is all about even if it meant wearing masks, getting poked with needles, and witnessing how a virus can affect us and our loved ones.
Wage War brought the energy and excitement up by playing some new music from their upcoming album and in between songs it was heartwarming and endearing to heart their vocalist, Briton Bond, stop and look out at the crowd in awe and say something as simple as, “shows are great.”
Shows truly are great and seeing how much these artists missed being able to share their music with us and us truly missing sharing that experience with them, reminded me of why we come together and share our love for music as a community and why live music matters.
After Wage War warmed up the crowd and brought out the vibrancy in their fans, Beartooth hit the stage ready to truly allow listeners to indulge in their artistry and witness a group of people coming together to create something beautiful, heavy, and long-awaited. This was one of the most energetic shows I’ve seen Beartooth play and the most fun I’ve seen their vocalist, Caleb Shomo have while on stage since Warped Tour 2011.
I can’t talk about Beartooth without mentioning their roots in Attack Attack! way back in 2008. I grew up listening to Caleb Shomo and seeing how he’s progressed in his career and musicality is not only impressive but also reminds me that our roots are important but where we grow from there matters more.
Beartooth’s debut album Disgusting was released back in 2014 and was really exciting for me at the time after following Shomo’s career and hearing them play songs from that album tonight and seeing the crowd light up and sing along created an intense, yet heartwarming reminder of how this music scene has grown and how this band has progressed.
Towards the end of the evening, the light streamed behind the artists as Shomo talked about how great it was to be back after living through a pandemic and not being able to play live music. For two minutes, the artists in Beartooth and the crowd in Minneapolis really shared a wonderful ambient experience as the guitars and bass rang throughout the beautiful space that is The Fillmore.
While the crowd listened and swayed organically, they moved in calm waves and expressed ethereal vocals. As their set was coming to a close, the lights streamed around Shomo as he hit the middle of the stage with grace and pure emotion.
Beartooth was about the play one of their most emotive songs, “Disease” while Shomo interacted with the crowd talking about how great it was to be back playing music and why their next song was important. Right before playing “Disease,” Shomo looked out at the crowd and said, “rock and roll finds a fucking way” and he shared an intimate moment with his fans acknowledging that we all made it through the pandemic and that music found a way to endure.
At least for me, and I’m sure many others at The Fillmore tonight, these moments were much needed and really struck the old heartstrings. As odd as it sounds after leaving a metal show, this night was truly beautiful and the energy shared by the individuals that came together tonight really was magical and left me feeling peaceful and heard.
Wage War and Beartooth came to Minneapolis to share their passion and I really believe that their listeners also shared in that passion and this night was a lovely reminder of why music saves lives and why these artists do what they do. The energy flowing through The Fillmore was really special and I am truly blessed to have been a part of it.
We came together as a community to slow the pandemic so that we could come together as a community now to share in a captivating experience. Wage War and Beartooth left me smiling, headbanging, and dancing tonight in a way that I haven’t been able to experience in a long time.