Concert Review: Project 86 w/ The Overseer, Willet at Radiant Life Church (Dublin, OH)
The newly independent Project 86 has just wrapped up recording their new record, to be released in the summer and to celebrate they have hit the road on a short run they’ve dubbed the “April Assault Tour.” After a cancellation of a Cleveland date, the tour was shifted to the small Radiant Life Church in suburban Dublin, OH.
I arrived at 7 PM in the church’s youth room to find out I had missed the openers Righteous Vendetta. By this time, the mission-minded indie pop-rock group Willet was jamming onstage. At one point, frontman Jeremy Willet quipped “Is it OK that I brought an acoustic guitar to a metal tour?” All in all the band sounded good, chugging through a set heavy with songs from their latest, Aaron Gillespie (Underoath/The Almost) produced Love on the Outside EP.
A quick set change, and Arkansas’ The Overseer was ready to rock the audience. Rather, they were ready to attempt to rock the audience. They were a last minute addition to the tour after Sent By Ravens were forced to drop off, and they carry the claim to fame of being the latest signees to Solid State Records. Frontman Tony Rivera (who has an odd resemblance to Twenty One Pilots’ Tyler Joseph) led the group in a short set of catchy metalcore. The audience from my point of view wasn’t responding well, although I heard later they were the best of the tour thus far (what?). I felt bad for the band when the band encouraged a circle pit, at which point people backed up to form a circle and then NO ONE MOVED. Facepalm much? But anyway, this band clearly has potential, and I’ll be looking forward to checking out their 10 song debut major release in the summer.
At end of the Overseer’s set, I got the sense something was fishy. Turned out Dublin’s finest (worst? I kid, I kid) had showed up and decided to enforce an EARLY curfew. Hmph, well that would explain why I missed the opening band and why The Overseer’s set was cut short. Well, at least I’d see a full set from Project 86, right?
Andrew Schwab and his new band took the stage to “The Spy Hunter” amidst lots of smoke and strobes. Boy, they look like they mean business! Schwab’s stage presence is as awesome as ever, with no audience too large (or small) for him to engage with his all. “The Butcher” and “Me Against Me” followed in quick succession, with Schwab pulling various guys by the collar up to the mic to scream “ME!” at key moments. “Destroyer” had its now obligatory appearance, with Schwab bellowing the now familiar command “hands in the air!” Two new songs followed. If Project 86 didn’t fit on metal tour before they do now! This isn’t to say they’ve ditched their trademark style for generic metalcore – rather, with the original band members gone, Schwab now has free reign to create a heavier record without much holding him back. Anyway, the first song was the simple but HEAVY “Fall, Goliath, Fall” followed by the somewhat more complex “SOTS.” I was pleased to hear some experimental elements in both songs, and the latter had some interesting drumwork. And this moment, after a scant half-hour of playing, Project 86 was forced to end the show prematurely on account of the curfew – at 9 freakin’ PM. Oh well, as I told Schwab after the show, I’d give the band praise and bash the Dublin PD. Hopefully this review succeeded in that!