Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed at Tempe Beach Park Last Night

avengedfallfrenzy.jpg
Victor Palagano
Avenged Sevenfold
Day one of Fall Frenzy belonged to the the arena rockers, day two got a little more alternative, but day three was all about the metal.

So metal, in fact, that it wasn't technically day three of the "Arizona Fall Frenzy," so much as its own separate gig, the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar tour, rounding out a weekend of music at Tempe Beach Park.

Sunday's performances were sponsored by KUPD, and tellingly, the acts were exactly the kind of stuff the station spins, acts like Hellyeah, Airbourne, Halestorm, Stone Sour and co-headliners, Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed.

"Not a fan of Disturbed?" A fan near me questioned after he overheard me talking to a friend in line.

"You will be!" he promised as we got frisked.

I decided that if he was this stoked to endure the sweltering heat even as the sun went down, I was going to take him at his word. 
Avenged Sevenfold did lots of the things I love about heavy metal. There was no shortage of dual Iron Maiden-inspired guitar solos from Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, and cocksure front-man M. Shadows proved adept at that West Coast cocktail of punk attitude and hair metal sleaze.

The drums were ridiculously over the top, too, with former Dream Theater stick-man Mike Portnoy taking over for Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, who passed away last year. Portnoy didn't get as outrageous as he did in his former band, but he certainly didn't slack.

Of course, the band also did a bunch of things I like least about modern metal. They leaned heavily on constant chugg-a-chug breakdowns on loan from their metalcore past (seriously, I first heard the band on a Plea for Peace comp alongside Poison the Well, Snapcase and Curl Up and Die), and during the requite power ballad in memory of "the Rev," the acoustic guitar sounded like gnarled tin foil.

Then there's the theatrics. The show opened with a mock hanging, and continued with pyrotechnics, splashy video, and constant one-liners from Shadows: "It's a little toasty out here. But who gives a fuck. It's time to rock n' roll!"

It's tough toeing the line between fun and annoying, and if you're going to error, best error on the side of dumb exuberance. Avenged Sevenfold may have been a touch too professionally obnoxious for my taste, but they weren't boring for a second.

Well, except during that power ballad.

disturbedfallfrenzy.jpg
Victor Palagano
Disturbed
After a brief set change, Disturbed took the stage. Like anyone who's been near a radio during the past ten years, I've heard their inexplicable play-list staple  "Down With the Sickness" about nine thousand times, made memorable by the song's infamous hook, the sort-of crazed primate noise issued by singer David Draiman.

Turns out Draiman's vocal range is actually really impressive. Though he mostly warbles on in that throaty baritone associated with the genre (you know, those ultra enunciated "yehahhhah-uh"s), he actually has some astonishing range. The screams where violent but defined, and occasionally he did this thing almost like throat singing, which found his vocals sounding otherworldly.

While Avenged seemed content to kick out the party jams, Disturbed's set took on a curiously political slant as the show went on. After a bouncy take on Genesis' "Land of Confusion," the next song, "Another Way to Die," found the band playing in front of footage of natural disasters and recent oil spills. It felt a heavy handed, but it was practically Waiting for Godot compared to what came next.

As the band ran through "Indestructible," the video screens featured film of American soldiers in the Middle East, Native American warriors and various explosion, bombs falling and cannons firing.

"How about a little patriotism from you motherfuckers," Draiman said. "Chant: U.S.A! U.S.A!" As the crowd shouted back, it was shocking how straight up the band presented themselves. Disturbed doesn't just support the troops, it supports them blowing shit up.

"Every broken enemy will know," Draiman sang, "I'm an indestructible master of war." A digital American flag waved on screen.

I had never considered the socio-political aspects of Disturbed, but during "Stupify," it all got too blatant to ignore: Disturbed make Tea Party rock, music for the disenfranchised, fed up and pissed.

"All the people on the right wing, rock, all the people on the left wing, rock," Draiman sang, but he's no centrist, just a populist. Just like the Tea Party leaders, he realizes people are angry and scared, and they really want to get together and yell about it.

I'm well aware that I'm probably reading too much into it, but consider the band's closing tune, "Down With the Sickness." Over chugging riffs, the song's narrator, a victim abused by his mother, turns the tables and becomes the aggressor, a misogynist and eventually a killer.

As a couple thousand kids sang along, I knew that no one was going to go home and murder their mom. Yet they related to that frustration, and I couldn't help but wonder if maybe there wasn't a healthier way for us to deal with our fear than to wallow in it and glorify the violence of desperation.

So, to the guy I met in line, I didn't leave a fan. But I did leave understanding the appeal of Disturbed. Frankly, it made me want to hear another bad power-ballad from Avenged Sevenfold so I don't have to feel so serious about this stuff.

Personal Bias: There's really no genre I'm less interested in than modern radio metal.

The Crowd: If you had a shirt on, it was black. But you didn't have a shirt on, did you? Lots of tribal tats, and soooo many Avenged Sevenfold shirts.

Overheard in the Crowd: "You've been clamoring for Awful House, man, so I'm gonna give it to you."

Random Notebook Dump: "I want a sea of raging pumping fists!" A quote from Draiman that I find so amusing.

Avenged Sevenfold Set List:

Nightmare
Critical Acclaim
Welcome to the Family
Beast & the Harlot
Buried Alive
So Far Away
Afterlife
God Hates Us
Unholy Confessions
Almost Easy

(Big thanks to A7X fan and all around great dude Chris Ortiz for spotting me all the song-titles)

Disturbed Set List:

Asylum
The Game
Prayer
Liberate
Land of Confusion (Genesis cover)
Inside the Fire
Stricken
Another Why to Die
Stupify
Ten Thousand Fists
Indestructible
Down With the Sickness 

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17 comments
Jc
Jc

Avenged Sevenfold blew Disturbed out of the water. Listen to the lyrics in Critical Acclaim and compare that to Stupify, just as political if not more. Also, if you consider what Syn and Zacky do "chugging" You obviously need to listen to more metal. So Far Away holds importance to the band and their dedicated fans and I am completely convinced you know nothing about music if you find the acoustic guitar in that song lacking. Listen to the notes and the harmonies and how all the instruments come together and you'll regret stating that. I am convinced I could have done a better review of Uproar than you Mr. Woodbury. And considering I have the picture of Draiman and Donnegan that you used to illustrate disturbed plus a couple hundred amazing pictures of Sevenfold, I think I could have illustrated just as well. Why dont you do all of us a favor and go review a Lady Gaga show or something, although I'm quite sure you'll interpret her music wrong too.

J-Train 58
J-Train 58

Ok I agree with everyone here, why review a metal concert if you don't like metal?! And I CAN NOT believe you called A7X radio rock! Avenged was not their best and I say that with the upmost respect for them, everyone leaves out that Jimmy was not just a band member but a best friend to the entire band. Also how come you only talk about the headliners? Halestorm made me a fan after their killer performance, also HellYeah was good

Jason P. Woodbury
Jason P. Woodbury

Thanks for reading, everyone.

I feel no need to defend my review from any of the attacks, but I would like to state for the record that I really love a lot of metal, from a lot of the stuff on the "hipster" approved Southern Lord/Hydra Head/Relapse rosters to the goofier stuff like Skid Row or Stryper, to older doom stuff like Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram and of course Black Sabbath.

My mind was as open as I could pry it- and I really feel the review demonstrates that.

Mike R. Meyer
Mike R. Meyer

As the de facto "metal guy" among New Times contributors, I was at the meeting when Jason took this assignment and I can say with complete confidence that this is a much kinder review than I would've written. So for those of you saying that it should've been written by a metal fan, count your blessings. I applaud Jason for going into this with an open mind and actually trying to take something away from it. I probably would've just railed about how incredibly trite Disturbed's faux-angst sounded and how A7X have combined the worst elements of '80s hair metal schlock and modern metalcore histrionics to create their own unique brand of suckiness.

Great review, Jason. Way to turn what must have been an awful experience into a truly interesting read.

Gilhouse19
Gilhouse19

You are a shit hole off a person, go back to your mothers basement and blog your ass to death A7X is it assmonkey.

SynA7XfoREVer
SynA7XfoREVer

You obviously dont have the comprehension to appreciate good music and like its been said if your not a fan of metal why the heck would you write a review on a metal concert your review sucks you should be fired

metalobotomy
metalobotomy

It seems, Mr. Woodbury, that even though you, admittedly, aren't a fan of the genre, that you approached it with an open mind. I'm guessing the reason you went was because you were assigned it by your editor (i"m not sure why no one else here figured that out.)......I thought, given the fact that it's not your thing, you did a very compassionate & sympathetic review.

I remember how defensive Metal fans were in high school "You don't like Metal, dude? What are you, a faggot?!"

Good to know things don't change much.

Apparently the next time you have an assignment to do a Metal show you SHOULD do some more research...say move into a trailer park on the west side...date a stripper...go gay bashing...get a lobotomy...drop out of high school....

Just trying to give you some options.

It doesn't matter what name I sign.

You know who I am.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Know the rules, kids. You don't wear a shirt of the band you're going to see.

I am Disturbed!!!!!
I am Disturbed!!!!!

Agreed!! You stupid fuck! How dare you go to a metal concert series and attack the bands just because you dont like metal. How stupid is that honestly?! You dont see any of us going to Celine Dion and then dissing her after. Why? Cuz you wont see any of us at a Celine Dion concert cuz more than likely we dont like her. So if you dont like metal stay the fuck away!! Cuz we do and we dont need anybody being negative in the fact that they dont. Oh and btw David says it perfectly and i quote directly from Decade of Disturbed"Everyone has a struggle in life, and the question is do you allow yourself to be overcome by it or do you master it with unified strength and power. This is exactly what the music was meant to do, to transend your normal world, to make you more than what you are, to make you set down your burden for a while. Feel powerful, feel invincible, feel indestructible; believe in something as opposed to believing in nothing; spread the sickness, infect the world." That's what it means not the bullshit that streamed from your bias mouth and that's why they're big and as liked as they are because no matter how perfect your life seems to be since you just dont get it the greater population has issues and problems they deal with everyday. Disturbed's music is a getaway, a time to release and just unwind all the stress and pain from life and believe in something greater than yourself. But you wouldn't know that cuz that was your first concert with Disturbed but any and all fans on this site commenting will back me up knowing you're full of shit and don't know what the hell you're talking about!!

Stephanie Pera
Stephanie Pera

You so don't get Disturbed's appeal, do you Mr. Woodbury? Were you even at the same show with the rest of the audience? I went to this same show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, two weeks ago, and totally enjoyed myself. And, I'm no kid... I've been a fan of Disturbed since their first album, and a metal and hard rock fan since I was eleven years old (which, by the way, was 1975).

Also, "Down With the Sickness" is not about parental abuse. You took the lyrics way too seriously and didn't do your research before you attended the show. Maybe you could not be bothered, since you said "There's really no genre I'm less interested in than modern radio metal."

"Tea Party rock"? Are you serious? You mean those people who can't form an opinion on their own without embracing such Tea Party stars and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin? Disturbed, and especially Draiman, are not about towing a party line. Yeah, the audience gets their aggressions out by way of Disturbed's music, but they are so not "Tea Party" it's not funny.

Maybe the next time you attend a show like this, you might want to do your homework, since it's painfully obvious to this reader you did not. And if you don't like the music, maybe you should pass the next time a similar assignment comes up.

easytojudge
easytojudge

its already been said... get your head out of your ass.

Louie Vengance
Louie Vengance

Wow....Party Jams...Avenged Sevenfold. Yes because a song like "So Far Away" is such a party jam. If you don't like Metal (and these guys aren't radio metal, check your facts dude) then you shouldn't be reviewing Metal concerts. All the A7X shirts, well duh all a7x fans are a family and we're showing our support for these guys. Get your head outta your ass and come into this century.

Ultimatehorselover
Ultimatehorselover

Oh, and "bad power ballads?"Hmmm..yeah...you definitely had your head way up in your ass.

Ultimatehorselover
Ultimatehorselover

I respect your opinion, but either you are a Disturbed fan or you had your head in your ass, just a little bit. And David Draiman has an "impressive" vocal range? I don't think so. Not into theatrics, amazing solos (not chug-a-chug ones as you describe them) or acoustic guitars sounding like "gnarled tin foil?"Then don't go and see A7X live!

Scott
Scott

"Personal Bias: There's really no genre I'm less interested in than modern radio metal."Why the hell would you review the show in the first place then?

grace
grace

Your opinion sucks! If you don't like the bands then don't attend you spineless critic!

I am Disturbed!!!!!
I am Disturbed!!!!!

oh and i almost forgot since you were there at the concert than what i really dont get is Disturbed played "Liberate" and it just so happens the words to that is "liberate your mind, motherfucker, you're so narrow minded, so narrow minded, liberate your mind motherfucker!" Did that not click in your head that people and society in general need to stop being so damn narrow minded and open up and be more accepting of others? Yet you sit there and wrote this article bashing the whole concert because of your stupid narrowmindedness and horrible attitude. You're one of the ones that David talks about that makes this world as shitty as it is. So think about that next time you decide to be a bias close minded prick!

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