The Word Alive, Facts/Figures, Rock City Studios, June 14, 2013
In the midst of their colossal tour supporting Killswitch Engage and Darkest Hour, The Word Alive made a few stops in Southern California for two special headlining shows. Days off from the road be damned, the Phoenix, Arizona based band’s first one-off was at Rock City Studios in Camarillo. A terrific venue with a friendly staff and a good sound system to boot, those who wandered into the vicinity were treated to a thoroughly unforgettable show. The area support acts were just as impressive, including sets from The Hollowed, Plan Your Escape, Facts/Figures (also reviewed here), and An Ocean Wide. Each of the bands were clearly excited to be performing on the bill, and definitely demonstrated there is a ton of life left within our local music scene. All this, and it was Luke Holland’s (The Word Alive’s drummer extraordinaire) birthday. He received at least two birthday cakes that night – one from the venue and one baked by Highwire Daze photographer Talia Farber. One has to commend John McCrary of Twohearts Concerts for taking a gamble on booking what turned out to be such a memorable event. While Camarillo is a bit off the beaten path, The Word Alive fans and local band enthusiasts arrived to show early their support. A rare and unforgettable night was about to commence.
One of the locals opening act was Facts/Figures from Simi Valley, California. A chance to play closer to home than usual, Facts/Figures jumped at the opportunity, and presented a short but wildly impressive set of tunes. After a brief Intro, Facts/Figures launched into the stratosphere with the super intensive Tyrants, instantly grabbing your attention. Other songs unleashed within the set included Deceit, Contra/Verse, and the highly persuasive BL Mercado. Tim Dowling and Micah Jones present a dual vocal assault, delivering the lyrics with passion and conviction. Driving it home with a good deal of professionalism and exhilaration were Randol Moreno on guitar, Jay Jay Colon on bass, and Jake Di Cecco on drums. Opening for The Word Alive is certainly an exciting opportunity, and there is little doubt that Facts/Figures gained a good amount of new fans on that night. Watch for Facts/Figures debut EP entitled Realities to come out sometime this summer and be sure to support this hard working, clearly passionate local band! You can bet we’ll be covering this band again in future days!
You could feel the anticipation in the air right before The Word Alive hit the stage. Luke Holland wandered out first, to the screams of more than a few girls in the audience. The rest of the band would follow, and The Word Alive would go on to perform an all-out show – ten explosive songs starting with the mesmerizing reveries of 2012. The favorites kept flashing through at lightning speed, with highlights of the set being Evolution, The Wretched, and The Hounds Of Anubis. Tyler “Telle” Smith is one of the genres most intriguing front man, able to scream and sing with an equal amount of dead-on precision. You would think the massive touring he’s completed would have worn him down a bit, but Telle still performs with a thrilling sense of urgency that is inspiring to watch. Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti supply dual guitar work that set the songs in flight, their axe work always imaginative and rigorous. Daniel Shapiro unleashes a dynamic low end on bass that made the room pulsate. And then there’s the aforementioned Luke Holland, the now 20-year old drum prodigy, whose extraordinary skill and showmanship is nothing short of devastating. Together, The Word Alive a mighty force to be reckoned with, and their live shows are not to be missed.
Towards the end of the set, the energy at Rock City Studios went through the roof when vocalist Telle Smith screamed “I’d rather die for what I believe than live a life without meaning,” triumphantly in the thrilling title cut from their album Life Cycles. The audience sang along with an equal amount of fervor and the moment was magical. For the encore, the audience got to choose from three songs, and Battle Royale won by a large margin. Although this reviewer would have personally wanted to hear their cover of As I Lay Dying’s 94 Hours (which came in second place), Battle Royale was definitely a thrilling conclusion that left the entire Camarillo audience breathless. The next day The Word Alive would headline The Wild Wild Fest in Long Beach, and have now rejoined the Killswitch Tour.
Many thanks to John McCrary of Twohearts Concerts, the wonderful staff at Rock City Studios, The Word Alive, the amazing support acts, and most importantly the fans and supporters of the local scene for making this one on the most memorable shows of the summer thus far.
(Review by Kenneth Morton – Photos by Edward Brandon)