To begin, after attending 400 plus concerts in my lifetime, I can say with complete certainty that this was the strangest, weirdest and most awkward show I have ever been to; which in turn will make it the most memorable one without a doubt. As we (Eric Neyhart and myself) approached the front door of the Wire, located in Berwyn, Illinois, we noticed the show lineup and set times for the evening posted on the glass; which is common practice for this venue. To our surprise, the show lineup was a lot longer than anticipated. In total, 7 bands would be playing this evening starting at 6:00 pm and ending at 10:30 pm. It was additionally noted (not that it mattered much to us) that a strict city curfew was being enforced since the show was an all-ages show on a Sunday night meaning everyone under 21 had to be out of the venue by 10 pm; so if you bought tickets to see Affiance’s farewell performance you would end up missing the final half of their set. While the curfew was very off-putting, the 4 local openers ended up playing longer sets than the 3 touring bands and because of this, the touring bands were rushed throughout the night with sets being cut short due to “running behind”. To me, this show felt more like a local showcase than a send-off party for Affiance. While I am not sure if it was planned this way or just a scheduling oversight, the fact that the venue tried to fit 7 bands into 4 ½ hours felt like poor planning to me. Overall, the show seemed like it was double booked by mistake and that they were trying to do the best they could while upsetting everyone (bands and fans alike) in the process.
Here are the 4 local openers from the evening: The War In Me, When Night Falls, Sneevaa and Sectionals. As I sat down to write this review, I searched the web to find any music from these bands to share and came up unsuccessful. I am sure these bands will pop up again as support (with the exception of Sectionals who announced that they were breaking up that night and this would be their final performance) for bands touring in the Chicagoland area so we will keep searching for ways to promote the local scene and these bands as future shows they play on get announced.
The first of the 3 touring bands to take the stage was Everyone Dies In Utah from Temple, Texas. The band is currently signed to InVogue Records and consists of Danny Martinez, Brandon Allen, Cameron Easter, Daniel Tharp, Trey Golden and Nathan Chase-Meadows. Everyone Dies In Utah takes a unique approach to metalcore by adding keyboards to their sound, giving it a bit of depth and freshness. The band released their fourth full-length album (and first with InVogue) titled “Everyone Dies In Utah” in October 2016. After completing their third song of the set, the sound manager for the Wire announced that this would be their final song due to “running behind” and the band did not take to that kindly. Having just joined the tour that evening (the third spot of the touring bands was split between 4 bands) I’m sure they weren’t expecting this kind of reception on the first of their 5 scheduled nights to close out the tour. From the tracks I did hear, I enjoyed their short performance and wish that the circumstances had been more in the band’s favor as a mixture of sound issues and short set time really affected the band’s mood and in turn their performance. I have provided a link to the track Dying Light off of their recent self-titled album below for you to check out. I do hope that the remaining nights of the tour was better for Everyone Dies In Utah.
Up next and the band I was most excited to see (since I have seen Affiance before) was Convictions from Ohio. Convictions is a Christian metal band currently signed to InVogue Records and consists of Michael Felker, John Fleischmann, Josh Canode and Zach Schwochow. Personally, I am a huge fan of Convictions since the release of their album “I Will Become” in April 2016 and have been waiting since that point to see them live. I have heard nothing but great things about their stage presence and this evening was no different. Convictions has coined the term “Aggressive Worship” for their brand and style of music and their performance was just that. The band poured every ounce of emotion they could gather and ferociously devoured the energy in the room to exhibit their faith. Between Michael kneeling down and pounding the ground in anguish to both John and Josh throwing their instruments around like they were weightless anchors tying them down to the stage; Convictions tore through tracks off of “I Will Become” including The Void Remains, House Of Lies, Brothers Blood and I Will Become. To close the night, Convictions performed an earlier release titled Sharks. Their overall stage presence and performance was exactly what I was hoping for and I left that night in utter amazement. I highly recommend that you follow this band to make sure you catch them the next time they visit your hometown. I have linked the video for House Of Lies off of “I Will Become” below.
The evening closed with an emotional farewell to the metal Gods of Affiance from Cleveland, Ohio. Affiance consists of Dennis Tvrdik, Brett Wondrak, Dominic Dickinson and Patrick Galante. When Affiance took the stage, I was concerned that they would be cut short due to the impending curfew time since we were well past the posted start time for their set but the band pushed forward in typical Affiance fashion; not concerned with time or agendas other than their own. Affiance blasted through tracks from their entire catalog and joked throughout their performance that they were dying soon which is unfortunate because you will never meet a more talented, deserving, compassionate and hard-working band than Affiance. This evening, which was a few stops short of their final gig, was meant to be a special event but instead was plagued by a whole slew of issues including the curfew, performances being cut short, upset fans and bands, and more importantly sound and technical issues throughout the whole night. Halfway through Affiance’s performance, Dennis’ microphone quiet working properly. It was here in the evening that the curfew began to be an issue as the venue staff began asking those under 21 to start leaving. Dennis announced to the leaving fans to hang around outside and as soon as the set was finished he would immediately come outside for photos and hugs. At this point there was only one thing left to be done and that was for Dennis to strip down to his underwear and for the band to close the night with Call To The Warrior. Upon further review, I believe the underwear that Dennis was wearing this evening were in fact the same underwear he wore in the video for that track released six years prior. Dennis, if you happen to read this, please confirm or deny that those are the same yellow banana boxers from the video please. As of the date of this review, the Affiance Farewell tour has ended so if you weren’t able to catch it then you just missed out. While the band has done incredible things throughout their career I personally struggled a bit on deciding which video to link for you guys so I decided on linking both a recent and a classic. Below you will find a link to the video for Reboot off of their ep titled “GAIA” as well as a link to the video for Call To The Warrior off of their debut full-length release titled “No Secrets Revealed” which will live in infamy as one of my favorite music videos of all-time. I wish bands of this caliber never have to call it quits but all good things must come to an end so thank you Affiance for all of the great memories for the last half of a decade. You will forever be missed!
*Disclaimer* We do not own the rights to any images or videos within this review. All images and videos belong to the bands, artists, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and record labels involved with the images and videos.