The Rave minus MDMA

Sea of Bodies at The Rave

Sea of Bodies at The Rave

March 29th, 2013 the Rave came alive with blood, sweat, screams, and for me… joy.

The Rave in Milwaukee WI opened in September 13, 1927 and made a Wisconsin historical landmark on July 29, 1986 due to its significance as 19th and 20th century Revival architecture. Through the years it has served many purposes. Notably it housed the Fraternal Order of the Eagles. They, among other things, pushed for the foundation of Mother’s Day and boasted members such as Theodore Roosevelt, Warren G. Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Today the Rave is primarily a music venue and helped launch careers of acts like The Jonas Brothers who had their first major concert as a headliner there and introduce Wisconsin to artist for the first time live like Nirvana and The Dave Matthews Band on The Rave Bar stage, one of six venues housed in The Rave.

On the 29th The Rave Bar was exploding with energy.

Act 1: The Chariot

Josh's back is almost always to the audience and somehow it works for him

Josh’s back is almost always to the audience and somehow it works for him

The Chariot formed in 2003 and currently has one original member, Josh Scogin, briefly the frontman for Norma Jean, leaving the band by announcing it on stage astonishing both Norma Jean and the fans. The other members are: David Kennedy : Drums [since 2008], ex-The Rein, Brandon Henderson : Guitar, Back Vocals [since 2011], ex-I Am Terrified, ex-Written In Blood, Stephen “Stevis” Harrison : Guitar, Back Vocals [since 2009] ex-Written In Red, Jon “K.C. Wolf” Kindler : Bass

They are often generally classified as Metalcore or hardcore, however they do not adhere to the formulaic song writing normally accompanying bands in these genres. Avoiding melodic singing almost entirely, The Chariot fills the space between your ears with a churning, screaming, bedlam inducing rock all their own.

Unshaken in their pursuit to create their own sound they have released five backed recordings, all with a unique sound and mood.


1.Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead and Nothing Is Bleeding (CD – 2004)
2.The Fiancée (CD – 2007)
3. Wars and Rumors of Wars (CD – 2009)
4. Long Live (CD – 2010)
5. One Wing (CD – 2012)

The Fiancée was the first time they made serious commercial waves on the hardcore scene. Wars and Rumors of Wars was a particularly emotional album coming off the heals of Scogin’s father’s death. Long Live, despite the title, was free of hubris and solid addition to the discography featuring harps, xylophones, and guest artists like Listener. Their most current album, One Wing, is their most dynamic and artistic album and leaves nothing to be desired for brutality and chaos.

Stevis (R) is one of the most entertaining guitarists I have ever seen.

Stevis (R) is one of the most entertaining guitarists I have ever seen.

The Chariot live is unlike any show you have ever seen, guaranteed. Their shows are madness and destruction an anarchist would shy away from. They will hang from the lights; stack their amps and drums in a pile, climb atop the heap and blow fire from their mouths. At this show the guitarist,  Stephen “Stevis” Harrison, climbed over the railing of the second story balcony overlooking the crowd and threw himself into their eager waiting arms.

Playing live is an integral process for writing. Their entire first album was recorded in a single live take, and while they currently use more traditional recording methods, the live show is still their home. Their moshpits are a cyclone of legs and fists and screams and sweat. Even with body tempest swirling around you cannot not tear your eyes away from the stage. They are connected with the audience as though we are all their reckless abandon companions. Their indifference to celebrity only seems to make the audience love them more and dance harder.

Along with the physical insanity of the show, the music is beyond chaotic and often takes a sharp left turn. Closing the track “Calvin Makenzie” is 1920’s jingle “Atlanta, Atlanta, That’s my home town!”, which in point of fact is their home town.

The Chariot rejects conventional wisdom in the music scene in nearly every way, composing music which from a distance could be misconstrued as power tools, destroying their equipment nightly, and throwing their bodies into the fray at every show. Even if you hate hardcore, go see The Chariot. You will never forget it and tell the story for the rest of your life. They recorded this song while shooting the video proving once again they are at home in the live show

Act 2: For Today

Excellent hardcore band. Severely preachy. I listened to them over a pizza and a beer in one of The Rave’s many bars.

Act 3: As I Lay Dying

A moster among men, Tim Lambesis commands his frothing masses.

A moster among men, Tim Lambesis commands his frothing masses.

As I Lay Dying is a main stay of the metalcore scene, hailing back to 2000. They have gone through several line up changes, however the lead singer, Tim Lambesis, has been there since its inception and all the way through they have been prolific writers releasing six studio LPs. The current line up goes: Jordan Mancino – drums (2000–present), Phil Sgrosso – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2003–present), Nick Hipa – lead guitar, backing vocals (2004–present), Josh Gilbert – bass guitar, clean vocals (2007–present) however Nick Hipa was not at this show since his wife was having a baby back in San Deigo. One of the guitarists from For Today filled the spot and nailed it out of the park.

The band mixes thrashing guitar riffs, the guns of the bass drum, and melodic singing on the choruses. I attribute much of AILD’s success to Lambesis massive presence on stage. The man is a monster with a voice to match. It would be easy to envision him in the Colosseum battling tigers and gladiators and winning. The band was so dialed in and light show was spectacular. The general consensus of my group was they were the best of the show. I am inclined to agree, after all they were nominated for 2008 Best Metal Performance for the song “Nothing Left” in the Grammys. The show was aggressive and unflinching. AILD reproduced every song with studio precision leaving nothing to be desired on the entertainment end. MTV2 awarded them the “Ultimate Metal God” in 2007 and this show was a reaffirmation of that. Award winning music video

Mike is missing half of a front tooth. It suits him and his howl.

Mike is missing half of a front tooth. It suits him and his howl.

Act 4: The Devil Wears Prada

Let me put something to bed right away. The band formed before the film with the same name was made, and while taking their name from the book it is based on, none of the members had read it. They assumed it had to do with anti-materialism. Unfortunately the book doesn’t, but it doesn’t dissuade them from their original purpose in the name. The lead signer had this to say about it. “It’s the same concept as our lyrics ’emeralds hold no hope’ and many others. What we believe it to mean is that possessions don’t matter at all and someday everyone will realize that this is true.” —Mike Hranica

The band formed in Dayton, Ohio in 2005 and has had the same lineup until the keyboardist, James Baney, left.  Mike Hranica (vocals), Chris Rubey (lead guitar), Jeremy DePoyster (rhythm guitar, vocals), Andy Trick (bass), and Daniel Williams (drums) have had a meteoric rise since there first major release in 2006 Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord. Since then they have been through four labels and wrote three more full length studio albums with another promised for late 2013. They played one of these soon to be released songs and it more than held up to scrutiny. If you are a TWDP fan and that song is any indication of what to expect you should be frothing at the mouth.

TDWP released the only EP I feel is worth mentioning out of the tour. The Zombie EP, a concept EP based on a brutal zombie apocalypse because of Mike’s interest in the subject. The music more than matches the subject matter musically growing significantly from the previous release “With Roots Above and Branches Below”. As a stand alone album Roots Above is amazing, but the Zombie EP has a truly metal feel with movie sound bites, and by the band’s own admission, the fastest music the had written to date taking a page out of  Slayer and Hatebreed’s book. This was also the first project by the band without humorous subtitles.

The show started out with a dark stage and a backlit TWDP symbol fading in and out part by part until the hum came to a head and the center glowed red. It was chilling. The band was explosive and right on musically. unfortunately the vocals were left to be desired, but having seen them several times before that is not the norm. The band was fantastic and show utterly dynamic. Oddly the slow songs stood out above the hardcore, including “Outnumbered” which starts out with a faux PSA about the zombie apocalypse. The pit was amateur hour. People were preoccupied with jockeying for position rather than dancing and clearly did not understand if you are in the front of a hardcore show people are going to fall on your head. I saw one guy viciously hitting every body surfer that came by. Sidenote: People, moshpits are no place for malevolence toward your fellow dancers, and they are not about getting close to the band like they’re Lady Gaga or One Direction. You are

Moshpits are the best places in the world

Moshpits are the best places in the world

there to dance with like-minded people and pay homage to the bands who play nightly and live on the road for meager compensation. If you do not get this you have no place in the pit. Please stay out and keep it fun for the rest of us. After ataxia started to set in and the fun had wained due to the novice pit goers I retreated to the back of the crowd where the band continued to rail and rage with out a modicum of servility.

TDWP, despite not being their best show tore up the stage, played an awesome set list and projected love and appreciation to everyone who was there. They owned their headline spot the entire night. They played this song and it was… well you saw the video

Recap: All the bands on this tour are just kings of their genres. It is a great tour to get in on if you can make it.  Understand pits are not about hate toward each other. It is one of the few times you with be with that many other like-minded people. Treat your brethren well.

Drive fast. Take Chances. Thanks for reading.


Accidental moshpit pic.

Accidental moshpit pic.


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