Written By: TIFFANY MITCHELL
The Ottobar is one of Baltimore’s local hotspots for live entertainment, featuring a full bar, billiard tables and a dance floor upstairs. Downstairs is where the real action goes on being a constant tour stop for your favorite bands. On September 11th fans packed in the lower level to catch The Beautiful Death Tour with Picturesque, Out Came The Wolves, Secrets and Slaves as the headliner.
All four bands on the bill have been busy lately, some coming off of other tours, but all have decided to come together to shake your senses to the core. Kentucky natives Picturesque (Equal Vision Records,) took the stage first with “Speak Softly.” Vocalist Kyle Hollis’s strikingly melodic voice rang out across the room,
“Speak to me softly now
I swear you’ll never live this down
We move so slowly now
Now that you know your sin is out”
Faithful followers of the band sang along as more people filed in through the back door to see the show. Folks back by the bar came forward to join the lot below and things had just gotten started. “New Face” and “Monstrous Things” were also on the list of crowd pleasers that Picturesque gave their post-hardcore heart-outs to sing. Dylan Forrester and Zach Williamson on guitar and Jordan Greenway on bass were the magic ingredients to Kyle’s full range vocal gift. As I barely squeezed through the mass that had gathered around, I needed to find a better place to photograph the band. (Camera held close to my chest) I made my way to the stairs and climbed till I reached the balcony. Ahhh breathing room, and I discovered a sweet spot overlooking the stage just in time for OCTW to take their place in the spotlight.
OCTW is none other than Out Came The Wolves (Roadrunner Records.) Five guys from Minnesota, who jumped onto the scene in 2016 and was quickly taken notice by the metalcore industry. After releasing their debut album Strange Fate, touring became a normal part of life. Now part of The Beautiful Death Tour, vocalist Cameron Burns, guitarists Austin Brady & George Shrouder, bassist Ervin Buljabasic and drummer Andy Hart return to Baltimore not by some strange fate but by gain in notoriety. OCTW took the room on a journey as they threw down weighty guitar riffs and super expressive lyrics. Songs like “Queen Mary,” “Bleed” and “ILoveHateYou,” are just a few fan favorites that lit the mic on fire. Aggressive and poetic, diverse and energetic, Out Came The Wolves revealed a musical uniqueness that proved their path to bigger things, are close behind. People break away for a quick time-out as the crew readies the set for the next performance. Quickly I took the stairs once again find a place at the balcony for a clearer view of the stage below. Secrets was due to rock the house and I found one just in time, because others had the same clever idea and headed my way.
Poached down low with a view between the railing, I watched as Secrets walked out to the sound of cheers. “Dance Of The Dead,” one of the best songs they’ve ever recorded kicked their set off in just the right way, followed by “Ready For Repair (another lit song.)” The room trembled from the bouncing bodies and collective cries united in song. They broke out an incredible new song called you guessed it “Incredible” and spirits were high with no cause to pause. The succeeding tunes fed the flow with “Rise Up” ending the show as Secrets exited off, folks whistled and clapped for a super-sick send off.
The night wasn’t over and Slaves had yet to play. Slaves is fronted by Jonny Craig ( former front man for Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa ) who has had his share of demons and personal struggles. Although Jonny has fallen a few times and climbed his way back up, one thing is for certain, his talent as a vocalist has remained strong. Headlining this tour shows the world and the music industry that Slaves is not going anywhere and they are here to blow every expectation to shreds. If you’ve ever heard any of their songs, then you know how deeply emotional and honest the lyrics to their songs are. Hearing them played live like “Burning Our Morals Away,” “Drowning In My Addiction” and “My Soul Is Empty And Full Of White Girls” you see and feel the pain in Jonny’s voice echo off the walls. There was a rawness, a stripped down version of JC on the stage, when he brought out one of the new songs call “The Pact.” There aren’t many bands out there like Slaves and you really can’t pin them to a genre. Their band didn’t include screaming or songs people moshed too, but it didn’t matter, because every soul in the room was captivated by Jonny’s voice. The weight of emotion portrayed in each song invaded the room and touched all your senses. Throwing in a few new songs like “Let This Haunt You,” and “True Colors,” was a nice surprise for everyone who came to hear Slaves sing their faves. If that wasn’t enough, delivering a two song encore, “I’d Rather See Your Star Explode” and “The Fire Down Below,” was the perfect end to a perfect tour.
Death for many is loss and sadness. If it’s my time to go, let it be by The Beautiful Death Tour and send me on my way with music that makes me happy. If you’ve had the opportunity to catch this tour, you already know exactly what I mean when I say this tour was one of the years best so far. If you didn’t make it, I hope you were able to feel what it was like through my words.
Check out every band on this tour on all social media outlets below:
Slaves at Ottobar
Secrets/Out Came The Wolves/Picturesque at Ottobar