I start this review with a heavy heart, knowing I will never see For Today perform together after this tour. For those who don’t know them, they are an incredible group of individuals with the biggest hearts and talent only God must have given. When I read the announcement they were parting ways, but doing one last tour, I knew I couldn’t miss this show.
For Today, is a Christian metal band not foreign to ridicule from Christian and non-Christian communities. Yet, nothing has stopped them from pushing forward and using music as a hopeful message to a seemingly hopeless world. Supporting For Today on this tour are the fan favorites: Silent Planet, Norma Jean, and My Epic. My Epic started the night off with vocals near heavenly and lyrics that gave me goosebumps. Hailing from Fredericksburg, VA, My Epic sang their way into my heart. For a moment, I almost felt like I was at church for praise and worship.
Silent Planet came out and put all my senses into overdrive. I wanted heavy; they gave me heavy. I thought to myself, “How did I not know about this band?” Norma Jean was next to take the stage. From the audience’s anticipation, I could tell this band must be a big deal. At that point, I really felt like I must live under a rock or something. With long hair, shredding guitars, heavy breakdowns, and brutal screams, Norma Jean played, slayed, and I think I fell in love. I’m a huge fan of heavy music, death-core, or whatever you want to label it, and was blown away this was the first time I’ve heard of them.
Did I mention there was no photo pit? Baltimore Soundstage always has a photo pit. I was out of luck. My favorite band was about to come out and I needed to get up close to get some good shots. So, being as sweet as I can be, I walked over to the tour manager with a smile on my face and asked if it was possible to go side-stage for just one song to get a few good shots. Brian was his name, and he was kind enough to give me my wish. For Today took the stage and I walked behind the always guarded black curtain. There, I positioned myself to capture awesomeness. One song was not enough for me, so back out I went. I couldn’t contain the need to sing along with the masses. In between shots, I sang every word like I was seeing them for the first time. The roof could have caved in and no one would have noticed. A few songs into their set, the music slowed and Mattie got serious. With their full attention to the stage, a hush fell over the audience. Mattie Montgomery (vocalist) spoke with conviction and passion about his love for Christ and how no matter what was going on in your life there was hope. There went those goosebumps again.
The end was near. The encore song would be the last song I would see For Today play live. The music began and everyone knew it was “Devastator.” No one held back. People were jumping on stage and crowd surfers were coming in droves. I haven’t stage dived or crowd surfed in a long time, but the need had hit me. This was their final tour and I was compelled to get up there with everyone else and celebrate this monumental night with this extraordinary band. I handed my camera to a friend, climbed on stage, turned around, and fell back into the crowd. They passed me down the line to the end and I was set back on my feet.
The show has ended and I am left with a heavy heart, yet happy I found new bands to support.
This wasn’t just any concert. This was music in its pure-gifted form. For Today may have ended their musical career together, but individually, they resume the Lord’s work in many other ways. My Epic, Silent Planet, and Norma Jean continue to bring us heavy hitting music with emotionally fueled lyrics.
If you haven’t heard of these bands, give them a listen. I’m happy I know who they are now, because I won’t be missing out on anything else.