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Shadows Fall plays at Rochester’s Montage Music Hall, Review

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Shadows Fall at Montage Music Hall, Review (Rochester Blog)

The Popular Metal Band Comes to Rochester

Shadows Fall Rochester has always had a strong musical tradition, from the numerous music festivals like the International Jazz Fest and the large number of musicians who are invited to visit the surrounding venues, such as the Eastman School of Music, the Blue Cross Arena, and the Main Street Armory.  But Rochester isn’t just a great place for “traditional” musical talent – the musicians that visit the city are as diverse as the tastes of Rochester’s residents themselves.

On February 16th I attended a concert featuring Shadows Fall at Montage Music Hall.  A heavy metal band based in Springfield, MA, the band was preceded by local heavy and death metal bands Fleshburn, Armed with Valor, Order of the Dead, and Hate Machine. These four bands played off of each other very well and together formed a rather distinct variety of tones, textures, and overall atmospheric feel.

Montage Music Hall is tucked right around the corner of an area that I have always regarded as the center of the city, which features many of the most popular places people like to visit. I remember my first visit to Montage and feeling like it was one of the city’s best-kept secrets. While it may appear, at first glance, to be very similar to most of the other music hubs in Rochester, like Waterstreet, Montage is home to a fairly unique style of music – hard rock and heavy metal.

As a fan of heavy metal, I had always felt that I had a relatively unique taste in music; metal doesn’t exactly have the strongest reputation as a genre of warm, heart-felt music.  However, after attending my first concert at Montage, I began to realize that there has been an underground, yet relatively out-spoken, body of fans devoted to the “heavier arts.” Montage not only brings popular, big-name metal bands to Rochester, they also draw a robust crowd.

As each band took turns shaking the walls of the music hall, the feel in the crowd became more and more rowdy.  While I have attended metal concerts in the past, this was the first where I saw people intentionally shoving each other around on the open floor, running into each other and bouncing back into the crowd.  This was also the loudest concert I have ever attended, almost completely losing my hearing (and voice) by the end of the night.

Shadows Fall certainly knows how to perform. While the singer admitted that this was the first time they had toured since last summer, there was no way anyone could have guessed.  I have heard a lot of musicians live, but rarely have I heard a singer who performs almost exactly as he does on the band’s recordings. I have also never seen such incredible, raw, guitar talent up close. My only disappointment was that Shadows Fall only played for an hour.

While the first three bands were good (I really liked Order of the Dead, despite the name), nothing compared to seeing one of my favorite bands taking the stage in such a small venue that I could stand right up by the stage and touch the singer’s fingers. As a musician, being able to see one of my favorite vocalists and guitarists right up close and feel their musical talent was both inspiring and fulfilling; I felt like I understood both their music and my own that much better.  As a fan, it was mind-numbing to be so close to I became a fan of as a teenager and have watched grow and develop as I did over the years.

Shadows Fall originally formed in Springfield, MA in 1995 and has received national recognition since their inception, including a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Metal Performance” in 2008.  They are known for their incredibly diverse style, reinventing their sound and feel with each album, and their awesomely talented guitarists. A variety of their songs have also been featured on Guitar Hero.

James Hallahan is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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