Irving Plaza opened their doors unusually early on Saturday, February 25,, 2017 with fans and press jokingly labeling the Metal Blade 35th Anniversary Tour show date in NYC a “matinee”. Many were disappointed to hear that Goatwhore would not be playing the February 25th date. That however went over without much issue with Whitechapel headlining and support from Allegaeon, Cattle Decapitation, and Necromancing The Stone. Goatwhore announced that they would not be attending the Philadelphia, New York, Grand Rapids, Louisville, Denver and New Orleans tour stops. Having celebrated their 10 year anniversary as a band in December 2016, Whitechapel were invited to celebrate and headline their record label’s anniversary tour in continued support of their latest, very well received, sixth studio album Mark of the Blade.
Being known for their strobe light effects during live performances, Irving Plaza cut the lights before Whitechapel entered the stage to begin their opening song “The Saw Is the Law”. Fans were either chanting “Whitechapel” or shouting in excitement before the red lights illuminated the stage to reveal the members of Whitechapel standing before the audience. Lead vocalist Phil Bozeman greeted New York City atop the platform down stage center sending the audience into a bellowing cheer, ready for the chaos that Whitechapel are known for bringing to their concerts. Guitarists Ben Savage and Zach Householder are positioned stage right and rhythm guitarist Alex Wade and bassist Gabe Crisp stage left. The arrangement is a key facet for the band’s crowd amplifying, synchronized head banging during break downs.
Every now and then, Whitechapel’s mind altering strobe lights come to a halt to brighten the stage with white light at a resting point in a song. Since 2006, Whitechapel have been a band known to accumulate massive crowds and rightfully so through virtuosic music arrangements, as well as their crushing stage performance. As a band, Whitechapel seem to work exceptionally well together to provide fans with an unforgettable show and returning for more. There isn’t one idle moment between them, nor one dead chord or beat during a live set, which ranks Whitechapel as one of the most prominent and highly demanded Deathcore bands in Heavy Metal. Bozeman’s energy as a frontman is a force to be reckoned with, as he is constantly and fearlessly leaning forward into a raging crowd of fans as he effortlessly executes aggressive growls into the mic. Phil Bozeman is never in one spot on stage for more than three seconds, keeping fans highly interactive. Front row fans and brave crowd surfers received an encouraging hand slap from Bozeman as they flung themselves over the barricade.
Whitechapel has an array of high quality lighting for every song on their setlist which included “The Saw Is the Law”, “Faces”, “I, Dementia”, “Our Endless War”, “Mark of the Blade”, “Elitist Ones”, “Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation”, “Eternal Refuge”, “Vicer Exciser”, “Let Me Burn”, the drop G tuned “Section 8”, “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence”, and a crowd demanding encore of “This Is Exile”. It is without a doubt that the name Whitechapel is synonymous with intricate styles of music and bad ass professional showmanship. When drummer Ben Harclerode lifts his massive arms above his head we fear for that drum kits life, as each of his double kick, hits, and cymbal crashes is a phenomenon of focus and precision! Seeing Whitechapel for the first time is an impressive production to witness. These guys are a genuine group of musicians and together possess an impactful energy making every show a successful one, especially being without a crew on the road with them during this tour.
With a disoriented and hyped up crowd opening up the center of the venue for a mosh pit, three friends sat cross legged, arms across each other’s shoulders in the center of it all, headbanging with flashlights in the lightning like atmosphere of the venue. This comical yet killer sight of Whitechapel fans forming a mosh pit of camaraderie, clearly demonstrated that Whitechapel are doing something incredibly right in their musicianship, even more so with elements of djent, groove, and melodic vocals incorporated in Mark of the Blade. The direction of the new album is a tasteful progression for Whitechapel. Many might also agree that the highlight of the show that night was just before the encore, when Whitechapel’s nine month old touring pup Ernie the Frenchie made a quick appearance on stage. Whitechapel will be on the Metal Balde 35th Anniversary Tour until it concludes on March 16th in New Orleans. The rest of the tour dates are listed below. Fans can purchase Mark of the Blade here!
Remaining Dates: Metal Blade 35th Anniversary Tour
- 03/03 – Louisville, Ky. @ Mercury Ballroom
- 03/04 – Chicago, Ill. @ House of Blues
- 03/08 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Belasco Theater
- 03/09 – San Diego, Calif. @ House of Blues
- 03/10 – San Francisco, Calif. @ The Fillmore
- 03/11 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Ace of Spades
- 03/14 – Houston, Texas @ House of Blues
- 03/15 – Dallas, Texas @ House of Blues
- 03/16 – New Orleans, La. @ House of Blues
PHOTOS: CATTLE DECAPITATION