One of the things I normally don't enjoy about the Palladium is they tend to stick a lot of local/opening bands into shows. My experience in generally with these openers that aren't part of the main tour lineup has generally been hit or miss, with more misses than hits. This time in particularly it was a mixed bag with a few really good bands and a few bands that were alright. Thankfully none of the openers made me hate myself for going early.
The first band up was probably my favorite of the openers not from the tour and also the least fitting musically. They're a band from Boston called Buried Electric and they put on a hell of a show. I felt a bit bad because at this point there were maybe 50 people at most in the entire venue and a total of two people actually up front. However the band actually made me go from the upstairs to the downstairs where I lurked at the side of stage like the negative creep I am. Anyways, Buried Electric are a melodic deathcore band which is why I said they don't really fit the rest of the bands musically, but they have one hell of a stage presence. Musically they're solid all around if you like that music, I suggest checking them out.
The next band up was Barbarian, they were mostly alright, not really my thing, sounded like your average hardcore band. Rival Choir were amazing and definitely musically fitting with Norma Jean, reminded me a lot of bands like Norma Jean, Oh, Sleeper, and Underoath. If you haven't heard them you really should if you're a fan of any of that. Forevermore were good, I'm not a huge fan of their music, it's that djent style of hardcore. If that's what you're into they're worth checking out. However they really do well live regardless if you like their music or not.
Then we got to He Is Legend. Now HIL is a band I listen to casually and have never seen live and I understand the hype. Schuylar Croom dances around the stage with the energy of a kid hopped up on sugar, his voice comes through loud and clear despite the venue having less than ideal audio. They rock hard and they rock fast. If you haven't ever heard of HIL they play dirty southern rock that makes you feel like you're covered in mud, whiskey, and cigarettes after and that's a good thing. Seeing them live is a sight to behold.
Then finally the main event. The Almighty Norma Jean started setting up and I started pushing my way up to the front of the stage. The light box flashed "Norma Jean", Clayton 'Goose' Holyoak's drum kit lights up the back stage. Frontman Cory Brandan is an intimidating dude and it sets the tone for the show as soon as he gets on the stage. I never know what to expect from the band as far as an opener goes I've seen them open with Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste and with my favorite song A Grand Scene For A Color Film. This time they opened with Leaderless And Self-Enlisted another fantastic classic song a perfect opening song. The entire set was a mix of old and new, classic and rarely played and it worked perfectly. Bassist John Finnegan hops around on stage providing extra energy to the show. I managed to be right in front and center of the stage, screaming along until I completely lost my voice and couldn't even mouth the words but I was sure as hell jumping around.
Norma Jean played a brand new song off their upcoming album with the (probably) temporary name of Jamaican. If it's indicative of the new album this thing is going to rip hard and I'm excited for September. It was the right amount of heavy and melodic, of fast and more stretched out. Unfortunately I wasn't able to record any of it since I was right in front and in the crowd, but also because The Palladium doesn't allow videos at all and are super strict about that. Believe me though, get hyped for this new album.
The crowd was alright, something I generally don't like about the Palladium is the crowd can be really good, but also can be awful. This time the people up front were all engrossed in the show and jumping around, the back and the pit were a bit of a different story. Little rant here, but I will never understand so called 'hardcore dancing' it just looks ridiculous and I don't understand the idea of "It gets your frustrations out". Moshing does the same thing but it's a group thing and you don't look like you're fighting the air because it just drank your last Mountain Dew.
After the show I jumped up on stage and managed to grab a setlist. As I jumped up there was a guy who asked me to grab the setlist for him. I explained I jumped up to grab it for myself, thankfully he was cool about it and didn't try and fight over it or anything. So that's how I ended up with the setlist. I didn't get it signed unfortunately because I was tired and sore and wanted to drive home. I did stop by the merch tables to pick up a CD from Buried Electric, but the crowd around Norma Jean was too much.
This was my third time seeing Norma Jean and definitely have to say it was my favorite out of all three. They didn't play my favorite song but they did have a packed setlist and hearing the new song for the first time was an awesome experience. This tour is packed with talent all lead off by The Almighty Norma Jean.