Sean Maciejewski

From Ashes To New "Sells Out" The Water Street Music Hall

Sean Maciejewski
May 21, 2024
9 min read

From Ashes To New (FATN)  brought their highly anticipated Blackout Tour Part 2 to the Water Street Music Hall in Rochester, NY, on May 18, 2024. I had seen FATN in Rochester in 2022 but in a much smaller venue, and I was looking forward to this show. This show is even more remarkable because Rochester is FATN's singer Danny Case's hometown! I arrived at the venue 30 minutes before doors opened, and a very long line was already snaking around the building. Once inside, I made my way up to the front of the venue and stopped to chat with security at the photo pit. He told me he had never seen the amount of people show up for VIPs before as the floor was half full of fans before the doors even opened to the public. I wasn't the only person excited for the show.

The artist, elijah, opened the show. With a morph of metal/punk/pop sound, the band set the tone for the night. elijah hit the stage with power, filling the venue with infectious energy, and the crowd was into the music from the start. With his gritty vocals, elijah, who found his initial fame on TikTok, hooked the crowd with his catchy lyrics and beats. Two of my favorite songs from their set were "Harder To Lie" and "Virus."  

elijah is; elijah - vocals, Xander Raymond Charles - guitar, Brandon Kyle - guitar, Chris Blankenship - drums

elijah setlist: Easy To Drown, Virus, Enemies, Hostage, Human, Calling You Out, Harder To Lie, per SetlistFM

Next was another fusion of metal, rock, pop, and rap artist Phix from Lubbock, Texas. Joining him are fellow band-mates Logan Dallimore on guitar and an 11-year-old drumming phenom, Bronx Sandoval, aka Bronxx the Drummer. Seeing an 11-year-old kid play in an adult band was pretty wild, but he was incredibly good at his craft!  Not missing a step from where the last band left off, Phix gave an equally impressive performance until the equipment had some technical feedback issues. Grinding to a 10-minute stop while techs tried to figure out the problem, the band had some downtime. To avoid losing momentum, the band Ekoh's drummer, Andrew Zakher, came out and playfully jammed on the drums with Bronxx to the crowd's cheers until somebody fixed the issue. With the problem finally fixed and cheering fans, the band picked up from where it left off—finishing the set with high energy from Phix and the band! My favorite songs were "One Night Stand," "War," and Bronxx's killer drum solo.

Phix is Phix - vocals, Logan Dallimore - guitar, Bronxx Sandoval - drums.

Phix setlist: SOTD, One Night Stand, War, So Alive, Bronxx- Drum Solo, Worked Up. Die 4 You, Doomed, Underneath

Third up is the Las Vegas, Nevada, indie rapper Ekoh. Joining him is his touring DJ, Kode Break, and Andrew Zakher, who plays the drums. He brought incredible energy to the venue, delivering music with raw emotion and lyricism. His fan base calls his music Heart-Hop, delving into personal emotions and life. By now, the crowd is all into the show, the venue is packed full, and the energy inside is noticeable. Ekoh asked the fans: "Do we have any Nerds in the house tonight?" The crowd cheers wildly as he delivers an incredible acapella rapid-fire version of Avengers- End Game! The fans go wild with excitement! For the song "Wayside," Ekoh tests the crowd to see which side is the most pumped up. He chose the middle, asking everyone to take five steps forward; he bravely stepped out and stood straight up on a sea of people rapping nonstop. Some cool stuff! It's nearing the end of the set, and Ekoh announces two songs are left tonight. He asks if the crowd would sing along to "Goodbye Happiness." For a moment, the entire venue is in unison singing along. For the final song, "Freeverse," I "witnessed something I had never seen before. During the performance, he asks if anybody wants a shoe autographed by him. Just send one shoe to the front; dozens of shoes are going forward. He signs shoes (Vans brand only) throughout the song, even after it ends. It was an excellent ending to a fantastic set. 

Ekoh is Ekoh - vocals, Kode Break - DJ, Andrew Zakher - drums.

Ekoh setlist: Hurt Myself, Ted Talk, Numb, Good Things, End Game Marvel Avengers - Rap(acapella), Villain, Wayside, Hole In Your Head, Goodbye Happiness/Hello Loneliness, Freeverse 3 - signs Vans sneakers during song

Next up is the Los Angeles-based power trio Point North. The music coming from Jon Lundin on vocals, Andy Hershey on guitar, and drummer Sage Weeber is larger than life, and the crowd went wild. The sound is enormous, and they have lighting to match the intensity. Many were familiar with Point North, as many fans sang along with most of the set. The energy in the venue ramped up during the band's set. At one point, Ludin asked the crowd, "Who likes ghost stories?" The response is a thunderous cheer, and the band goes into the song "Ghost In My House." He said we got a brand new song for you, and they played "Bring Me Down," several fans shouted out for the band to play "Hammer," which they said they would NOT play tonight. Nearing the end of the set, he asked the crowd, "Who has seen us for the first time?" and a small portion cheered. Finally, Ludin said, "Rochester, we got one more for you," the band played my favorite song of theirs, "Safe and Sound." Other fans liked that song, too, as the venue was filled with fans singing along! What an excellent way to close out a memorable set.

Point North is Jon Lundin on vocals, Andy Hershey on guitar, and Sage Weeber on drums.

Point North setlist: Prepare For Despair, Below The Belt, Dark Days, Someone You Don't Know, A Million Pieces, Like A Weapon, Ghost In My Home, Into The Dark, Bring Me Down, Stitch Me Up, Psycho, Safe, and Sound, per SetlistFM

Coming out of the darkness with a wild, low note, From Ashes to New (FATN) took the stage to an eruption of cheers and hands in the air. The fans were ecstatic, and there was energy in the air. Starting with "Armageddon," this song set the tone for a phenomenal show. The vocals of Matt Brandyberry and Danny Case sounded great, with the perfect mix of clean lines and raw power. Guitarist Lance Dowdle always delivers those heavy riffs, and touring guitarist Jimmy Bennett adds more punch to the band's sound. Sitting high on a drum riser like a grand wizard, Mat Madiro pounds out a powerful performance. The 16-song set was a mix of old and new material.

Much of the crowd enthusiastically sang along with all the songs throughout the night. By the set's fourth song, "Scars That I'm Hiding," the fans are totally into it, and the crowd surfing begins to flow.  One thing that is completely clear to me is that this band is very humble. Danny Case took a moment to validate this night as this is his hometown show. He said, "Rochester, I was not sure what I was gonna do with my life, and you stood beside me, my family." He points to his actual family standing near the stage. "My whole family is here tonight seeing my dreams come true," and the crowd cheers wildly. He said, "I want to remember this night for the positive and thank everybody who made my dreams come true," and "This is the first that has sold out in my hometown!" The crowd again cheers with random shouts of "We love you, Danny" filling the air.  After the whole venue sang along with "Hate Me To," Matt Brandenberry said, "Rochester, you guys are f**ing awesome; last time we were here, we didn't even sell out a room half this size, this is what it's all about building brick by brick," "This is a family reunion!"

Elijah joined the band on stage for the song "Panic," laying down some heavy vocals.  Danny shouts, " I want everyone to empty their lungs on this next song; I want you to go home with no voice left; this is the song "Nightmare." Ekoh jumps on stage and joins in an epic version of the song. As "Nightmare" was ending, Matt Brandenberry said this is it. "There is one and only one more song left; sing your asses off." "This is the song that started it for us, "Through It All." Fans joined in again, singing along with the band. What a fantastic ending to an incredible night. If the Blackout Tour Part 2 comes to a city near you, I highly recommend that you go and witness the show!

FATN is Matt Brandyberry - vocals/guitar, Danny Case - vocals/bass, Lance Dowdle - guitar, Mat Madiro - drums, Jimmy Bennett - (touring) guitarist

FATN setlist: Armageddon, Dead To Me, Broken, Monster In Me, Scars That I'm Hiding, My Fight, Heartache, Echoes, Hate Me To, My Name, Barely Breathing, Crazy, One Foot In The Grave, Panic (elijah joined in singing on stage), Nightmare (Ekoh joined in singing on stage), Through It All

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