Canal Club was filled with harmonious voices and rich breakdowns on the evening of June 29th, 2023, when Until I Wake brought their tour to Richmond, VA. Featuring the likes of Versus Me, If Not For Me, Vilified, and Solarset, the night was filled with enormous amounts of talent.
Virginia Beach-based post-hardcore band Solarset started the night with an exciting announcement from lead singer Russ Bradshaw. It was revealed that the band had qualified for one of the categories to play at the Louder Than Life Festival. After encouraging the crowd to vote for them on the Louder Than Life Twitch stream, they began their show with a motivational intro featuring positive words of admiration for the band’s talent. Once the band took the stage, they proved how factual those inspiring statements were. Between Russ Bradshaw’s radiant voice, Austin Powers ripping on guitar, Ryan Bieber smashing on the drums, and Dylan Harrison shredding on bass while also sharing his magnificent voice, it was apparent how much talent, professionalism, and dedication this band has. Despite starting with a smaller crowd, Solarset did not let that affect their performance. From the jumping, spinning, and encouraging the crowd to continue to persevere, Solarset put on a remarkable show.
Vilified followed through by taking control of the stage with their heavy-hitting, head-banging songs. Based out of Fredericksburg, VA, Vilified not only brought the overzealous energy every metal/rock fan is addicted to. Even though they encountered unfortunate tech problems, the band showed professionalism by taking the issues in stride, entertaining the crowd while attempting to resolve them, then moving on to the next song as if nothing ever happened. Bassist John Francis was truly unfazed, as he produced highly intense energy during the set. John moved across the stage by jumping and spinning around his fellow bandmates while challenging the crowd to meet his energy. Vocalist Scott Maxwell projected his intense vocals worthy of pulling a muscle from headbanging. Maxwell informed the audience that the night was special since it was guitarist Michael Woods’ first show back with them in five years. It was obvious that Woods was thrilled to be there as he smiled away while never missing a beat and, interacting with drummer Elijah Ferguson then shredding with fellow guitarist Kyle Richards.
The room was soon engulfed with the celestial voice of Patrick Glover when If Not For Me possessed the stage. Hailing from Harrisburg, PA, the metalcore ensemble showcased their raw talent during their last night of touring with Versus Me and Until I Wake. Fluctuating between an ethereal voice to wicked screaming, Glover acknowledged the devoting fans by stretching the microphone for multiple fans to unleash their voices. Guitarists Zac Allen and Hayden Calhoun unleashed their heart-racing notes on the guitar with heavy-hitting drummer Cody Frain beating down. While the three instrumental members were tearing up the area, Glover brought on Until I Wake’s guitarist Niko Karras to join in singing a verse. With an erupting crowd cheering the band on, it was evident that If Not For Me has a solid fan base in Richmond.
The night continued to be fueled by the powerful Janesville, WI, metalcore band Versus Me. Opening with their iconic song “Control,” the four-piece presented themselves in black outfits and red-lighted armbands around their biceps. Slipping right into their next song, powerful vocalist James Milbrandt revealed a new single coming out the following day. The crowd cheered as the band unloaded their floor-stomping heavy single entitled “Blackout.” Guitarist Dustin Hansen and bassist Lee Milbrandt danced around in almost choreographed unison while drummer JJ Johnson beamed with delight to the new song. James Milbrandt encouraged the crowd to keep jumping while he intimidatingly leaned over the railing, living up to the edgy appearances they portrayed.
Eventually, the show came to the end of the night when Until I Wake dominated the stage. Soon as the band presented itself, the crowd shook with enthusiasm as vocalist Cody Jamison Johnson grabbed the mic to take command of the scene. Immediately, the band came out swinging with massive amounts of intense energy. Guitarist Niko Karras and bassist Ryan Ridley spun around while another guitarist August Lee joined in while simultaneously interacting with the crowd. Johnson joined in on connecting with the audience by walking off stage and entering the pit with the adoring fans twice during the set. During the performance of “Octane,” Patrick Glover from If Not For Me jumped on stage to accompany Johnson’s vocals. Leaping right into the rest of the set, the band woke the crowd up so much that they left them begging for more. Pleasing their devoted fans, the band graciously leaped back on stage to finish the night off with a performance of “Self Medicated.”
Until I Wake continues with another month of touring featuring the likes of Versus Me, Colorblind, Discrepancies, and supporting Thousand Below and Papa Roach.
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