Brooklyn, New York's own Life of Agony played to a packed house at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ in celebration of lead singer Mina Caputo's birthday on December 6th. It's pretty customary when attending a birthday party that you present the guest of honor with a gift...on this night however, it was the frenetic crowd who walked away with some unforgettable presents.
From the dark and restive sounds of the set opener, Bad Seed, to the sing along anthems of ThisTime and Through & Through, right up until the final song of the night, the sludgy and bludgeoning, Underground, LOA gave their loyal fans a night to remember. Not only did fans get to hear a powerful and well constructed setlist, there were a few surprises thrown in as well.
Life of Agony has always had a reputation for giving back to their fans and making them feel like family, not just customers forking over some hard earned cash to listen to a few songs. On this night, this one for all and all for one philosphy between crowd and band was clearly on display. In between songs Mina and Joey (guitarist Joey Z.) went out of their way to inform the crowd that there were fans from different parts of the United States and even around the world (Australia in one case) who made it out on a Sunday night no less to join in the festivities. The band can only be aware of these facts by being accessible and communicative with their fanbase.
In another show of solidarity with the audience, the band invited a fan on stage at one point so he could publicly propose to his girlfriend who was also in the crowd. They pulled her up on stage and I'm happy to announce that she said YES! Congratulations to the newly engaged Badseeds!! You just don't see these types of things at your typical hardcore show.
Back to the music for a moment. LOA has never been shy about changing direction and writing songs that differ from those that came before. This isn't always looked upon in a positive light by some in the hardcore/metal community but Life of Agony never cared much about all that. They write what they want and what their influences dictate. On this night, just three days after the death of former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland was found dead on his tour bus in Minnesota, Mina and Joey performed a stunning tribute to an artist they hold dear. Playing an acoustic version of the STP megahit Plush is something that most bands in this genre might not do; but again Life of Agony marches to their own beat and others should take notice. It was certainly one of the highlights of the night.
Kicking the night off was Detroit, MI veterans, Walls of Jericho. Candace Kucsulain and compnay were on full throttle right from the get go whipping the crowd into a frenzy and getting them lathered up for the headliners to follow. It's always great to see a band from out of town open a show. It brings a different flavor and vibe to room. This night was destined to have a very high level of energy flowing through it and Walls of Jericho certainly ignited that initial spark!
I'm sure if you ask Mina Caputo and her brothers in Life of Agony they'd say this was quite the birthday bash! In this rare instance however, the guests left feeling like it was a celebration for each and every one of them as well. Happy Birthday to ALL!