August Burns Red, Silverstein
Music Farm
Jan. 17

Having been raised in the canon of Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, etc., I am always skeptical of the latest in metal music — especially bands that profess themselves as “Christian metal.” My invitation to August Burns Red‘s show at the Music Farm was a chance to put aside any hesitation I might have had in order to see what’s going on with the scene today.

Entering the surprisingly well attended Farm, a wave of heat, energy, and youthful enthusiasm washed over me as the band Silverstein thundered through their set. A veritable circus tent of merchandise was posited in the back while throngs of 20-year-olds jumped to the music with the kind of energy one would expect to find at an anti-Ritalin rally.

After Silverstein’s set, the stage went dark while August Burns Red’s consecrated (pun intended) following pumped their fists to chants of “ABR! ABR!” It was a hot night of devotion at the Farm. I was sweating just standing there.

Frontman Jacob Luhr emerged from backstage, much to the delight of ardent ABR fans. These saintly rockers knew they had a crowd tonight. And they aimed to deliver.

The music was tight despite the audible, yet non-discerning vocals — not that it mattered to the ARB faithful. They screamed along with Luhr as if the lyrics touched their very souls.

The boys in ABR were overjoyed to be playing, jumping around (sometimes in unison), and screaming forth God’s good word. The boys were so nice, happy, and smiling so much it seemed as if Tim Tebow was fronting Lamb of God.

A musical intro of salsa dancing from “Internal Cannon” arrived before some of the safest slam-dancing in what was easily the most polite mosh pit ever. ABR’s faithful’s energy never waned — and neither did the band’s. Along with a well-staged light show and the band’s fine musical chops, that energy created a respectful and respectable show that ABR’s pulpit loved.

I can see the appeal in ABR’s delivery. It seems like Jesus makes some decent rock. But it also seems that Satan makes it better. All in all, it was a good show.

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