Photos and Review by Robert McDonald
Breaking Benjamin photos HERE
10 Years photos HERE
Starset photos HERE
Breaking Benjamin came to Lupos Heartbreak Hotel in Providence on Saturday for the second time in 2015. This has been a busy year for Breaking Benjamin after an almost 6 year hiatus marred with a mystery illness, infighting, firings, and defections. The result is a brand new supporting cast for founder and frontman Ben Burnley and Breaking Benjamin, but if tonight was any indication he hasn’t missed a beat.
Opening the night was Starset, a 4 piece band from Columbus, Ohio, fronted by Dustin Bates the former lead singer of Downplay. If you haven’t seen Starset live, you are in for an experience. The stage consists of the drum set bookended by large video screens and front and center there is a transparent touch screen, control panel that serves as Dustin’s command center. They opened with “First Light”, from their debut album Transmissions, a futuristic techno beat with a distant voiceover warning of future consequence while images are flashed across the video screens. The band then arrived on the stage to play “Rise and Fall”. With the exception of Dustin, they are dressed in black outfits complete with glowing face masks and proceeded to play a very high energy set. Dustin switches between his control panel and keyboard and roaming the stage with 2 different mikes for various vocal effects. The band played and eight song set from their album including “Halo, “Carnivore”, and ending strong with their hit single “My Demons” After a tentative reaction the crowd really seemed to embrace the unique, somewhat cinematic combination of melodic vocals, electronics and hard hitting guitar riffs.
Hitting the stage next was 10 Years, an American alternative metal band from Knoxville, TN. Lead singer, Jesse Hasek arrived on stage in a slenderman-esque black body suit complete with black face paint and dreadlocks. The band opened with “From Birth to Burial” from their recently released album of the same name. Jesse wasted no time connecting with the crowd, by spending a good amount of time leaning deep into the first rows and later in the show belting out his vocals while being held up by lucky fans in the center of the general admission crowd. 10 Years put out a powerful performance with a nice mix across their discography, including “Motives and Actions”, “Wasteland” and ending with the catchy “Shoot it Out”.
By the time Breaking Benjamin took the stage the energized crowd seemed to have swelled to capacity. The band opened with a three song set from their 2004 breakout album We Are Not Alone including “So Cold”, “Follow” and “Sooner or Later” . The performance included a 20 song setlist of Breaking Benjamin hits intermixed with covers of Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever” and Tool’s “Ænema” sung by bassist Aaron Bruch as well as an eclectic medley featuring “The Imperial March”, “Schism”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Walk”. Highlights from the set included “Failure” “Breaking the Silence” and the haunting “Ashes of Eden” from their newest effort, Dark Before Dawn which shot to the # 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart during the week of it’s release. But tonight there was something for everyone as the set included a great mix across the remainder of their album history concluding with everyone’s favorite, “The Diary of Jane”.
Although the band’s an all-new lineup, with the exception of Ben, they were tight and sounded great and made it very easy to forget the 6 years absence. My recommendation, jump if you have a chance to catch them this tour. They are on the last leg of their Spring/Summer tour, but after a short break they will be hitting the road again with Shinedown.
Photos and Review by Robert McDonald