Certainly a staple to many metalcore fans out there, Grammy-nominated August Burns Red (ABR) smacked Ybor hard last night with an explosive set at the Ritz. The Florida leg of the Phantom Anthem tour kicked off Tuesday night with opening act Ocean Grove, setting the crowd up for a tosser of a night. Alabama-based Erra came on next, its crushing-techno sound serving as a seamless segue into the Born of Osiris (BoO) set.
BoO shook the bricks with a thrilling set that rattled the crowd's brain and got the pit churning four feet from my spot at the bar. People ran into each other, slamming and rolling against strangers with elbows out and sweat drenching their new band tees—all screaming along to their favorite song.
The Ritz was buzzing by the time ABR hit the stage. The Pennsylvania based band must have still been riding the energy from the Eagles' recent Super Bowl win, with all five guys running on stage with smiles and waves. JB, the lead guitarist, embodied the spirit of Florida like a true native in his black flip-flops for the entirety of the set. I couldn't imagine—I still worry about my slip-on Vans falling off while climbing the stairs and here this guy is romping around stage in plastic thongs.
It didn't seem to be a problem though. These guys roared into action with a few songs from their new album, Phantom Anthem and would not relent. Jake growled his way through Invisible Enemy and rolled the Ritz back ten years to Messengers when Marianas Trench detonated through the speakers. A song that sounds like the ocean, the crowd surged as soon as JB's lyrical strumming shifted to his signature ear-splitting chugging and Jake got the pit swirling faster.
The Phantom Anthem tour has two more Florida dates—Fort Lauderdale and Orlando—before moving on and ending later this month.