You could make the argument that Spiritbox is currently the hottest band in heavy music and you would be hard pressed to find someone that would disagree with you. Universally acclaimed and adored alike by fans across the heavy music spectrum, Spiritbox showcases what they are capable of when they are front and center as headliner.
The Eternal Blue Tour 2023, which just so happens to be Spiritbox’s very first headlining tour, will span across 22 cities and completely sold-out shows throughout North America when it’s all said and done. While the band has spent the better part of the last year supporting the likes of Underoath, Ghost, and Lamb of God, they now have the privilege of touring in support of their tremendous full length debut, “Eternal Blue,” as a headliner act, delivering their stunning live performance to thousands of yearning fans. I have had the opportunity to see them perform twice before, and let me tell ya’ll: The Eternal Blue Tour is Spiritbox at their best so far.
For the uninitiated, Spiritbox features the unique vocal delivery of Courtney LaPlante, a blissful blend of soaring melodies and crushingly low growls and screams, the amazing composition and guitar work of riffbeast Mike Stringer, and last but not least, the thundering rhythm section rounded out by bassist and backup vocalist Josh Gilbert (formerly of As I Lay Dying, whom was just recently announced officially as a new member of the band), and drummer Zev Rosenberg.
The first thing that became self-evident as I walked up to the venue and noticed the sea of folks standing in line was how wonderfully diverse the crowd was. Young and old, goth and fairycore, moms with their daughters, older couples, small families, death metal dudes with “impress-me-bro” dispositions, hardcore kids, proggy djent peeps… even dudes rocking battle vests! They could all be seen excitedly waiting to be let inside.
Right from the start as I entered the venue and made my way to the merch tables, it was obvious that Spiritbox and their crew got their stuff together. It may seem like a mundane detail to the casual concert-goer, but when you have a main act with two people slingin’ merch instead of just one, that’s a solid indicator of an outstanding crew. In addition, calm and collected crew members navigating their way around the venue, seamlessly working together with venue staff, short and efficient breakdowns and setups between sets, phenomenal sound, and gorgeous stage production all lend to solidifying the tour package as a picture of professionalism. I mean, just imagine going out to any establishment where the staff is one hundred percent on point—it just makes you FEEL good.
To kick things off, virtuosic progressive instrumental act Intervals, sets the tone with flawless execution. Masterful guitar solos and harmonies are aplenty with ubiquitous low end, and tasteful drumming is supplied. Ah yes, alas, the proggy music nerd in me is overcome with joy. At some point throughout their set, Aaron Marshall (the mastermind behind Intervals), makes note of the fact the last time the band played in Orlando was at that very same venue—to the delight of the fans present, who responded in kind with an uproar. The start of “Lock & Key,” from their album “Circadian,” saw the crowd come to life, as Aaron playfully shouts into the mic, “Off your feet, Orlando!” By the time they finish their penultimate jam of the night, “Leave No Stone,” everyone present starts chanting their name. The band carries this energy into their last song, “String Theory,” which marks the grand entrance of an old crowd staple: yes, folks, the mosh pit is in the house.
Next up is the heavyweight monster groove machine known as After the Burial, and by this time, the crowd is warmed up and ready. The pit is in full swing (pardon the pun), and After the Burial open their set with “In Flux,” from their latest full length release, “Evergreen.” From there, they go into “Collapse,” and vocalist Anthony Notarmaso commands the audience into synchronized participation with a hearty, “Everybody slam!” Upon the conclusion of one of their latest singles, “Nothing Gold,” Anthony has a lovely display of vulnerability, where he connects with the crowd and briefly touches up on subjects such as loss, grief, and the importance of reaching out for help. “A Wolf Amongst Ravens” and “Behold the Crown” serve as the finale for After the Burial’s punishing performance. These last two numbers feature tight choppy riffs with syncopated double-bass grooves and pinch-harmonics that would make Unearth circa mid 2000s beam with pride. In other words, these songs are Certified Fresh® ass-clappin’ head bangers—guaranteed to leave your neck (and back, if you’re in your 30s) sore for days.
Finally, we get what everyone is eagerly waiting for: Spiritbox. As if they needed to build anticipation even more, once the crew is done setting up they leave a massive sheer blue curtain that covers the majority of the stage front view; for the first three songs, it is used as a backdrop for beautiful visuals projected onto it. The anticipation continues to build up as “Sun Killer,” opener off of album “Eternal Blue,” kicks things off. The bassy, pulsating album opener is a rather appropriate way to start the set. Just like for After the Burial, the crowd was already warmed up and they wasted no time getting down to business. Main difference, however, is now we have a massive singalong, much to the visual delight of vocalist Courtney LaPlante. The crowd is at the palm of her hand, and the band’s impeccable musicianship is captivating. I must also point out the jaw-dropping production consisting of the set design, lights, and projections were an absolute sight to behold. Without a doubt, the most incredible display yours truly has had the chance to capture.
Worthy of note is bassist Josh Gilbert’s take in the chorus from “Yellowjacket,” which is sung and captured on “Eternal Blue” by none other than Sam Carter from English metalcore giants Architects. Not too long after comes new single “The Void,” which delivers a rather carefree and laid-back vibe; it’s the kind of metal jam you could easily envision yourself blasting in your car with the windows down while singing your heart out. Other standout tracks are “Hella Good,” (No Doubt cover), “Rotoscope,” (from their last single/EP of the same name), “Secret Garden,” which has Josh provide a sort of duet on the last chorus, and now-legendary fan favorite “Holy Roller,” which had Courtney gracefully request for some good ol’ fashioned mosh pit action. The audience, of course, obliged the request with pleasure.
As they wrapped up their set, the band brought everything to a close with their last two songs, “Constance,” and the title track off of “Eternal Blue.” Beforehand, Courtney had a heart-felt moment with the crowd where she encouraged everyone to allow themselves to be vulnerable; for those in the audience who may not have been aware, these two songs mean a lot to the American/Canadian singer. As expected the audience gave in, and it lent for some truly captivating singalongs. With some parting words, Courtney remarked how much they appreciated everyone present, thanked the rest of the bands and crew, and even pointed out that Orlando was dubbed by the other bands on tour as the “most ass-shaky venue” so far.
Once done touring North America, Spiritbox will hit Europe for a run of shows with Ghost in France, Bring Me the Horizon in Budapest and Paris, two co-headline shows with Motionless in White in Germany, standalone headline shows in Milan (Italy), Munster (Germany), Haarlem (Netherlands), Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Helsinki (Finland), several major festivals and finally the U.K., where they will play a run of headline shows supported by Loathe and Brand of Sacrifice.
- Sun Killer
- Hurt You
- Rule of Nines
- The Void (New Single)
- Circle With Me
- Hella Good (No Doubt Cover)
- Secret Garden
- The Mara Effect, Pt III
- Holy Roller
- Eternal Blue