Counterparts’s highly anticipated Private Room tour made its stop in Buffalo, at the newest venue in the city, The Rec Room. This tour was in support of Counterparts’s new EP, Private Room, released on September 7, 2018. Private Room is a short three song ep, timing in at a little under 7 minutes, made up of leftover songs from their 2017 full length release You’re Not You Anymore. This tour focused on exactly what it says, “Private Rooms”; smaller venues to bring all the fan up close and personal, for an intense no-barricade experience, the way Counterparts are truly meant to be experienced. The support for this tour was an interesting selection of bands that branched between multiple genres. Counterparts vocalist, Brendan Murphy, touched on this subject during their set, by saying how this somewhat odd selection of bands was done so they could appeal to a wide variety of people, an element the bill’s of the local shows the band used to attend. Instead of sticking with a strict hardcore lineup, they brought in “emo” band, Have Mercy, and Being As An Ocean, a somewhat melodic post-hardcore band. Personally, I thought this provided for a great concert experience because it brought all my favorite genres of music and wrapped them into one convenient package.
The first band of the evening was Varials (Philadelphia, PA) who brought a truly unique hardcore sound to the show. Varials is definitely not your generic hardcore band, by having a combination pure aggression (like in Knocked Loose), strong deep screams from lead vocalist Travis Tabron, and their unique rhythms, Varials has found a recipe for success. This sound can be found on their recent release Pain Again (2017) the first release on their new label Fearless Records. I was able to see Varials a few months ago when they were on tour with Gideon, and again they brought the same raw energy that attracted me to them in the first place. Varials is still a newer band in the industry, however, their live shows have something special that will take them very far.
Up next was, as I would describe as the “oddball” of the evening, Have Mercy, the Baltimore emo rock band. Even though at first glance Have Mercy might have seemed a little out of place on this bill, I thought they played a great set that complemented the rest of the bands very well. Have Mercy is one of those bands that is not hard to like, with frontman Brian Swindle’s emotional raw vocals, and guitar work that properly drives the songs, Have Mercy has it all. The Buffalo fans were also treated to an acoustic performance of a song off Have Mercy’s upcoming album (release date not set). This was my third time seeing Have Mercy live and what I have determined is that every tour Brian sings each song just a little bit different, creating for a truly unique live performance each time you see them.
The third band of the evening was Being As An Ocean, who played a set like I have never seen before. I was a little nervous as to how they would convey their new sound that can be found on their latest album Waiting for Morning to Come, but BAAO turned their album into a live experience that I will never forget. Between their lighting theatricals and frontman Joel Quartuccio spending as much time in the crowd as he did on the stage during their hour long set, BAAO has a truly unique live experience. When I saw BAAO on their most recent run on the Vans Warped Tour, I honestly thought their set was a little lackluster, and was almost disappointed. However, after seeing them in a smaller venue where I was able to properly get the full BAAO experience, I take back everything that I said before. The true emotion and passion that they put into their music is evident in their performance. From Quartuccio dancing with the audience during the interludes to McGough’s captivating, melodic vocals, it is clear this newest album was built to give a live experience like no other. Their set focused on their latest release but they didn’t forget to please the fans by branching back to their earlier releases with a set that flowed effortlessly from song to song. As I have now learned, when Being as an Ocean plays live they do not just play a set, they play a show.
Finally, the headliners of the evening, Counterparts, would close out the music for the evening on a very high note. Starting off with “Monument” the first track off their newest EP Private Room, and expanding all the way to songs off their 2011 release The Current Will Carry Us, Counterparts played a career spanning set to the packed venue full of energetic fans. This show could easily have taken place at other larger venues in Buffalo such as The Town Ballroom, however, that would have defeated the purpose of the tour. The Private Room tour, brought fans of a variety of music, into the same small space to all experience a wild evening together. From stage diving to insane moshing, The Rec Room is, without a doubt, the place to see a metal show. The Rec Room allows artists like Counterparts to really show the power of music, by being able to bring people of all types into the same place, to share the one thing we all have in common, our love for music. This tour felt like a local show but with your favorite artists. Playing all of their shows in smaller venues with a mixed bill isn’t something you often see with bigger artists in the scene, but at the end of the day, music is what brings us together. No matter who the person is standing next to you in a show, we are all united by our love for music, and during that time we are all together, and even after we leave, we are all a family. This is a feeling I rarely get at bigger shows, but the Private Room Tour was definitely designed for the fans and it was definitely appreciated by everyone.