Parkway Drive has undoubtedly been one of the biggest names in metal music over the last five years, but also has set themselves apart from the rest with their unbelievable stage shows. Their 2022 U.S. tour was one of the most anticipated of the year. But as the launch was in sight, the tour was ultimately rescheduled for later that year, then was ultimately cancelled. When news broke of Parkway’s return to the states for the Darker Still Tour, tickets dried up almost instantly across the country. Armed with a killer lineup including Currents and Memphis May Fire, Parkway Drive set out to close unfinished business with their fans and deliver a performance that they will never forget.
The Fairfield, Ct five-piece Currents would kick off the night right, as they stormed the stage as they unleashed Monsters. The pit opens up immediately, swallowing up everyone around it, and only grows stronger as they roll through Into Despair and The Death We Seek. The vocal dynamic between Brian Willie and Christian Pulgarin was fierce and in your face.
For me, the song that really stuck out was the hypnotically crushing Remember Me. Front man Brian Willie really puts his range on full display over the minefield of bone breaking riffs and chest pounding drumming. Their set was killer from start to finish, and when they dropped Vengeance to cap it all off, the energy blew off the stage as the fans lost their minds in the pit.
Next, Memphis May Fire hit the stage through a wave of cheers. Front man Matty Mullens storms the stage as the band launch into the lead track off their new record Remade in Misery with Blood & Water. The energy just shot off the stage as the fans were not shy at hiding their excitement for new music. Luckily for them, tonight’s set would be lined with fresh tracks along with plenty of fan favorites.
The band laid waste to the pit with one crushing breakdown after another. Mullens had fans singing every melody with energy and passion before switching gears and letting out his signature screams. The band fed off of every ounce of adrenaline from the crowd which just amplified their already high-powered performance.
Through the plethora of new tracks including amazing titles like Left for Dead, American Nightmare and Death Inside, Memphis May Fire made sure to drop signature tunes like Vices and Misery. But it would no doubt be their fan favorite The Sinner that brought the most out of the fans as they deliver the most electric part of the set. Memphis May Fire showed with ease that they are still one of the best live bands out there and if this show was a prime example.
And now the time fans have been waiting almost two years for, is finally here. As the enormous Parkway Drive banner gleams from the stage, the room goes dark and a thunderous rouse of cheers and applause rock the building. Soon, the stage comes to life with blinding white lights as the band emerges from backstage. Then singer Winston McCall jogs out with a big smile on his face as he puts eyes on the hungry crowd and the band jumps right into the high-octane track Glitch.
I’ve never heard a crowd so loud at Starland Ballroom, as this sold-out show was on the verge of shaking the foundation. And armed with an absolutely staggering setlist, Parkway Drive was going to test its structural integrity and the limits of every person in attendance. Old school fans were taken back to their groundbreaking 2007 album Horizons as they unleashed their classic Carrion, which caused outright insanity across the floor.
The bulk of Parkway’s set was just punishing to say the least. Fans could barely catch their breath in between hard hitters like Vice Grip, Karma and of course, Boneyards. But there would be a calm amongst the storm when guitarist Luke Kilpartick walks back to the stage armed with an acoustic guitar as he and McCall duet into their calming hymn Darker Still. Though the song would be a slight contrast to everything else the crowd has heard to this point. The song would shift gears as the rest of the band paved the way for Jeff Ling’s blistering solo.
But soon after, Parkway Drive would drop a bomb as they pull the pin on one of heaviest songs in their arsenal with Bottom Feeder. Winston had the entire building leaving their feet as his furious commands of “BOUNCE, BOUNCE, BOUNCE!” was like a general commanding an army going into battle. It was such an intense performance to witness as the raw power of the music just hits you like a sledgehammer.
The band walked off stage after sincere thank you’s, but the crowd wasn’t buying that this was the end of the show. But when the ominous intro to Crushed starts to play, the fans react like it was the start of the show. And much like the beginning of this killer show, Parkway unleashed hell with this absolutely brutal track and followed it up with their cantillate anthem Wild Eyes. The opening chants could most likely be heard up the road as there wasn’t a single silent person in the building.
Parkway Drive just delivered one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed. Very few bands have been able to get the crowd moving and involved as what I saw here tonight. This was such a monumental show with all of the cancellations and rescheduling from the original tour. But I can tell you this. Parkway Drive certainly made it up to these fans and every fan that has attended any stop of this tour. And their upcoming show at this year’s Blue Ridge Rock Festival will no doubt be the biggest and most explosive show they’ve seen yet!