Saturday, October 28th, a majority of people in Orlando, FL had tons of options of where to spend their evenings. About 1100+ rock and metal fans, including myself, decided to spend it at The Plaza Live for The Graveyard Shift Tour with headliners Motionless In White. The Amity Affliction and Miss May I are on tour with them as support. The crowd when I arrived was huge. The line to get in wrapped around most of the building an hour before the doors opened. Some of the fans were dressed up in gothic clothing while others sporting their band’s t-shirts. It was a sold-out crowd at The Plaza Live, which was great for the venue who is hosting more and more rock shows. Once I got inside with the fans, the floor was packed filled with people ready to rock. They sensed, as did I, this was going to be a killer show.
Miss May I, the metal band from Troy, OH, was first to the stage that night. The band was formed in 2007 and released their EP titled ‘Vows for a Massacre’. The band continued to work on their music releasing a demo with 6 tracks. It caught the attention of Rise Records who signed them. In 2009 the band released their first full-length album ‘Apologies Are for the Weak’. The band released 4 additional albums under Rise Records, each one charting on Billboard better than the next. Miss May I is a band on the rise and is touring on their recent album ‘Shadows Inside’. When Levi Benton (vocals), B.J. Stead (lead guitar), Justin Aufdemkampe (rhythm guitar), Jerod Boyd (drums), and Ryan Neff (bass) took the stage, the crowd roared in approval.
They opened with “Relentess Chaos” from the ‘Monument’ 2010 album. Levi’s screaming vocals led the way for the hardcore metal sound generating through The Plaza Live. B.J. and Jerord ripped through their notes with abandoned fury while the strobe lights on stage flashed away with the beat. The crowd was loving every minute. Just when I thought Miss May I couldn’t get more energetic, they kicked off “My Sorrow” from their recent release ‘Shadows Inside’, which was faster. The tempo levels out at the chorus with B.J. providing a clean backing vocal to Levi’s screaming vocals. They continued on with “Hey Mister” from the 2012 album ‘At Heart’. Miss May I was having fun entertaining the crowd and urging them to mosh and move to their songs. The rest of their set included “Swallow Your Teeth”, “Under Fire”, and “Shadows Inside”.
Next up was The Amity Affliction from Gympie, a town in Queensland, Australia. The band formed in 2003 while two of its members were still in high school. In 2004 they released a 3 track demo and followed up with a self-titled EP in 2005. Though it was a long road, the band in 2008 released their first studio album ‘Severed Ties’ under the Boomtown label. After releasing their second album, ‘Youngbloods’, they also decided to release ‘Glory Days’, which was a compilation of demo tracks, their two EPs, and two B sides of Youngbloods. They released three additional studio albums including the most recent ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ that was released in 2016. The Amity Affliction consists of Joel Birch (vocals), Ahren Stringer (bass), Ryan Burt (drums), and Dan Brown (guitar). When they hit the stage, the crowd applauded and screamed. There were a good number of fans who knew their music.
They opened with “I Bring The Weather With Me” from their most current album ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’. Joel starts off with a scream of “I bring the weather with me!” as the rest of the band kicks in. Joel’s screaming vocals are just as strong as Levi’s with Ahren providing the clean vocals as backup. I started to wonder if I’d consider them a metal band until I heard their next song “Open Letter” from ‘Let The Ocean Take Me’. Their hardcore sound truly shined with quick guitar riffs and drum hits. Joel has an amazing guttural vocal that contrasts nicely with Ahren’s clean vocals. From the same album as “Open Letter” they played “Lost & Fading”. The Amity Affliction was providing the crowd a great performance. Their music was encouraging the mosh pit to move fast and bump hard. Joel spoke to the crowd a few times thanking them for their support to see them that night and how much it truly meant to them. Some other songs included “All Fucked Up”, “Pittsburgh”, and “This Could Be Heartbreak”. The received a well-deserved round of applause and cheers once they finished their set.
Finally, the headliners Motionless In White was getting set up to go. A curtain was pulled across the stage, so people wouldn’t see the stage set immediately before everything was in place. The band was formed back in 2005 in Scranton, PA while they were in high school. They put together a demo tape they released in 2005. Within two years, they were signed with Masquerade and released their first EP titled ‘The Whorror’. By the next year, Motionless In White recorded their first full-length album titled ‘When Love Met Destruction’. That same year, with a new album, released they played at The Warped Tour and caught the attention of Fearless Records who signed them to a record contract. ‘When Love Met Destruction’ was re-recorded with only 6 of the 11 songs and re-released in 2009 as an EP. In 2010, the band would release ‘Creatures’, which would become their most commonly known first full-length album, and hit the Billboard 200 chart. In 2012 they released ‘Infamous’, which did very well on the Billboard charts. ‘Reincarnate’ was their third album released in 2014. In May 2017 the band released ‘Graveyard Shift’. All during this time, the band toured with a multitude of other bands and also was included to perform at The Vans Warp Tour and Danny Wimmer Presents festivals. Chris “Motionless” Cerulli (vocals) remains the only original member of the band since it’s inception. When the curtain finally revealed the graveyard stage, with skeletons included, Chris, Ryan Sitkowski (lead guitar), Ricky “Horror” Olsen (rhythm guitar), Devin “Ghost” Sola (bass), and Vinny Mauro (drums), took their places on stage as the crowd was screaming in excitement for the fun to begin.
They opened up with those recognizable high pitched keys of “Rats” from their current album ‘Graveyard Shift’. Chris’ creepy vocals with Ryan and Horror’s contribute to the strength of the song. It was a solid opener especially with the fans singing along who knew the song well. Next, Motionless In White got heavy ripping out “Reincarnate” the title track from the 2014 album. Vinny and “Ghost” lay down a solid beat to the song, which then goes to the lighter towards the chorus, and heavy again during the verses. Chris lets loose a set screaming vocals during the song. The followed up with “Necessary Evil” also from ‘Graveyard Shift’.
The stage set looked amazing with the drum platform, graveyard angels, and fog crawling across the stage. The blue and red lighting added to the ambiance. “Ghost” was wearing a bunny masquerade mask that was creeping me out, especially with how meticulously slow he moved. The band also had women on the stage who threw candy to the crowd, mimicked chasing down people with knives and axes, and even held firework cannons on the drum platform. The crowd was headbanging to the songs while the mosh pit got bigger and faster. Some of the other songs they played were “Loud (Fuck It)”, “570”, “Ghost In the Mirror” and then did a great back to back with “Dead as Fuck” from ‘Reincarnate’ and “Not My Type: Dead as Fuck 2”.
Besides the fact that Motionless In White sounded amazing on stage that night, this was one of those performances where I wish I could have photographed all the great moments on stage. Chris’ interaction with the women on stage, his minor costume changes, especially putting on bat wings for “We Only Come Out At Night”, and the best is the snow falling on him during the encore of “Eternally Yours”.
The Graveyard Shift Tour provided an amazing night of metal for the Orlando crowd. All three bands gave us stellar performances and left the crowd wanting more. I watched as people left with big smiles on their faces and talking about the show. Personally, I’m looking forward to the next time Motionless In White come to Orlando to see how they top this performance.