Carnival of Madness 2012
The annual Carnival of Madness tour made its stop in Boston, MA at Bank of America Pavilion on August 6th.
The slated opening band New Medicine was out of commission while a band member was recovering appendicitis. This left Cavo kicking off the night, a somewhat suspect decision by Carnival. To say that Cavo tries way too hard would be a delicate way of assessing the band's merit. It's rock by the numbers without a hint of the irony that makes bands like Nickelback and HELLYEAH amusing.
Halestorm represented the antithesis of its preceding act. They band function as an impeccably well-oiled machine, sometimes playing 250 shows in a single year. That experience has instilled the band with the ease and professionalism of seasoned pros. Lzzy Hale’s spot-on vocals matched the equally competent band, as her drumming brother Arejay often stole the scene with his cleverly hilarious performance style. From "Mz. Hyde" to "Here’s to Us," the audience was on its feet throughout the entire set. Halestorm would make a fantastic choice for a headliner in the future.
Alternative rockers Chevelle didn’t fair quite as well following such a stellar act. The barometer had been set a bit higher than they could reach. The band consists of powerful musicians, but the show itself was merely competent.
How Pete Loeffler can manage to be such a dynamic vocalist yet retain a personality disaffected to the point of absence is puzzling. One audience member was heard remarking that he seemed bored with his own performance.
The same could not be said of the headlining band. Evanescence retains a fiercely loyal fan base, and for good reason. Absolutely no one on the mainstream rock scene sounds anything like them. Personal ethics aside, Amy Lee’s commandeering of the band has only made them slicker and more vibrant. Evanescence has become to Amy Lee what Nine Inch Nails is to Trent Reznor. She didn’t even bother to introduce the band at the end of the show.
Lee’s bizarre personal presentation and performance captivated the audience from the moment she glided onto the stage. Demonic fairy lookalikes bared their souls to songs like "Bring Me to Life" and "Call Me When You’re Sober" along with the operatic belting onstage leader. Lee bounced between piano, keyboards, and wandering headbanging with the nonchalance of someone who seemed unconcerned that thousands of people were staring.
Evanescence is a surreal live experience. The audience emoted the lyrics to the darkly impassioned songs with a religious zeal. Despite the chiding rock fans often give the band, there is no denying the skill and intricacy required to craft soundscapes so invitingly foreign. As Lee closed out the evening with "My Immortal," the audience clung to every word with an unusual reverence.
Carnival of Madness can call this year’s line-up a success. While not without hiccups, it represents an interesting cross section of contemporary alternative rock. With Halestorm and Evanescence on board, audience members are sure to forgive the inclusion of Cavo, along with Chevelle’s mild dysphoria.
Carnival of Madness is currently touring throughout the US. Tickets can be purchased at http://carnivalofmadness.com/ .