The Brothers In Arms tour was originally scheduled to kick off in the fall of 2021, but due to various Covid restrictions the tour was postponed until early 2022. On a warm Sunday evening in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, fans were finally able to have their turn. The advertisement for this tour should have been something along the lines of – Were you too young or did you miss Ozzfest back in the early 2000’s? Here is your chance to relive the experience in an intimate setting.
Evolution Empire started off the night in an intense way. The band comprised of former members of Hellyeah, Danzig, and Fear Factory were not holding back. A member of the New Hampshire crowd shouted out “melt our faces off” and vocalist Travis Neal decided to do just that for the entirety of the set. One of the hardest hitting tracks was their 2021 single “Fist of God”. This was a perfect opener to get the energy in the building going for the night.
(hed) p.e. brings that California mix of funk and rock. It can be heard throughout their hits like “Bartender” and “Lets Ride”. They also brought harder tracks like “Renegade” and “Raise Hell”. One of the highlights of the night had to be when lead singer Jahred Gomes busted out the melodica. This is a very uncommon instrument that at first glance looks like a keyboard, but it is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole on the side of the keyboard. The instrument makes a sound that could be compared to an organ or a harmonica. Not exactly what you expect to hear at a rock show, but (hed) p.e. likes to keep things interesting and the crowd was absolutely loving it.
Ill Nino emerged from the smoke to reveal their percussion trio lead by founder Dave Chavarri. You don’t see bongo drums in metal every day, but it works for this band. Ill Nino started things off with heavy hitters “If You Still Hate Me” and “This Is War” and then flowed into tracks with a more relaxed vibe like “What Comes Around”. As much as this band can transform you to feel like you’re back in the 2000’s they play such a unique blend of Latin influenced metal that you also feel like you’re listening to something so refreshingly different from what else is out there.
Finally fans were ready for their headliner Drowning Pool! Most people will immediately think of Drowning Pool’s massive hit “Bodies”, but they have so many other absolute bangers. Luckily Drowning Pool gave the crowd exactly what they wanted by leading off their set with “Sinner” and “Tear Away” from their 2001 Sinner album. They also played newer tracks from their 2016 release Hellelujah and fan favorite “Step Up” off the Desensitized album. Most fans know that the original Drowning Pool lead singer, David Williams, passed away in 2002 due to heart failure, but what many fans might not know is how close knit Drowning Pool & Ill Nino have been through the years. Williams microphone was presented to Ill Nino as a token of respect back in 2002. It makes it that much more special to see these bands touring together exactly 20 years later. Of course “Bodies” was the song that had everyone singing in their best metal voice and had the floors of Wally’s in New Hampshire shaking.