In Flames headline a packed show at Wally’s in Hampton Beach, NH

The Wednesday started with a packed bar and venue at Wally’s. With it being a weeknight the size of the crowd was surprising but everyone was clearly ready for the stacked lineup.

The show kicked off with the band Hammerhead. For anyone who hadn’t heard of the band before the show the band member’s age was probably a surprise. The band was a three piece of young members who looked around high school age. The fact that the band was opening for a headliner like In Flames and touring the country is a feat in itself. There could be improvement with their stage presence but it is also only a three piece band that was playing a very small stage because of the backlining amps and other stuff taking up space on the stage. With that said, given the circumstances, their ages and how the crowd reacted – I would call their set a smash hit. Their sound was in line with the rest of the bands that played after them and the crowd seemed into all of their songs. Keeping the crowd engaged throughout your entire set can be a challenge sometimes in itself when you kick off the show and they nailed that.

Next up was the band Darkest Hour. The five piece band demanded the attention from the crowd with their stage presence from the moment they stepped onto the stage. The set times for this show were on the shorter side but they made the most of their time on the stage with headbanging their long hair, holding their guitars up and even ending the show with one of the guitar players getting on the drum set. The Washington DC metal band played their songs such as “DEMON(S)” and “With a Thousand Words to Say But One”. Their live sound was true to their recorded songs but perhaps a hint cleaner and heavier in person. The packed crowd was clearly loving their energy and sound.

Next up was Upon A Burning Body. They were a last minute replacement on this tour for Born of Osiris who was supposed to be direct support for In Flames but unfortunately had to drop out of the tour because of medical issues. For a replacement in this lineup, they made a smart decision picking Upon A Burning Body.

There was some sound issues at the beginning of their set but to no fault of the band themselves but either the microphone the vocalist had or the sound guy not raising the vocals enough. If you were front row you could hear the vocalist giving all he had and screaming even over the metal instrumentals. After about the first song and a half the sound issue was fixed and you could hear the vocals over the music but it was obvious that he was straining his voice by the end of the set to be heard. The talent with the vocalist was obvious but the sound issue was putting unneeded strain on his voice. The instruments were near perfect as they rocked out and didn’t skip a beat even with the mishaps. The band played their smash hit “Extermination” which they made a remark about TikTok before talking, giving acknowledgment to it being a popular sound clip on the app.

Last up was the headliner of the night, In Flames. The Swedish band has been around for over thirty years so it’s no surprise their longer set was still filled with hits from over the years such as “Only for the Weak”, “Foregone Pt. 1”, and “Cloud Connected”. The band’s sound was just like off any of their albums or singles. From the moment their set started, they lit up the stage. Both literally and figuratively with their bright lighting set-up filling the whole smaller venue with their lighting that went along with their music. It is clear why they were successful still after all these years, they still have the sound and are still just as energetic as the younger bands but with a boosted stage presence that comes from the experience. The crowd loved their entire set. There was plenty of cheering, singing along, dancing, moshing and even crowd surfing in the smaller venue.

At the beginning of the set there was an issue where one security guard wasn’t helping fans over the barricade safely from the crowd when crowdsurfing. The vocalist stopped their set to call this out and demand a response from the security guard, when he didn’t get one he asked for more security guards up front to make sure everyone was safe. The venue quickly corrected the situation by replacing and adding security guards so everyone who wanted to could still crowdsurf. There’s many bands out there who have had moments like this to make sure their fans are safe but it doesn’t make it any less special.

Throughout their entire set there was energy, amazing sound and overall everyone was having fun. It was a wonderful end to an amazing night.

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