Hot off the heels of their newest release, Rescue & Restore, August Burns Red delivered an imaginative, spiritual and emotional performance at Santa Ana, CA’s The Observatory last week. Opening with the album’s first track, “Provision”, vocalist Jake Luhrs connected with the sold out crowd instantly, locking eyes with fans singing along across the room, and pointing at them in acknowledgement.
The Pennsylvanian metal outfit powered through fan-favorite tracks from Constellations, Leveler and Messengers, but mostly played the heaviest songs from Rescue & Restore including the first single, “Fault Line” and the heart-wrenching song about loss, “Beauty in Tragedy”.
During the spoken word section of “Spirit Breaker”, Luhrs turned to his wife and directed the lyrics to her, emphasizing the inspiration behind the track in an extremely personal way.
It is quite apparent that Luhrs’ goal during his performances is not only to engage with the audience, but to strengthen his relationship with God. Known as a “Christian metal band”, Luhrs never speaks of the band’s beliefs during the set, but he does gesture towards the sky several times, and at one point, got on his knees, arms outstretched, and spoke his praises during an instrumental segment. Maybe not everyone in the room shares the band’s beliefs, but one cannot deny that August Burns Red brings the intensity and emotion of every song to life in the lighting production, playing (perfectly), and overall performance.
Drummer, Matt Greiner’s drum solo before the band’s encore was one of the most memorable moments, as he has become a sought-after staple among the genre in recent years.
After their final song, “Composure”, the band took time to individually shake hands with everyone close to the stage, and say “thank you”. The band may be at the highest point in their career thus far, but this small gesture reflects how they have not forgotten about their purpose as a band. Overall, August Burns Red put on one of the best metal shows of the year, and one can only hope that they continue this success in years to come.
By Caroline Jensen