After four long years away, Parkway Drive made their triumphant return to the midwest with a show that fans won’t soon forget.
It’s hard to not wonder what life is like for a band like Parkway Drive. Now more than a quarter-century into their career, the 2019 Wacken Open Air headliners have graced the biggest stages in rock and continued to grow. Their latest record, Darker Still, thrust the band and their fans into new sonic territory while further exploring themes of hope, death, and personal development that has long-defined the band. It’s easy to argue that the Australian natives have it made—so what propels a band that has always had something to fight against to keep pushing?
The simple answer is the music. You might not understand it, but if you attend any one of the band’s sold-out performances worldwide you will experience something words alone do not do justice. For the band and their fans, those moments are as close to church as most will come. The belief in the band, not to mention their belief in fans, has cultivated a community where individuals lift one another up, both at gigs and in everyday life.
On Monday, February 13, midwest fans of Parkway Drive gathered in the capital of Ohio to revel in the band’s first US tour in nearly half a decade. Other acts may need expensive live shows to keep viewers hooked, but not Parkway, The production was minimal, utilizing lights and risers instead of the band’s signature pyro-heavy presentation, but those in attendance didn’t seem to care. They were there for the music, and the men from Australia were more than happy to deliver a powerful fifteen-song set.
Starting with “Glitch,” the lead single from Darker Still, Parkway Drive wasted no time turning the packed house into an escalating rowdy room boasting multiple pits, endless crowd surfers, and chants so loud you could hear people lose their voice long before the night ended. Any fears that older cuts would be forgotten were quickly tossed aside, as fan favorites “Carrion” and “Boneyards” rubbed shoulders with “Soul Bleach” and other, newer tracks. “We know it’s been a long time,” said an excited Winston McCall shortly before launching into a newer track, “so we hope you’ve got what it takes to keep up.”
Believe me, reader. The room did.
To the surprise of no one, the most invigorating moment of the night came near the end of the night. A run of fan favorites gave way to a two-song run from Darker Still, including the nearly seven-minute title track. The room wasn’t as familiar with the recent material as the classic, but that didn’t matter. The raw power of the group’s performance was enough to keep people engaged, and it served as a perfect lead-in to the group’s two-song encore of “Crushed” and “Wild Eyes.”
After joining the audience in a final chant of the melody of “Wild Eyes,” the member of Parkway Drive waved goodbye to fans and headed into the cold February night. The crowd left too, with many gathering outside to share newly made memories with friends they were separated from amid the chaos of the gig. “That was incredible,” said one young man while his friends nodded in agreement. “That was everything I needed right now.”
Same here, stranger. Same here.
- The Void
- Soul Bleach
- Vice Grip
- Imperial Heretic
- The Greatest Fear
- Darker Still
- Bottom Feeder
- Wild Eyes