Parkway Drive, Memphis Mayfire and Currents ‘Darker Still Tour’ February 16, 2023, House of Blues Myrtle Beach, San Diego (USA).

    Review and Photo Credit Michael Spencer Photography.

    Ok, this has been a review I’ve wanted to do for years. Literally. The last time I saw Parkway Drive was back in 2016, opening for another band. But life happens, Covid happens and travel restrictions happened. Even though I will be covering all them at Blue Ridge Rock Festival later in the year, I had to see them in a smaller, more intimate setting like House of Blues, even if it was a 7-hour drive to the show…

    First up are Currents are a metalcore/progressive metal band having formed in 2011 in Connecticut (USA). They have toured extensively with many acts and definitely set the tone for the rest of the evening. With a seven song set:

    1. Monsters
    2. Into Despairguitarist Kellen
    3. The Death We Seek
    4. Kill the Ache
    5. Better Days
    6. Remember Me
    7. Vengeance

    Next up Memphis May Fire a metalcore band formed in 2006 Texas (USA). Releasing 6 studio albums and 2 EP’s throughout the years, with numerous lineup changes. Kellen McGregor being the only original member still in the band. They have toured extensively and were frequent performers on Warped Tour. Hitting the stage with a vengeance, opening their set with Blood and Water off of the bands 2022 ‘Remade In Misery’ album. Oh, this was going to be a fun set. Their years of experience showed quickly, and the crowd was fully engaged for their 11-song set. With Matty Mullins hitting the clean vocals and  growling vocals with ease. Their set was mostly songs on of their latest album, which was well received by those in attendance as Remade In Misery is a return to their earlier, heavier sound that got peoples attention in the beginning. Their set consisted of:

    1. Blood & Water
    2. Left for Dead
    3. Death Inside
    4. Bleed Me Dry
    5. Drum Solo
    6. Vices
    7. Somebody
    8. The American Dream
    9. Make Believe
    10. Misery
    11. The Sinner

    Memphis May Fire are:
    Kellen McGregor – lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, programming
    Matty Mullins – lead vocals, keyboards, programming
    Cory Elder – bass
    Jake Garland – drums

    Six years ago, I was introduced to Parkway Drive when opening for Rise Against. Up until that show, I knew the name, but didn’t really follow them. That changed that night. Hailing from New South Wales Australia, and forming in 2003, and only having one member change in 20 years of existence. If you’ve lived under a rock for the past twenty years, you missed out on their seven albums, EP, DVDs and book. Yes, book: ‘Ten Years of Parkway Drive.’ I wanted to see them again, but life happens. Then Covid happened and they got locked down from travelling out of their native Australia. All of their international shows for 2019 and 2020 were postponed due to the pandemic. One of Parkway Drives highlights of their shows are the pyrotechnics. If you have never seen what I am referring to, a simple Google search will answer that. And the postponed shows were going to be the first time that they brought that pyro show to the US. The show tonight at the House of Blues was a 2,500 capacity indoor venue, so pyrotechnics was out of the equation. Seeing a stadium level act in a smaller, intimate setting is still a lot of fun. After the set change from Memphis May Fire, the intro music started with many 80s and 70s hits played through the PA cabinets. It was a trip down memory lane with songs from Mister Mister, Journey and a rousing singalong from the crowd for Queen‘s Bohemian Rhapsody. The lights dim and the crowd is literally screaming/chanting “Parkway Drive.” The pits are being designated and the band walks out on stage to one of the loudest crowds I have ever heard. Lead singer Winston McCall thanks the audience for coming and asks if we are ready. The crowd assured him they were and the band kicked off the show with one of my personal favorites ‘Glitch off’ from their 2022 ‘Darker Still’ album. Did I ever mention it is rather difficult to take pictures and sing along at the top of your lungs at the same time, especially with random crowd surfers dropping into the photo pit? I don’t recommend trying to accomplish both. And when I did stop screaming, I realized the crowd was insanely loud tonight. Then when launching into the second song, ‘Prey’ off 2018s ‘Reverence,’ the crowd took over. Winston looked over to guitarist Jeff Ling and asked “Can you fucking believe this?,” turned to the crowd and thanked them saying he couldn’t even hear the band thru the monitors and if we wanted to sing the song, we could. And sing they did. I haven’t seen a crowd more into a show since Judas Priest in the 80s. After the singalong, they moved onto ‘Carrion,’ off 2007s ‘Horizons.’ The photo pit was cleared, and it was the right time, as the fourth song of the 15-song set was ‘The Void,’ from the ‘Reverence’ album. This song is somewhat of an anthem to fans of the band. This is when the mosh pits and crowd surfing took over. Lyrics starting off with:

    “Nothing can save us, nothing between
    Infinite madness and the spiral of humanity
    Nothing controls us, nothing breeds
    The void awakens in the quickening of atrophy.”

    By this time, it was time to just stand there and watch the mastery these guys have in crowd interaction and musical expertise. They continued to blow the roof off the place. I was contemplating whether or not I needed the day job and should I just throw my stuff in the car and drive another six hours to go to see them again two days later at their last US show. It’s that good of a show, even without the spectacular pyro show. The music stands on it’s own merit and the stage performance is one I won’t forget for a very, very long time. Parkway Drive had a run of shows in the US and will pick up the tour with festival dates in Australia and Europe playing at Download Festival (UK) in June, followed by Copenhell, Hellfest, Graspop, Resurrection and then back to the States for a festival tour run. If you haven’t seen them, you are certainly missing out. The setlist for the night was:

    1. Glitch
    2. Prey
    3. Carrion
    4. The Void
    5. Soul Bleach
    6. Vice Grip
    7. Dedicated
    8. Imperial Heretic
    9. Karma
    10. Boneyards
    11. The Greatest Fear
    12. Darker Still
    13. Bottom Feeder
    14. Crushed
    15. Wild Eyes

    Parkway Drive are:
    Winston McCall – lead vocals
    Jeff Ling – lead guitar
    Luke “Pig” Kilpatrick – rhythm guitar
    Ben “Gaz” Gordon – drums
    Jia “Pie” O’Connor – bass

    *Full Gallery HERE*

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