The Pageant is packed with kids wearing black t-shirts who all want three things: face-melting riffs, pummeling double-bass, and a guitarist who isn't afraid to wear a cape. Headlining four performances and following Dillinger Escape Plan, Killswitch Engage delivered on all accounts with a heavy dose of melodic metal that had the pit heaving.
Presiding over the performance, frontman Howard Jones threw down on vocals, alternating between soaring choruses and savage, guttural screams. The frontman genuinely seemed to enjoy his time in the stage light, dominating the show with a commanding physical presence and big vocals to match.
Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel brought a savage, double-barreled assault on guitars, carving out the band's signature mix of melodic riffing and uncompromising intensity.
Mike D'Antonio laid into his duties on the bass with head-thrashing enthusiasm, while Justin Foley anchored the band's fierce sound with a bombastic delivery on drums.
I was sick as a dog on Saturday, but instead of curling up and going to bed early like I should have, I went out to get pounded by the metal.
After photographing three other metalcore bands in the evening, Killswitch Engage's headlining performance was the easiest set of the night, with more even lighting and mildly less active performers.
Of the band members, I found guitarist Joel Stroetzel the easiest subject, due to his relatively planted playing position at the front of the stage. By contrast, Adam Dutkiewicz was a much more active target.
Singer Howard Jones was almost always on the move as well and proved a difficult subject. Not only did Jones travel around the front of the stage, there was also a small set of ramps setup around the drumset, which the frontman sang from throughout the set.
I shot this set from the pit for the first three.
Lighting for this set wasn't terribly challenging, but it wasn't very bright, either. Much of the lighting came from explosive backlighting for the first song, gradually mixing into a more neutral mix with white lighting, and ending with primarily blue backlighting with white light from the front by the end of the third song.
Lighting on drummer Foley was was difficult because the drummer was almost always lit up with intensely colored light from his own dedicated setup. Not badly clipping one channel was an extreme challenge (one which, I should add, I lost).
Just as with the set from Dillinger Escape Plan, I used the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 during this set. I found I used the 24-70mm most for singer Howard Jones and drummer Justin Foley, while the the ultra-wide came into play more for the band's guitarists and bass player.
Overall, I think I could have shot the whole set with the 24-70mm, though I'm still feeling out how the 14-24mm lens is going to fit into my concert kit.
I shot the entire set at ISO 6400, f/2.8 and 1/200 or 1/250. Strangely enough, I'm shooting at ISO 6400 the way I used to use ISO 1600 on the D2x. While I thought I'd be shooting ISO 12800 much more, I'm really liking what the camera produces at ISO 6400.
Killswitch Engage definitely put in a solid show, and I'd recommend this tour to anyone out there as long as you don't mind chasing a few metalcore singers around the stage. Overall, I'd say playing zone defense is probably the best approach, because otherwise you'll constantly be playing catchup on bumping into to everyone else in the pit.