Life of Agony is a band without a label. They’re funding their current tour out of their own pocket with no label support. Their last studio album was released seven years ago in 1997. There’s no logical reason that kids should be lined up outside the Diamond Ballroom in 20 degree weather an hour before the doors open, but they are. A few of them are patrolling the area between the tour bus and the rear entrance with posters and CDs in hand, hoping for an autograph. This is loyalty. This is what Life of Agony means to its fans. This is the Underground.
In 1998, shortly after lead singer Keith Caputo parted ways with the band, Life of Agony decided to call it quits. In January of 2003, the band performed two reunion shows (which sold out in 20 minutes!). Those shows were recorded and released on both CD and DVD late last year. Response has been overwhelming, and in February of 2004 the band launched their US tour.
Local metalheads Element kicked off Friday night’s show. Despite being broken up for the past two years, Element put together a decent set and began working the crowd early. Next up on the set were Apartment 26, followed by Flaw. Apartment 26’s sound varied between Faith No More and Jane’s Addiction, and didn’t do much for the crowd. Flaw’s nu-metal performance was louder and heavier, but there was no question that night who the crowd was there to see.
My press pass allowed me backstage/sidestage access for the first three songs. Although I was supposed to be taking pictures, when the band came out and kicked off the show with “River Runs Red”, I dropped the journalism act for a few minutes. It’s hard to take pictures while you’re singing at the top of your lungs with both hands in the air. By the beginning of “This Time” I had composed myself, and shot as many pictures as I could during both that song and “Bad Seed.”
Throughout the night, the band sounded tight. TIGHT. All night. This would be the fourth time I’ve seen the band live, and they’ve never sounded better. Every song played sounded as good, if not better, then their album counterparts. Life of Agony is hungry, passionate, and dedicated, and it showed throughout their set. The songs played reflected both the fans’ favorites and the band’s finest moments. “Weeds” was the only song to sneak in from Soul Searching Sun; the rest of the band’s hour+ long set list was composed of material from River Runs Red and Ugly. There were no cover tunes that night, no solos and no bullshit — just straight up metal the length of the show.
Near the end of the set, the band snuck in “Love To Let You Down,” an as-of-yet unrecorded track planned for LOA’s new album. If this song is any sign of what’s to come, Life of Agony is returning to the scene with a bang. The song has a thrashy bridge and verses that show of Caputo’s maturing voice. Can we go ahead and prepay now guys?
On February 13th 2004, Life of Agony was back in full force. This band has suffered, learned, and grown over the years, and it shows. While the band’s live DVD is a must have, it’s no replacement for catching the band live. Hopefully, we’ll get many more chances to do so over the years.