Red at Winter Jam at EagleBank Arena

Red at Winter Jam at EagleBank Arena

On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, Winter Jam came to EagleBank Arena at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. This is the largest annual Christian Music tour in the United States, and it has been running annual since 1995. This year the lineup for the East Coast dates featured For King & Country, Matthew West, Crowder, Lauren Daigle, RED, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, KB, Tedashii, Trip Lee, Stars Go Dim, and We Are Messengers, along with speaker Tony Nolan. These artists covered many genres, including rock, country, pop, and rap. Doors at the arena were scheduled to open at 6:00, but fans were allowed in the venue soon before that. The seats all filled up quickly, with only a few scattered around the venue as the music got underway.

One band that I have been wanting to see for years is RED, and Winter Jam was a perfect opportunity for me to finally see them.  Although their set was short, consisting of only four songs, the band packed a lot of energy into it. Pyrotechnics were used, and RED was the first artist of the night to use them. Fire shot out of a few different places on the stage. At the end of the set, small fireworks flamed out by the dark trees that decorated the stage. For the song “Take Me Over,” the band, excluding the drummer, ran to a platform at the opposite end of the floor area and played most of the song from there. During the song “Darkest Part,” off of RED’s most recent album, of Beauty and Rage, a person dressed in a black cloak, similar to the one pictured on the album’s cover, came out and walked around the stage. Also during that song, lead singer Michael Barnes ran through the crowd, going up and down the steps that lead through some sections of the seats. Even though their set was short, due to the amount of artists that performed that night, RED made the most of the space that they had, drawing the crowd into the music with them.

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Adelitas Way at Hard Times Cafe and Cue

Adelitas Way at Hard Times Cafe and Cue

On Saturday, January 30th, Adelitas Way’s Bad Reputation Tour came to Hard Times Café and Cue in Hagerstown, Maryland. Also on the tour were Failure Anthem and Through Fire. Local bands Defending Cain and Cyrenic opened up the second night of Winter Fest III.

Adelitas Way started their 13 song set with “Sick”, a song off of their 2011 sophomore album, Home School Valedictorian. The audience immediately got into the music, banging their heads along to the beat. Right after the first song ended, lead singer Rick DeJesus encouraged everyone at the show to go home and tell everybody that they see the next day about the band and the concert. After “Criticize,” another single off of the same album, the band launched into “Scream,” off of their first self-titled album. The set included a pretty even amount of songs from both of their first two albums, as well as one each off of their 2014 album Stuck and their Filthy Heart EP. “Bad Reputation” was the fourth song of the set, off of their upcoming album, Getaway. Throughout the set, the band put many instrumental jam sessions in the middle of their songs, as well as between them. Before starting their song “Alive,” DeJesus encouraged the crowd to hug their loved ones, telling everybody to love each other when they could because they never knew how long they had with them. He pointed to two people in the front row, a mother and son who had been standing there since 3 P.M. earlier that day, and had them hug each other. Even though there were problems with DeJesus’s microphone, the band continued their performance. Guitarist Robert Zakaryan got so into the songs that he even knocked over his mic stand at one point. After what would have normally been their last song, “Invincible,” DeJesus began to talk to the audience again. He called out one of their fans by name and mentioned that she had been to 31 one of their shows before. She requested that the band play a song off of their first album, “Dirty Little Thing.” After saying how much Adelitas Way loves their fan, the band ended their set with that song, in honor of one of their most dedicated fans.