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The excitement was real as I drove down to the House of Blues in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday September 1st to attend my first show before the pandemic began. What’s crazy is right before the world shut down, I had just purchased a new camera then never got to use it (for a year and a half) to shoot live music. I was ready to put it to good use for Beartooth, Wage War, and Dragged Under. It was a stacked lineup, and I couldn’t wait.

I hadn’t seen Caleb Shomo of Beartooth live on stage since he was still part of Attack Attack! back in 2010, so it was already an exciting night. I had heard so many good things about Wage War that I really didn’t know what I was in for. And finally, Dragged Under was a band that I got to take photos of pre-pandemic with The Used, so I was ready to see them perform again. Overall, the night was about to be fantastic.

As I show up to the venue, I get my photo badge and walk into line. It was almost nostalgic having my camera bag checked, getting my ticket scanned again, and drinking my $13 Shiner tall boy. And to make it even better, I got to see some photographer friends. The night was already starting off right. The lights dim, and Dragged Under took the stage in a unfamiliar fashion.

Tony Cappocci (lead vocalist) and Hans Joseph (guitar) walk out alone with a microphone and acoustic guitar letting us know that the rest of the band had to head home due to some health complications. So, they put together an acoustic set for the night. As unfortunate as it seemed, they made it a cool start to the show. Tony and Hans wrote some of their songs in an acoustic form and Hans even did a cover of “Wonderwall” because someone yelled it from the crowd. It was a neat set, and I was glad I got to see them in a different light.

Following that performance, Wage War came out on stage and didn’t hold back. Having not seen them live before I was in awe of the intense breakdowns and heavy riffs. I was talking to a photographer friend who was there, and we concluded that they were the new Of Mice & Men hands-down. SO GOOD. I didn’t know all for the songs they were playing because I had just recently been tuned into them, but I did recognize “Low”, the very last song they played, and it was brutal. 100% will be seeing them again when they come back into town.

And finally, Beartooth was about to hit the stage for the final performance of the night. The lights go dim and “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit started playing with the lights also in sync. Can’t argue with the song choice because it slaps. Thereafter, the band runs out and starts the set with “Below” off their new album. The energy that Caleb brings to the stage is crazy good. I was half looking through my camera and half just enjoying the music. They played songs from all over their discography that night. A few songs that I was excited about hearing were “Body Bag”, “Skin”, “In Between”, and “The Past Is Dead”.  The entire set was spectacular, and they gave me some sick photos. The encore allowed me to get my favorite crowd shot I’ve ever taken. They encored with “The Past Is Dead” and “The Last Riff” and did not disappoint.

The Below Tour was a great first show back and if you have the chance to catch it, you should!



James Coffman

Photojournalist - Dallas

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