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Killswitch Engage put on an incendiary show at the Wiltern on Friday Night and it was one fans will never forget. The rabid crowd was whipped into frenzy by opening acts August Burns Red and Light The Torch and the energy didn’t let up for hours.  All three bands are on steady stream on Sirius XM Octane, and the Howard Jones fronted Light the Torch is really gaining traction. His history of fronting Killswitch Engaged is well known and made the bookend of the night that much more explosive.  Jones and his squad ignited the stage in immediate fashion, launching into “More than Dreaming”, the lead track off their new album You Will Be the Death of Me.  It was immediately followed up by “Calm Before the Storm”, “Let Me Fall Apart”, and then the wrapped up their hit “Safety of Disbelief”. If you thought Howard Jones left it all on the stage, you would be surprised…he wasn’t done yet.

Next up came the thrashing August Burns Red. The roaring growl of Jake Luhrs launched the mosh pit into a fury of limbs and energy as they fired into “The Truth Of A Liar”. Flanked by guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler (all poised on risers, they set the tone for the set with pounding aggression.  They fired through a setlist with their crushing hits “Meddler” and “Paramount”.  The madness continued as they breezed into “The Legend Of Zelda Theme” (where the first crowd surfers hit the stage) and closed out their set with the audience in full mayhem mode with “White Washed”.  When the dust settled, I finally knew why August Burns Red came so highly recommended live.  They were nonstop passion and energy from start to finish and the perfect opener for what was about to come.

The audience was now warmed up, and the shirtless crowd in the mosh pit was ready for Killswitch Engage. The Wiltern had become a powder keg of excitement just waiting for the band to come out and light the fuse. The concussive opening salvo of the Grammy nominated “Unleashed” was all the audience needed and it didn’t stop there.  They throttled into “Hate By Design” and Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz strutted the stage around the stage while bassist Mike D’Antonio was whipping his hair around with breakneck speed. “Know your Enemy” was recently added to the setlist as a response to the current tone.  Jesse Leach noted on Instagram:

“I am pleased to have “Know Your Enemy” added to the set list. This song was written in 2018 and it will stand the test of time for the way I feel and have experienced this world we all live in. There has always been more than meets the eye when it comes to the way we are governed. A clever and clandestine manipulation to divide and control. So clever a vast majority can not see it.  If you’ve been paying attention this is nothing new from my lyrics or the way I think and truly feel. I just choose to let the music speak for me as opposed to plastering my opinion all over the internet. We are representing 6 songs of “Atonement” in this current set list as well as playing a song from each album. Never been more happy to have new songs in the set! I’m proud of this album. I’m glad it’s getting it’s chance that shine.”

Killswitch Engage hit all of the classics on Friday evening including “I Am Broken Too” as well as fan favorite “Reckoning”. As good as the show had been, it was about to go to a whole new level. For many it was an epic surprise, but if you had been following the tour you knew what was coming and reveled in the moment as Howard Jones came out to sing the last three songs. Hearing the “Rose of Sharyn”, “The End of Heartache” and “The Signal Fire” with Jesse Leach joining back in truly showed the depth and character of these artists.  There was an energy and brotherhood of Metal that left the audience totally spent by the end of the 18-song set.

At the end of the set, Leach stated, “You all have no idea how much pride I have in knowing everyone resonates with the fact that these heavy songs are about hope and love for yourself and one another. We are all the same. We all have issues, we all have day-to-day stuff that makes life hard.”  It was the perfect way to end the show and one I am sure fans will never forget!


 Killswitch Engage Setlist

  • Unleashed
  • Hate by Design
  • The Crownless King
  • My Last Serenade
  • I Am Broken Too
  • Reckoning
  • In Due Time
  • Reject Yourself
  • This Fire
  • As Sure as the Sun Will Rise
  • Know Your Enemy
  • Irreversal
  • Always
  • My Curse
  • Strength of the Mind
  • Rose of Sharyn (With Howard Jones)
  • The End of Heartache (With Howard Jones)
  • The Signal Fire (With Howard Jones)


Dave Blass

Photojournalist - Toronto

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