Album Review :
Purple Door Festival 2006

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I was excited to yet again be attending Purple Door Festival in Lewisberry, PA this summer. It has become a usual summer ending endeavor for myself and whoever I can get to go along. This year 5 of us attended. Leaving early afternoon on Friday we headed out on the 2 1/2 drive, first stopping at our hotel, then heading into the fest. This is the first time I’ve attended the Friday night concerts. The lineup for this year’s first night was better than last so we decided to spend a little bit of extra cash for a hotel. The lineup on Friday night consisted of The Colour Revolt, Lovedrug, Copeland, and Emeryon Main Stage. The Mono Vs. Stereo sponsored New Band Showcase featured Bosc, The Tapes, The Honour Recital, and Joy Electric. I positioned myself in between the stages for the early part of the evening so that I was able to hear and see both stages.

Bosc is really a great band! I’ve posted about them before and you guys really should check them out. They put on a stellar first set. The Tapes were decent but didn’t really grab my attention as much as I’d thought they would. The Honour Recital played a really tight set and got a lot of people’s attention. I’m not sure how this band hasn’t been signed yet but keep your eyes pealed because that may be changing soon.

Joy Electric really stole the night for me. It’d been so long since I’d seen him and he played a lot of great tracks. He had a decent crowd, although I must say Lovedrug stole the majority. Highlights of his set were “Quite Quieter Than Spiders” and “I Am Made From The Wires”. Incredible set as usual!!

I then headed to mainstage to catch Copeland whom I’ve seen multiple times. I was kind of out of it and their lack of liveliness didn’t help keep my attention. They were tight as usual and enjoyable. They played their normal assortment of tracks with one or two new ones thrown in for good measure. The crowd began to clearly get excited for the headliner of the night, Emery. I had never seen them before so I opted as usual to stand off to the side so I could really hear and capture their show, without the interuptions of little kids constantly jumping and running into me.

Emery was by far the biggest disappointment of the fest for sure! The whole group of people I was with, were competely surprised and bummed at how bad they sounded. I will give it to the band that they are certainly lively and in a club setting would certainly get the crowd into it. Maybe even in a club setting it would sound much better. However, the lead vocals were way off for the majority of the concert and the music just sounded flat. No fullness at all. The best song was the guitarist’s quiet solo track he played. We left the fest on quite a sad note, especially seeing as the main reason we went Friday night was for Emery.

After a nice sleep, which I guarantee we wouldn’t have been given at a campsite, we headed back to Ski Roundtop for the full day ahead. Thankfully the hot weather held off and was quite a bit more bearable than the previous year. The lineup was solid for the day and there were many new faces who I wanted to check out. So I planned out my scheduled of who I wanted to see and who I wanted to write about and began my day.

Sadly, based probably upon my own misjudgement, we arrived too late and missed Transition. This enjoyable new band on Floodgate Records was one of the band’s I wanted to check out and so I was disappointed to start off the day.

We arrived just as Last Tuesday was going on stage. They always put on a lively, sometimes goofy, set and are usually quite entertaining to watch. They played some old tunes and a bunch of new tracks off of their sophmore release on Mono Vs. Stereo. It’s hard to get the crowd into things so early in the morning but they had a decent sized group watching.

I stopped quickly after to check out Bradley Hathaway. I like some of his tracks but I’ve seen him before so I didn’t spend much time there. The crowd at the Gallery Stage was small but were completely focused on his every word. He had more crowd participation than did a bunch of the rock bands that played that day which was quite amusing to me. While I stood and watched he went through “Big Things In Big Packages” and possibly a new one called “So Do I Love You”. Definitely was a brief, but nice, pause for the day of rock that was ahead.

Then it was on to August Burns Red who thundered in with a breakdown which got the crowd moving. Since the last time I’d seen them, they had switched vocalists from Josh who was on the album, to Jake. Many times the new guys cannot keep the same emotion and sound but I actually prefer the new guy. He has a great vocal range from highs to lows and keeps the crowd involved. The band took a brief moment before the song “Speech Impediment” to announce that the set was dedicated to their bass player who was playing his last show. He has apparently decided to step out of touring life. “Your Little Suburbia’s In Ruins”, “Endorphines”, “Barbarian”, “Too Late For Roses”, “Speech Impediment”, and “The Seventh Trumpet”. I was hoping to possibly hear a new track that they’d written since releasing their debut, but I was not granted my wish. Regardless, the band proved why they’ve quickly risen up the metalcore ladder and are one of the premiere groups out there.

Showbread hopped up on stage next and showed off their “new” take on raw rock. Since they invented the genre, they’re quite able to alter it as they please and they certainly have done that with “Age Of Reptiles”. To go with the reptile theme, the band took the stage to the epic theme from the hit movie Jurassic Park. The band, as usual, branded matching outfits featuring green and black and I also noticed that they were using matching colored instruments too. The band ripped through a bunch of new tracks and a bunch off of “No Sir” as well. They rocked “Naked Lunch”, ” So Selfish, It’s Funny”, and had the crowd loudly singing along for “Mouth Like A Magazine”. Then they played “Oh Emetophobia” which is the first single off their Tooth & Nail sophmore release. They wrapped up with “Dead By Dawn”, which Josh stated “…will get us booted ouf of Christian bookstores”. This band has a great following and I’m sure will continue to expand their popularity. “Purple Door, fo sho!”

Floodgate Record’s artist Bernard was next on my list and sadly played for far too small of a crowd on the Warehouse 54 stage. The band plays an atmospheric type of rock which they fully captured live. They opened with “Reconcile Our Lives”, “To Those Of The World”, “Floating, We Find Love”, and also played “Too Far”. This band was equally as amazing as their phenomenal debut “A View Beyond The Cave”.
Things got really screwed up at this point. He Is Legend apparently had broken down, but were on their way. So Dead Poetic had to play ahead of their scheduled slot. Sadly, which has been the case since they opted to drop most of the screaming, Brandon’s vocals were terrible live. His screaming is still decent but he struggles keeping on tune. Anyways, the band, which had lost longtime members, have filled them with suitable replacements. They opened with “New Medicines” and then introduced a new track called “Lioness”. The music is upbeat and catchy, and is musically led through the verses by a steady bass line. Immediately following that they played another new song which I didn’t catch them name of. This song was even catchier than the last and shows that “Vices” should be a solid effort, even if it’s not captured live. They also played “Vanus Empty”. I really feel the band has tightened itself musically from the last time I had seen them but the vocals really ruin it for me.

Next up on the Warehouse 54 Stage was new Solid State signging Inhale Exhale. Recently they had lost their original vocalist Adam, who’s vocals were a great complement to the biker metal riffage. I had heard Ryland’s old group which was more screamo oriented and I was hoping IE, a band full of potential, wouldn’t fail before they took off. Certainly Ryland’s vocals are not as “tough” but his screams are decent. The band let’s the metal stand for itself and do not give themselves over to flailing around or throwing instruments. Those actions are certainly enjoyable if done well (Norma Jean) but it’s become “cool” now and too many bands do it. Obviously I have no clue the names of the tracks they played but it certainly made me look forward to the new release even more! John Larussa’s guitar work has been missed and is always welcome in my book!

The metal masters in The Showdown stepped up next, due to HIL’s lateness, and brought they’re own intro. There’s was the sound of roaring motorcycles and snakes hissing. They tore into “Breath Of The Swamp”. I’m hoping that this song will be on the new album so we can get a fully recorded sound. “Iscariot” followed that up. Then came the new sound. The band’s new songs have dropped all the screaming and gone straight southern biker metal. Judging from one song is hard, but if the rest of the songs are this good then “Temptation Come My Way” will be a huge hit for them. The band then rounded up the set with 3 older songs “From The Mouth Of Gath Comes Terror”, “A Monument Encased In Ashes”, and finished with “Hell Can’t Stop Us Now”, a crowd favorite.

After grabbing some dinner, I knew the rest of the night would be spent at Main Stage. I decided to sit back on the hill and observe the band’s instead of standing in the crowd. I know that up close things sound different and especially because the crowd is moving and you lose focus. I wanted to be able to really hear HIL and others so I could get the vibe without distractions.
He Is Legend got on stage and was beyond disappointing. If you’re going to start off with a Metallica intro you better pay them respect by putting on a stellar set. But in this aspect HIL failed. Schuylar’s vocals were not good at all and the music sounded quite sloppy. They played tracks off of both the last album and also “Suck Out The Poison”. The new stuff is yet another example of a band changing styles up a bit. For the new album the band seems to be focusing more on a straightforward hard rock sound and dropping and core. The screaming has lessened almost to the point of non-existance.

The Myriad was quite entertaining and an enjoyable listen as I laid in the grass and closed my eyes for a bit. Their tunes could put you to sleep, but in a soothing way, not because it’s boring. They sounded exactly like their album and I’m really looking forward to a follow-up release very soon! Some songs played included “Stretched Over”, “When Fire Falls”, “Perfect Obligation”, “Godray”, and “We Will Be Disappointed Together”.

I didn’t care for mewithoutyou so I attempted a little nap at this time. I’ve seen them a whole bunch of times and they never really appeal to me. I only like a few tracks off of each album.

Thousand Foot Krutch was the last band we stayed to watch before taking off. TFK put on a decent rock show. I’m not a huge fan of them but I see their potential to create even more radio hits. They just need to lean more in the hard rock direction and avoid a few of their more poppier moments. I cannot say I’m that familiar with much of their stuff so I couldn’t give song titles. We opted not to stay for Relient K and headed home early.

Improvements:
*New Artists to Purple Door. There are a few bands that play each year but they do a decent job at keeping things fresh.
*Warehouse 54 Stage. Last year it was a tiny stage shoved behind some merch tents but this year it was a legit stage with decent sound. Also, placing it closer to the HM stage was a smart idea as well. Since most bands on those two stages drew the same crowd’s it was a wise choice.
*Entrance & Parking. They did tickets at the walk-in gate this year instead of at the car’s so we actually got right in to park. Last year the wait was quite annoying and we missed a few bands, so this was a much better approach.

My thanks go out to all of the staff at Purple Door and especially Ashley for her help, and congrats for another great fest!