Ohio metalcore group Miss May I is no stranger to many of the United States’ hardcore scenes; until leaving Rise Records in 2016, the band was one of the label’s best-promoted artists. Now on a new label, Miss May I took a new step in its 10-year touring career and built its own headlining tour. The Shadows Inside Tour, named after their newest album, featured a solid lineup of well-established names in metalcore. The show’s lineup drew enough fans to pack the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts, creating a high-energy show with an amount of heat similar to a sweat lodge.
The show was opened by Connecticut prog-metalcore/djent band Currents and followed by Texas’s Kublai Khan. Currents grabbed my attention especially because of its setlist focused on its recently-released sophomore full-length, The Place I Feel Safest, which I have been playing on repeat since its early-June release. The standouts from their set were the record’s title track as well as “Apnea” and “Night Terrors.” I highly recommend Currents to fans of ERRA, Invent Animate and Northlane, as they write dynamic, dissonant melodies and live up to their thick sound in-person.
After Currents and Kublai Khan was Upon A Burning Body, another band from Texas. Unlike the rest of the groups that played on the Shadows Inside tour, UABB writes less technical music, and its lyrics revolve around themes of standing out against how others believe one should be, and not caring about society’s expectations.
Talking to other fans at the show, I found that most of the audience came to see UABB, with its aggressively-indifferent swagger and catchy grooves that translate well to a small-club show, further augmented by a heavy use of lighting and smoke effects. The group opened with “B.M.F.,” its most popular song. They played with the energy of new college students at their first frat party, and were quickly mirrored by the crowd in the ever-growing pit.
Following Upon A Burning Body’s 7-song set, Miss May I came on and delivered a powerful headlining performance that I, in the words of vocalist Levi Benton, “will never forget.” Miss May I opened with the title tracks to its two most-recent releases, June’s Shadows Inside and Deathless, released in 2015.
After playing “Deathless,” Benton took a minute to welcome the crowd to the Shadows Inside Tour, and described how special the tour was to the band. Miss May I was celebrating its tenth anniversary as a band, Benton said, and as such, the group found it necessary to play some of its older songs, which I loved (as a huge fan of their 2009 effort Apologies Are For The Weak). They proceeded to play “Masses of a Dying Breed,” one of their oldest and best-recognized songs, to a loud wave of excited fanfare. All told, the group’s 11-song set featured five songs off their first three records.
After playing “Swallow Your Teeth,” another new song, drummer Jerod Boyd performed a solo during a brief intermission for the band that kept the entire crowd engaged; he went above and beyond in doing this, as following the solo, Miss May I played “I.H.E. (I Hate Everything)” and the crowd opened the pit from wall to wall. The song’s breakdowns could not have been more inductive of crowd moshing.
Especially exciting to me was the group’s playing “A Dance With Aera Cura,” off Apologies Are For The Weak. Levi Benton’s croaky, abrasive screams meshed well with the colorful guitar riffs and rapid blast-beats, and had even fans in the upstairs loft jumping around.
After “Aera Cura,” Benton took a minute to thank the crowd for putting in one-hundred-percent effort throughout the entire show, and said that Miss May I enjoyed doing the same. For this reason, he said, MMI would not be playing an encore; this was the first time I’ve seen a band do this. He then asked the crowd to give the same level of energy for the last song of their set, “Lost in the Gray,” the first single off Shadows Inside. The song’s breakdown had everyone in the Palladium going nuts, which is the best way to end a show. I can only imagine how crazy their hometown shows in Columbus, Ohio will be.