SHOW REVIEW: Parkway Drive – Atlas Tour w/The Word Alive, Veil Of Maya, and While She Sleeps

Metal fans descended upon the House of Blues Chicago in mass waves this past Thursday for Parkway Drive’sAtlas Tour“.  Parkway Drive is one of Australia’s most notorious musical acts, and they have not been to Chicago in a few years leaving throngs of fans more than eager to see them.  Along for support on the tour were The Word Alive, Veil Of Maya, and While She Sleeps.  Like most stops throughout the tour, this performance was sold out and the venue was at capacity.  With such a diverse and heavy lineup it is no surprise that the tour had sold out at nearly every stop along the way.  As more and more waves of people began to fill into the venue, the growing anticipation and excitement became more than evident as the crowd could barely contain themselves for much longer.


In the blink of an eye Sheffield, England’s While She Sleeps ran onto the stage bursting immediately into their set.  This is While She Sleeps first American tour ever and the band was ecstatic to finally be able to do so.  A fury of crunching guitars, piercing screams, low end bass, and dynamic drumming graced the eyes and ears of fans without warning when the band jumped right into their set.  While She Sleeps intense live performance exhibits a raw energy that cannot be faked or imitated.  Lead vocalist Lawrence Taylor flung himself into the crowd singing an entire song nearly perfect as he crowdsurfed his way around the front of the venue.  While She Sleeps carried the sound and stage presence of a veteran band and certainly acquired many new fans with their performance.  The boys from Sheffield have left a lasting impression at venues all across America on their first tour of the states, and this is just the beginning of it.  While She Sleeps will be performing the entire length of the Warped Tour this coming summer spreading their raw and original musical style to millions of people across the country.


This was the second to last stop of the tour which also happened to be Veil Of Maya’s hometown date on the tour.  The Chicago natives are well known for their technical and progressive metal music and have been a large part of the Chicago scene for years now.  The massive hometown crowd was a sure indication of how big their support is here.  Guitarist Marc Okubo was nonstop bouncing around the stage with his hands in a frenzy along with bassist Dan Hauser unleashing like a madman on a six string bass.  Veil Of Maya put on a terrific set for their hometown performance, and the crowd loved every second of it.  The band is embarking on a Canadian tour to finish up this spring and then a European tour to start off the summer with another U.S. tour more than likely in the works for when they return.


Phoenix, Arizona metal sensation The Word Alive was up next.  The band’s high energy set kept the rowdy patrons on their toes.  Half way through their set lead vocalist Tyler Smith successfully orchestrated the crowd into a massive wall of death that surely left more than a few audience members stiff and sore the next morning.  As well Smith encouraged everyone in attendance to crowd surf up to the front of the stage, especially those that have not ever crowd surfed before.  An endless sea of bodies then began to flood over the barricade as security scrambled to try and keep up.  The Word Alive has come a long way in their short career and their nonstop live performance has helped them gain a plethora of fans worldwide.  The band will be embarking on a European tour along with Sleeping With Sirens starting this May after they finish a short stint of headlining shows on their way back home to Arizona upon finishing up the “Atlas Tour“.


Much of the crowd looked exhausted before Parkway Drive had even taken the stage.  Yet the moment a “Parkway Drive” chant began somewhere within the crowd, the majority of the venue then began to chant it as well.  It seemed as if the crowd had regained their energy as the anticipation for the evening’s headliners grew relentless.  Someone in the crowd managed to smuggle in and inflate half a dozen beach balls and other floats that were being thrown about the venue randomly.   Then as the crowd was being entertained by inflatables an intro sample began to play as the venue went dark and Parkway Drive made their way to the stage.  The crowd surged forward so forcefully that they nearly toppled over the barricade over.


The moment Parkway Drive began playing their first song, “Old Ghost / New Regrets” fans went completely wild and the entire venue floor erupted in utter chaos.  Lead vocalist Winston McCall’s primal screams roared throughout the building in perfect harmony with the rest of the group’s all out metal assault.  The crowd became down right brutal as the mosh pit grew larger and larger with bodies being thrown across the floor.  One of the floats, which happened to be a duck, had made its way on stage during the first song and bassist Jia O’Connor wasted no time putting on the floatie and performing with it as well.  Parkway Drive then broke into some older fan favorites including “Sleepwalker“, “Karma“, “Boneyards“, and many more.  The band definitely put on a diverse set list of both new and old songs giving fans a variety of some of their greatest songs.


Parkway Drive is celebrating their ten year anniversary as a band and it is hard to believe that it has been that long.  Parkway Drive continues to take the metal world by storm as they persistently grow and progress on a level unlike others with every album they record.  With every supporting band on the tour openly sharing their admiration and respect for Parkway Drive it was clearly made obvious the impact they have had worldwide.  The “Atlas Tour” sold out nearly every stop on the tour and with good reason.  It has some of the most diverse and talented metal bands in the world performing on it.  While She Sleeps, Veil Of Maya, The Word Alive, and Parkway Drive all delivered outstanding performances at this show and more than exceeded the expectations for fans across the country.  All of these band’s live performances are ones not to be missed.  Follow the links below to keep up to date with their latest news, tour info, and more.

Words and Photos By: Michael Gonzales and Terri Vines