The legendary Brooklyn alternative metal band Life of Agony are celebrating 30 years of their iconic, groundbreaking debut album, River Runs Red, by doing a world tour in Europe, the UK, and now the states. An album that Rolling Stone recently called “one of the greatest metal albums of all time.” And I definitely agree. Life of Agony has been teaming up on this tour with their long-time friends and NYHC legends Sick of it All. I was privileged to witness and photograph two shows from this explosive tour. First, at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, on March 11th and the other at the Machine Shop in Flint, MI on March 18th. Both were intense, amazing and so special.
Two openers kicked off the Starland Ballroom show, thrash metal’s Omnism and alternative rockers Coventry Carols, both out of New York. They set the tone for the night and pumped the crowd, awaiting more. Up next was Sick of it All, who have been going strong for 37 years. Besides Clutch, I’ve seen them more than any other band, and they never disappoint. One hard-hitting, adrenaline-filled song after another. The perfect band to be paired up with Life of Agony. There was a packed house by the time SOIA went on, and the pit was filled with friends and fans in the NYC and NJ area. LOA’s set was filled with intense, raw emotion. During “I Regret,” frontwoman Mina Caputo sang the lyrics “shed my skin and start again” directly to bassist Alan Robert while both on their knees. It was a goosebump-worthy moment, my favorite of the night.
Starland Ballroom 3/11/2023:
Sick of It All
Life of Agony
The Machine Shop is celebrating its 21st anniversary, and their show started with just Coventry Carols this time, which I, unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to see, but I heard good things about their set. Both Sick of it All and Life of Agony’s sets were similar to the NJ one, but the Machine Shop show was much more intimate and up close and personal because it was smaller, including the tiny photo pit. Being from Michigan before moving to the NYC area many years ago, it felt like an authentic old-school vibe all night and became quite a reunion. Heavy Metal Santa, which both bands playfully called out, was even in attendance, as you can see in my photos. Always a fun highlight during SOIA’s set is their iconic “wall of death” during their anthem, “Scratch the Surface.” Fans were eager to do it again after drummer Armand Majidi accidentally broke his kick drum.
The 30 Sick Years of Agony Tour is going on until April 1st, with the current leg just hitting the East Coast and Midwest. Fans of the West and South anxiously await dates to be announced soon. And I know I speak for many when I say I hope they will also play a true NYC show before the end of the year because I can never get enough of either of these guys, two of my all-time faves.
The Machine Shop 3/18/2023
Sick of It All
Life of Agony
Review and Photos by Metal Insider’s contributing photographer Melinda Oswandel.
Tags: Coventry Carols, Life Of Agony, Omnism, Sick Of It All