On March 19th, New York City’s Gramercy Theatre was packed with devoted Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Mark Morton and Howard Jones fans. It was an evening of curiosity as this was the first headlining tour Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton has embarked on in support of his debut solo effort Anesthetic (read our review here). While Morton’s debut features a handful of guest musicians, he recruited a live touring band for the trek that included Mark Morales (Sons of Texas) on vocals, Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves) on guitar, Nick Villarreal (Sons of Texas) on bass and Art Cruz (Prong, Winds of Plague) on drums. Despite the run consisting of only ten dates, the tour was somewhat challenging as Light the Torch frontman Howard Jones and more were feeling under the weather.
The evening kicked off with Long Island’s Moon Tooth as they continued to diversify the night with their progressive metal sound. While the album was just ten days away from being released, the group were there to promote their sophomore effort, Crux, which was released on March 29th as Mark Morton helped with the pre-production. The band energized the crowd as they went into songs such as “Omega Days,” “Ebb/Flow,” “Belt Squeezer,” “Thumb Spike,” “Queen Wolf,” “Thorns,” “Awe at All Angles,” and “Offered Blood.”
Next up was Mark Morton’s headlining set as it was interesting to see Morales present songs we’ve heard from the late Chester Bennington, Jacoby Shaddix, Myles Kennedy, Randy Blythe, Chuck Billy, and more. Despite the difference in sound, Morales maintained a vibrant energy that ironically reminded us of an older Killswitch Engage. For those who were looking for a Lamb of God sound were in for a surprise, as it continued to move towards different styles within the hard rock genre. Songs included: “Back From the Dead,” “Save Defiance,” “Sworn Apart,” “Axis,” “Blur,” “Imaginary Days,” “Reveal,” “The Truth is Dead,” and “Cross Off.”
Light the Torch
Despite feeling under the weather, frontman Howard Jones and the rest of Light the Torch were up next to conclude the night. The group were there to support their latest effort 2018’s Revival, as they continued to introduce all with their new name as they were formerly known as Devil You Know. Aside from a few sweaty moments, Jones didn’t appear sick at all as he led the entire performance. Jones was moving so fast, there were a quite a few moments it was difficult to keep up with him. Songs included: “The Bitter End,” “Embracing the Torture,” “Calm Before the Storm,” “Lost in the Fire,” “Virus,” “Consume the Damned,” “The Safety of Disbelief,” “The Sound of Violence,” “The God I Deserve,” “The Way We Die,” and “Die Alone.”
Overall, the night started out with curious fans as they ended being more intrigued, interested, and engaged as they warmed up to each act. It was great to see fans’ expectations change during Mark Morton’s set as it was a mix between embracing the new tunes, wanting to hear more vocalists, and being in awe of Morton’s riffs. However, as expected, Light the Torch gave a blistering conclusion.