Hatebreed has been coming to San Antonio for the better part of its two decades' worth of music, including once earlier this year. But the Connecticut metalcore band's visit last Saturday had a distinctively different Warped feel to it.
A large reason the 2017 Vans Warped Tour may have had the heaviest lineup in its 20-plus years, Hatebreed delved into its vault and resurrected songs from the oft-neglected 1997 debut album Satisfaction is the Death of Desire. Rewinding back to its punk roots with the likes of "Empty Promises" (AXS footage below) and a view-from-the-pits "Before Dishonor," Hatebreed further turned up the heat on the annual 67-band festival, taking the stage during the hottest time of the day at 5 p.m. when temperatures reached 106 degrees.
The parking lot grounds of the AT&T Center in late July provided the opposite atmosphere to Hatebreed's performance with Cannibal Corpse in November 2009 that took place on a dreary, 35-degree evening. The brightness and humidity even deviated from the band's gig this past Feb. 17 at, of all places, the intimately dingy Paper Tiger. But it did provide some familiarity for the band in location, as Hatebreed played in the same parking lot as last year's River City Rockfest, prior to which bassist Chris Beattie and drummer Matt Byrne spoke to AXS (watch).
Mixing such old tracks with mainstays "This is Now" (footage below) and "Everyone Bleeds Now" plus the newer "Looking Down the Barrel of Today," vocalist Jamey Jasta and guitarists Wayne Lozinak and Frank Novinec joined Beattie and Byrne in pummeling a crowd that had weathered the conditions for up to nine hours.
Warped contradicts itself by booking metal bands on stages with banners that say "Only dumb people crowd surf" knowing its audiences are going to do just that while not making itself liable for any ensuing mishaps. But it's not like Hatebreed was there to quell such actions. Hard-hitting tunes including "Honor Never Dies" and "Facing What Consumes You" were ideal for stirring the action, at least among those who hadn't tired out by the time the thrashers had taken the Mutant North stage. Jasta even encouraged those who landed in the arms of security by saying, "Don't forget to high-five me on your way out!"
The singer sported a black T-shirt with "Dave Brockie: 1963-2014," a tribute to the late Gwar singer, just 2 1/2 hours before Brockie's former band played the adjacent Mutant South stage without making any mention of him. But unlike other bands that felt the need to make political references throughout the day, Hatebreed left social opinions and commentary at home, filling its set with short songs that were anything but sweet.
Just the way metalheads like them.
Stay tuned for more coverage from the San Antonio stop of the Vans Warped tour here.