The Parallax II: Future Sequence was my top album of 2012, so there was absolutely no way I could ever pass up the chance to see progressive metal gods, Between the Buried and Me, play the fantastic 72-minute record in its entirety right in their hometown and on the opening night of their tour. Taking place at the new Ziggy’s in Winstom-Salem, which has one of the loudest and clearest sound systems in the area, there were hundreds in attendance, all ready to witness the greatness ensue. The Safety Fire, The Contortionist, and The Faceless were definitely fitting openers for the show, but my ever-increasing anticipation for the headliners to take the stage distracted me to the point of being unable to pay attention throughout the majority of these performances.
Once BTBAM took the stage, though, my eyes and ears never left it. Being the first night of a two-month run, I was naturally expecting there to be at least a few slipups here and there in the set, but I should have known that, with BTBAM, there would be no such thing. For 72 minutes straight, the band ripped through the entire album seamlessly from track to track, sounding just like the recording and never saying a single word to the audience. Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring’s live guitars were incredible together, with their huge, textured chords and crisp solos mixing perfectly, and bassist Dan Briggs showed fantastic energy as he powerfully stomped across the stage and banged his head in rhythm to Blake Richardson’s flawless percussion. Adorning the stage was a giant banner of a creepy night owl swooping down, almost looking like it was coming to grab the band with its sharp talons and fly off into the night, and there were two circular, eye-like projectors displaying animations of the album art throughout the show.
The only speed bump came from vocalist Tommy Rogers, whose clean singing voice sounded rather weak at many points throughout the first half of the performance. While the screams were extremely tight and played just like they do on the album, Rogers had a lot of trouble matching the power of his recorded melodic singing until the last few songs. By the time the epic closer “Silent Flight Parliament” came, though, Rogers was confidently belting out “Jet propulsion disengage / Dancing towards our future / A future of nothing / A future towards nothing” to the adoring crowd, making for a very strong, memorable finale.
Highlights from the show included the performances of “Telos” and “Bloom,” both of which translated very well live. The pure ferocity of the intro to “Telos” and, additionally, the slow crescendo during the bridge into the last heavy section were flawless, hitting way harder than they do on the album. Rogers’ performance of the quirky alien voices in “Bloom” were also spot on and extremely fun to watch. When the final cadence hit in the reprise of “Goodbye to Everything,” all I wanted was more, and BTBAM delivered once again with a blistering encore of “White Walls,” sending the crowd off in style.
To say I was impressed by the end of the show would be a vast understatement. I have honestly never seen a band perform such technically complex material with as much poise and professionalism as BTBAM did at Ziggy’s, and somehow, they did it without ever stopping to take a break, even just for one minute. For $20, this tour is an absolute steal, and you are getting way more than what you pay for—believe me. So, for the well-being of your musical tastes, please don’t pass up the opportunity to see one of the tightest bands in the world play one of the best metal albums released in recent years. Bring a change of pants, too, just in case.