Gideon has had an interesting career as a band since their formation in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2008. Even though the band has grown to the international level, they have always had an abundant amount of love for their home state. The fans of Alabama love them back as Gideon returned to Zydeco to play the release show for their sixth full length album, "MORE POWER. MORE PAIN."
The first band to take the stage was the 5-piece Alabama hardcore band Stay Lost. The band is no stranger to those involved in the Alabama DIY music scene and has even taken bigger stages within the state, such as Furnace Fest in 2022. This isn't the first time the band has played at Zydeco either, so they felt right at home throughout their performance. Mixing sounds of metallic southern riffs, heavy drumming, high bass presence, and harsh distorted vocals, Stay Lost made it clear what kind of concert this night would hold. The band played older songs from their 2021 EP, "Smoke Signals," and unreleased songs from their new EP coming this year. The band ended their set with their staple song, "Mercy Bites The Hand," leaving the audience awake and ready for the rest of the tour package. If you're interested in hearing some of what Alabama's DIY music scene has to offer, keep your eyes on Stay Lost.
Up next was Kentucky native Nu-Metal band guerrilla warfare. Right when the band got on stage, people realized how unique this band was among the rest of the lineup. What makes them stick out visually is the fact that guerrilla warfare was the only 3-man band of the night, and even more unique is that drummer Garrett Hood doubled as the band's vocalist. Being able to pull off rapping, screaming, and drumming to multiple rhythm changes is no easy task, especially when most of the audience's eyes are on you. As for the band's music, they combined groovy guitar and bass riffs, different rhythms on the drums, and different styles of rapping and harsh vocals. If you're a fan of late 90's early 2000's Rap and Nu-Metal, you might be pleased with this band's performances.
The third band on the lineup was Orthodox, a Straight Edge metallic hardcore band from Nashville, Tennessee. Touring in support of their 2022 album, "Learning To Dissolve," Orthodox made sure that most of their eight-song setlist was from that album. The band set themselves apart from the rest of the lineup in a few different ways, but they immediately got everyone's attention by having the venue turn on the house lights. For reference, Zydeco is a pretty dark and cramped venue when bands are playing, but Orthodox wanted to see their audience as they played their set, and the audience loved it. Another way they separated themselves from the rest of the lineup was by their style sonically. The band's key factor? Guitarist Austin Evans. Austin's writing can be described in many different ways, "insane," "inspiring," "intricate," "intimidating," etc. No one in hardcore is doing what Austin is doing, and pair him with Adam Easterling's insane vocals, Shiloh Krebs' punishing bass, and Mike White's wild drumming you have a recipe for one of the best newer bands in hardcore. One thing that was interesting about the band is that they don't use backing tracks live. Instead they brought along fill-in guitarist Ben Touchberry to give the guitars a louder and fuller sound. Orthodox was my favorite band of the night, and the highlight of their set for me was when they played the track "Feel It Linger." I plan on seeing them again as they return to Birmingham in September of this year to play Furnace Fest 2023.
Gideon isn't the only band on the tour to release a full-length album in 2023. Michigan band For The Fallen Dreams hopped on this package to tour in support of their self-titled album, which was released on March 10 of this year. After nearly two decades of being a band, For The Fallen Dreams has plenty of touring experience and material to play live. Although the band has had many lineup changes over its career, it's that the audience would still support them no matter what the group looks like today. The band's vocalist Chad Ruhlig thanked the fans in the crowd numerous times for sticking with them throughout the band's fifteen-year career. The band's 9-song setlist was divided evenly among four albums, but they played one more song from their newest record to promote it further. Unfortunately the band's live mix wasn't the greatest, as some instrumentals and vocals bled together, making it hard to make out what was happening in the songs on occasion. These issues weren't the band's fault, and the crowd still enjoyed their presence.
Finally, the main event arrived on the stage. Gideon was ready to feast and thrive on the energy the previous bands had stirred up, and the crowd was ravenous for them. They opened with the title track from their new record, "MORE POWER. MORE PAIN.," which was a fitting start to their set. Immediately the crowd came alive, jumping, moshing, and yelling the lyrics. Guitarist Tyler Riley started to experience technical difficulty as his signal started to cut out at the end of the song and continued into the opening of the next song, "Cursed." This didn't disrupt the crowd's energy, and after a quick guitar switch, Riley was right back to play as smoothly as ever. With his punishing and rhythmically heavy riffs combined with the rumbling bass tone of Caleb DeRusha, the hard-hitting drums of Jake Smelley, and the intense yet bouncy vocals of singer Dan McWhorter, Gideon filled the air with loud and pummeling music. Gideon played thirteen songs, spanning from their days on Facedown Records with their album, "Milestone," to the songs off the new album released earlier that day. The fan's energy was insane throughout the night, especially on the track "Champions" when Gideon asked the audience to split the room in half to perform a wall of death. The crowd immediately ran to the farthest corners of the room in preparation for the cue so they could run at each other. Riley's lo-fi guitar riff built anticipation, and on McWhorter's "GO!" a frenzy broke out never seen before during the night. The crowd energy was also high on songs such as "Cursed," "Prodigal Son," "Take Off," "No Love/No One," and, of course, their closing song, "BITE DOWN." Gideon proved that they're at the peak of their live game with this performance, as they were flawless from start to finish, and you can see every song they played on their setlist below.
1. MORE POWER. MORE PAIN.
3. Bad Blood
6. Pulling Teeth
8. Take Me
9. Take Me
10. Take Off
11. Too Much Is Never Enough
12. BITE DOWN
Birmingham was the second to last show of the "MORE POWER. MORE PAIN. Tour," which wrapped up in Nashville, Tennessee, the day after. If you want to catch Gideon, they still have some shows remaining through the end of the year.