Killswitch Engage

The Rock, Thursday, Aug. 26

On the verge of a major breakthrough, Roadrunner Records' Killswitch Engage blasted its way through town Thursday night. During their first headlining tour--in support of their third release, The End of Heartache (previously reviewed in the Weekly)--KSE played to a sold-out crowd at The Rock.

Hot, sweaty, loud and insane is the best way to describe the band's hour-long set.

"Let's have some fun," instructed vocalist Howard Jones before KSE opened their performance with "A Bid Farewell." From the get-go, the group was right in the face of the crowd (literally), and vice versa. The opening chords acted as a starting gun for the crowd to go absolutely apeshit. Huge, violent mosh pits broke out in the small club, while others in the crowd desperately tried to force their way to the front of the stage.

As bodies continued to get beaten around, and the number of bloodied faces enlarged, Jones had to take notice. "You guys are good and noisy, I like that. ..."

While Jones offered words of encouragement, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz took the route of comic relief. "I shaved my balls yesterday, and now they're stuck to my leg," Dutkiewicz announced, before breaking into "Rose of Sharyn."

"Self Revolution," from 2002's Alive or Just Breathing, was pure hardcore madness. The Tucson crowd seemed possessed with rage, showing true appreciation to KSE as they sang the first verse of "Fixation on the Darkness" without direction from the band.

Jones, taking over singing duties for KSE shortly after their second release, is a badass! His transition from record to live performance is astounding, taking his versions of past KSE songs to a higher plateau.

In a noble act, the group constantly paid respects to openers From Autumn to Ashes and labelmates 36 Crazyfists.

The band also paid respects to the Tucson crowd for their energy and support. "I want to make out with each and everyone of you," Dutkiewicz informed.

Before ending with "My Last Serenade," Jones instructed the crowd to make the security workers' night a nightmare. "There's clearly not enough stage diving," Jones said, "The stage is yours; take it." Following Jones' commands as though he were a dictator, fans jumped onstage, completely obscuring the band.

A show like this gives KSE great momentum heading into this fall's Jagermeister Tour with Slayer.