During this time of war, many musicians are using their places in the public eye to preach their anti-war or pro-peace statement (yes, there is a difference). The group System of A Down has been very vocal in their anti-Bush, anti-war protests, and have managed to turn a few of their youthful fans towards their message. They have also taken heat for that sentiment. Meanwhile, Disturbed has used the second incarnation of their Music As A Weapon tour to bestow upon their fans a pro-peace, pro-unity message.
Lead singer Dave Draiman, clad in his usual black leather pants and tank top, took to the Hammerstein Ballroom stage beneath the new Disturbed logo. For those who have not seen it adorning the group's latest album Believe, the logo is a combination of the symbols for Judism, Catholicism, Paganism and Islam. Between songs, Draiman took time to speak of everyone coming together, praying for the safe return of the troops overseas, and using music as a weapon for change. He holds Disturbed's genre of music aloft, saying how “metal doesn't judge you” and how “the rumors of the death of this wave of nu metal are not true, judging by all of you”. The sold out crowd was enraptured from the moment the band took the stage, singing along to virtually every song and chanting “USA, USA”.
The other bands to grace the stage kept away from speaking about the war. Perhaps the only other point that could have ruffled feathers was when TapRoot's Stephen Richards spoke out against the hometown hockey team – the New York Rangers – before barreling into “Again and Again“. An unfortunate Chicago Blackhawk fan, Richards perhaps has taken his teams struggles to heart, playing an entire set from the stage. His usual antics of stage diving, crowd surfing and moshing were all absent. Musically, TapRoot played an average set of songs from across both of their albums, finishing with their newest single, “Poem“. Unfortunately, the guitars were mixed way too high throughout the set and the acoustics were not helpful so the crowd was more ambivalent than usual towards the Michigan group.
Chevelle, who took the stage after TapRoot, was warmly embraced by the New York crowd. Playing a full set of songs off of their debut “Wonder What's Next“, the brothers Loeffler managed to produce a huge amount of power for a trio. Highlights included “Comfortable Liar“, “Forfeit“, and of course “The Red” (for which they thanked KRock – the local rock station – for playing so much).
Two bands preceded TapRoot, local nu metalers Blind Hate Experiment and Texas' Unloco. Blind Hate Experiment played a tight, short set. Their lead singer could stand to learn how to handle a mic; he kept it right by his mouth no matter if he was whispering, singing, or yelling. Unloco was loud. As they rushed out onto stage, the lead singer ran to the mic stand, knocking it over and the mic went flying. While their songs were simply structured and a bit generic, they summed up all of the evenings band's feelings when their lead singer said, “Despite all of the bullshit in the world, we are glad you came out to support music.”