Breaking Benjamin – Harrah’s Cherokee Casino – February 26, 2016
Breaking Benjamin have been a touring whirlwind since the release of their fifth studio album Dark Before Dawn back in June of 2015. Recently the band finished up another string of acoustic dates which were then followed up by the fan interactive Axes and Anchors cruise.
Switching gears and plugging their instruments back in on land Breaking Benjamin brought their brand of straight forward hard rock anthem sing-a-longs to a sold-out Harrah’s Cherokee Casino this past weekend.
Dark Before Dawn and the subsequent tour is the first featuring an entirely new band lineup minus the group’s namesake and lead vocalist Benjamin Burnley. Six years between releasing new music and doing so with an entirely new group of musicians isn’t necessarily a recipe for future success.
Breaking Benjamin though appear to be unaffected by the lapse in time between new releases nor the reconstruction of the band’s guts as Dark Before Dawn debuted at number one on Billboard’s top 200 chart and the supporting tour has largely been playing to standing room only crowds.
Starset, a band that has been opening for Breaking Benjamin quite frequently on the Dark Before Dawn tour, was listed on the evening’s bill on Ticketmaster, however, shortly before 9:00 PM it was Breaking Benjamin themselves that took to the stage.
Breaking Benjamin’s new lineup does offer fans something different in terms of live performance. Aaron Bruch (bass/vocals) along with Keith Wallen (rhythm guitar / vocals), Jasen Rauch (lead guitar) and Shaun Foist (drums) deliver a much broader and diverse sound in a live setting versus previous incarnations of the band.
Wallen and Bruch both took turns on the evening singing lead vocals with Bruch manning the mic for “Simple Design” and “Believe”, while Wallen showcased his vocal talents on “Sooner or Later” while also contributing a few lead verses on “Until the End”.
Breaking Benjamin plays to their audience and the set list largely reflected this sentiment as it played out closely to a greatest hits kind of format including the aforementioned “Until the End” along with other fan favorites such as “So Cold”, “Follow”, “Blow Me Away”, “Breath”, “I Will Not Bow” and show closer “The Diary of Jane”.
Not necessarily known for their elaborate light shows, intricate visual imagery or even for varying their set lists all too much when it comes to their live performance Breaking Benjamin’s show at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino proved to be no different. Probably the biggest takeaway on the evening was how much more layered and frankly more complete their music came off with the injection of the new musicians into the band.
Breaking Benjamin ultimately executed an extremely tight two-hour performance in Cherokee, North Carolina that had the crowd engaged from first note to last and really as a fan of any band can you really ask for anything more than that?
So Cold, Follow, Sooner or Later, Angels Fall, Unknown Soldier, Simple Design, Ashes of Eden, Blow Me Away, Failure, Breath, Imperial March / Schism / Smells Like Teen Spirit / Walk Melody, Home, Give Me a Sign, Polyamorous, Believe, Bury Me Alive, Until The End, I Will Not Bow,The Diary of Jane