El Paso Coverage: The Carnival of Madness Tour 2012
DON HASKINS CENTER
August 18th, 2012
Coverage provided by DARK DVNT
From time to time, Axes to Grind will cover some shows that may not be the hardest of the hard, but do so in the name of exposing music in the areas we cover. On this such occasion, AtG was forwarded an invitation by our friend Doug Pullen over at the El Paso Times to attend the 2012 Carnival of Madness Tour, which made its stop in the Sun City on August 18th. In collaboration with The Times, AtG got the chance to see the inner workings of the tour, and more importantly, witness the performance first hand at the Don Haskins Center (University of Texas El Paso). The tour features five Rock groups, EVANESCENCE, CHEVELLE, HALESTORM, CAVO and NEW MEDICINE. Supporting the tour as sponsors was Monster Energy, along with various others.
Confined in the event tent, more commonly known to native El Pasoans as “The Don,” was a stage that held five touring bands all in convergence for the Carnival of Madness Tour. The tour features nothing but rock, albeit with a wide range of styles and in various forms. There were impressive supporting acts on tour with the headliner EVANESCENCE, and this was yet another great tour stop in the Sun City – we have been spoiled this year for sure!
The marathon began with NEW MEDICINE; this being a return to El Paso for the Minneapolis, MN-based act. The band just came through the 915 only four months ago, playing Tricky Falls in April with SHINEDOWN. The boys from Minnesota rocked the crowd, bringing with them a clear and unique Midwest rock style. The interesting backstory was three of four NEW MEDICINE members had some travel troubles, and a planned BBQ/meet-and-greet with the band was pulled off solo by vocalist/guitarist Jake Scherer. The rest of the band arrived about an hour before their scheduled set time, and all appeared normal to the show’s attendees. NEW MEDICINE performed a select set from their 2010 debut release, Race You to the Bottom (Photo Finish Records).
Next to hit the stage was St. Louis-based CAVO, who have been on tour this summer in support of their 2012 release, Thick as Thieves (Eleven Seven Records). CAVO displayed an energetic presence that invigorated the crowd, with frontman, Casey Walker switching out from guitar duties and holding down vocals while Chris Hobb blazed the remainder of guitar work and solos. The stage presence of Brian Smith is worth noting, as he roamed the space slapping the bass throughout the entire set.
The first choking moment of delight came when HALESTORM took to the stage. The Pennsylvania-based alternative rockers pumped out a truly exceptional set, delivering mostly tracks off their 2012 release, The Strange Case of… (Atlantic Records). Frontwoman Elizabeth “Lzzy” Hale showed off her wide range of talents, which included an excellent set of pipes and both keytar/guitar skills. HALESTORM’s set was great until it turned exceptional when Amy Lee joined the band on stage for a duet, singing “Break In.” HALESTORM proved without a doubt they are a great compliment to EVANESCENCE for the Carnival of Madness Tour.
The excitement was thick following HALESTORM’s set, and the anticipation was growing for Chicago’s melodic rockers CHEVELLE to hit the stage. CHEVELLE are a definite favorite of many here in El Paso, and it showed through when the almighty bull was revealed at the beginning of the set. The crowd roared as this massive toro bravo was revealed as “Hats off to the Bull” broadcasted loudly. The stage was decorated in a bold red with gold accents, keeping with the tradition of CHEVELLE and their stylish stage presentation for the stage. The set rocked hard and all four of the supporting bands worked hard in bringing us to this point in the Carnival of Madness Tour bill.
EVANESCENCE took the stage to a hail of applause and cheers. Amy Lee performed with the exquisite vocals she was blessed with; they are truly unbelievable to witness live. The overall show EVANESCENCE delivered was grand. Amy Lee pumps energy with every breath through each song, and can stop you from breathing with her subtle and intimate mid-set piano solos. The absolute highlight of the set was the best rendition of “Bring Me to Life” I have ever heard. It consisted on nothing but Amy, with a chorus from the crowd during the unsung interjections that many are familiar with on the album version. The Haskins Center felt united and whole with Amy as our choir leader. The set closed with “My Immortal,” which left the feeling of bittersweet partings between EVANESCENCE and the Sun City Saturday night.
If there is one thing that this music enthusiast enjoys more than the music itself, it is that diverse and talented musicians take it upon themselves to monster multiple instruments. This talent was present throughout the entire event, which really stuck with me as I departed the Haskins Center. The event went off smoothly, and aside from the great performances from the touring artists, the Haskins Center staff and tour’s road crew worked relentlessly during each set and band transitions. Bravo to all that made the Carnival of Madness Tour a success here in El Paso. A special thanks goes out to Doug at the El Paso Times, who is about as passionate as it gets, and The Times Entertainment Section. Check out Doug’s ‘Pullen My Blog’ HERE.
AXES TO GRIND
For All That’s Heavy!!!