Minutes before Parkway Drive took the stage at The Fillmore Charlotte, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” rang through the speakers. Typically, this detail isn’t important and usually an afterthought, but the energy the crowd gave off – singing every word passionately in unison – highlighted Charlotte’s growing anticipation and encapsulated the feel and atmosphere of the night. Known for delivering an absolute mental performance each time they step on stage – filled with a whole lotta crowd surfing, neck-snapping and shenanigans – Parkway Drive fulfilled expectations and lived up to the hype.
Chants of “Park-way Drive, Park-way Drive” echoed throughout the venue as a red fog rose from the stage’s floorboards. The scene mimicked the feel of Aussie’s music video for “Crushed” – ominous and foreboding. The slow build-up evoked a deafening roar from the crowd that vocalist Winston McCall met with unabashed brutality, pouring his emotions through the microphone.
Circle pits opened immediately – a consequence of the audience releasing their enthusiasm that built up while listening to iconic classic-rock songs. It was as if Parkway Drive’s arrival loosened a vice grip that had been suffocating the crowd’s exuberance for the past 30 minutes. The audience began to bounce and climb on top of each other, showing off their (crowd) surfing abilities, an act the Aussie’s are no strangers to. Two fans even jumped the side stage barricade to launch themselves into the crowd from the risers that Winston stood atop (Again, an act that’s fairly commonplace at a Parkway Drive show).
Photos by Benjamin Robson
Fan favorites, “Carrion” and “Vice Grip” sent The Fillmore into a frenzy. The white confetti streamers that shot out of air cannons at the song’s breakdown weren’t the only things flying through the air as shoes, shirts and empty bottles soared over the audience the entire night.
Winston made it clear multiple times throughout the night that he was enjoying the show as much as Charlotte was. Whether it was when he paused to gape at guitarist Jeff Ling, when he shared a wide smile with the audience while he wiped the sweat dripping from his brow, or when he mouthed “fucking mental” in reaction to the amount of crowd surfers in the small, intimate venue – Winston was living in the moment.
The setlist consisted of the expected staples from the Aussie’s most recent album Ire, but it also featured oldies such as the viciously fast-paced “Karma” and 2009’s “Horizons.” The quintet even unveiled “Boneyards” after the the city lobbied for it at Carolina Rebellion in May. The Fillmore welcomed the unexpected additions and Parkway Drive’s willingness to perform a track that fans shouted for months prior highlights the band’s unrivaled connection they share with their supporters.
After 13 songs, a phony goodbye and another roaring three-syllable Parkway Drive chant, the Aussies remerged to perform “Bottom Feeder,” a track that’s quickly become the band’s signature song.
Last one. We’ll make it easy. We’ll make it simple. You guys got any energy left!?
Charlotte answered Winston’s rhetorical question with thunderous applause and did their part to close out an impressive show that Parkway Drive – certainly Australia’s preeminent moshlords – punctuated with a venue-wide cascade of confetti and onstage smoke jets.