The Park Theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was electrified on July 12, 2023, as The Manic Tour made its long-awaited stop within the city. With a lineup featuring Wage War, Zero 9:36, and AVOID, the sold-out show promised an evening of high-energy performances and intense metalcore and rap metal music.
AVOID. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography
The night kicked off with AVOID, a thrilling metalcore band hailing from Seattle. The crowd wasted no time in embracing the band's energy as they burst onto the stage with their opening track, "Gator Fest." AVOID's setlist was a perfect blend of heavy-hitting anthems and melodic interludes. Tracks like "Whatever" and "Flashbang!" had the crowd headbanging and moshing in unison, while the haunting melodies of "Hostage at a Beach House Party" captivated the audience. The band conquered the crowd like they were the headlining act, and I was in absolute awe at how they had approximately six hundred people at their beck and call. The band closed their set with "Song About James," leaving the crowd eagerly anticipating the rest of the night.
Zero 9:36. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography
Next up was Zero 9:36, a rap metal three-piece from Philadelphia. The stage was set ablaze as they exploded into their set with "II X Two." The combination of rap verses, aggressive guitars, and thunderous drums created an intense atmosphere. Zero 9:36 showcased their versatility with tracks like "The End," which displayed their ability to seamlessly blend genres. The crowd roared as they played fan favourites like "Self‐Destruct" and "Adrenaline," delivering a powerful and captivating performance. The set culminated with the explosive track "I'm Not," leaving the crowd buzzing with anticipation for the headliners, Wage War. Approximate four minutes before Wage War was scheduled to hit the stage, Michael Sembello's 1983 synth-pop hit "Maniac" overwhelmed The Park Theatre's sound system to hype the sold-out crowd. As the song hit its conclusion, the venue lights dimmed and the stage was bathed in a sea of darkness, a "weird" voice begin speaking over the thunderous applause. The Florida-based metalcore giants wasted no time in launching into their set with the powerful "Relapse," setting the tone for the rest of the evening. The crowd erupted into a frenzy as they continued with hits like "Teeth" and "Low," delivering bone-crushing breakdowns and infectious melodies. The band's stage presence was undeniable, as they commanded the stage with unwavering energy and intensity.
Wage War's setlist was a well-crafted blend of their discography, pleasing both longtime fans and newcomers. The anthemic "Gravity" and the relentless "Indestructible" had the crowd chanting along, creating an unforgettable sense of unity. The band slowed things down with the emotionally charged "High Horse" and "Slow Burn," showcasing their ability to deliver poignant and introspective moments.
Wage War. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography
As the night progressed, Wage War's performance only intensified. The explosive tracks "The River" and "Stitch" incited a frenzy among the crowd, igniting a massive circle pit that engulfed the floor. The band closed their main set with "Circle the Drain," leaving the audience begging for even more. After a brief moment, Wage War returned to the stage for an encore that left everyone in awe. Stripping down their sound to an acoustic arrangement, they delivered their haunting rendition of "Johnny Cash," showcasing their versatility as musicians. They closed the night with the title track from their latest album, "Manic," leaving the crowd in a state of catharsis. The Manic Tour in Winnipeg was an extraordinary display of metalcore and rap metal prowess. AVOID, Zero 9:36, and Wage War all delivered standout performances that left the crowd sweaty, exhilarated, and begging for more. From the heart-pounding breakdowns to the infectious melodies, each band showcased their unique sound, cementing the night as a triumph for the genre. Fans left The Park Theatre with ringing ears and unforgettable memories, eagerly anticipating the next opportunity to experience the raw energy and sonic assault of all three bands.