Fight or Flight take off in Pittsburgh

When fans first heard Fight or Flight would be touring in support of their stunning debut album, A Life By Design?, many hoped the band would come through their areas. Much to the delight of Pittsburgh fans, there was a show at the local Altar Bar club and the band didn’t disappoint.

The venue itself is an old church that has been converted into a concert hall. A fan-favorite in town, it has tons of charm including a 100-foot high domed ceiling with great mood lighting. Don’t be fooled by the high ceilings, though, the place is quite small and very intimate.

The evening started out strong, with a band from Johnstown, Penn. called Inside Out- a straight-up in your face hard rock band who are supporting their debut CD, Unbreakable and were by far the surprise of the evening. They tore mercilessly through a six-song set with titles like “Vampire’s Eyes,” “Sacrifice,” “Demons Inside” and “Giving Myself Away.” Inside Out put on one hell of a show, despite a rather lackluster crowd reaction.

Up next, was West Virginia-based Chaos Killed, another hard Rock act with a more progressive edge. They are supporting two six-track EPs: Blame It All on the Birds and Singularity. Their four-song set was a mix of songs from both and included the tracks “Regenesis,” “Rack & Ruin” and “Relic.”

Despite losing their bassist 20 minutes before the show to go get stitches from an injury he sustained moving the group’s equipment, the band managed to still put on a great show as a three-piece. Overcoming various other technical difficulties, their sound engineer was able to provide a nice mix and even without the bass the sound was remarkably full and they are another act to keep your eye on.

Following them was Flight or Flight tourmates Mindset Evolution and take the stage they did, owning every inch of it. The band formed in Peoria, Ill. in 2005 and is comprised of vocalist Rob Ulrich, guitarists Brad Prentice and Skyler Baer, bassist Josh Bodeen and drummer Joey Gibbz, who did a great job all night of providing killer backing vocals.

The band is out in support of their self titled debut EP and their 10 song set, was made up from tracks from it and their major label debut Brave, Bold and Broken, which is due to hit store on August 20.

Tracks like “Hopeless,” “We Are Stars” and “Scream” are all great commercial hard rock and couldn’t help but make you ask Why aren’t these guys bigger than thay are?  The band themselves are a bundle of energy with tons of stage presence and frontman Rob Ulrich has loads of charisma. The band plowed through track after track with gusto and only stopped long enough for Ulrich to thank everyone in the crowd for coming out in the pouring rain and having a drink on a Wednesday night.

“Invisible” has a great breakdown that had the crowd chanting Hey, Hey, Hey and finally bringing the house out of a comatose state that was reminiscent of if everyone was on Valium. They ended strong with the heaviest song of the set and left the stage with the crowd wanting more.

After a small intermission the band everyone came to see finally took the stage with a huge roar from the now awake audience. Fight or Flight is a killer new hard rock band consisting of guitarist Dan Donegan and drummer Mike Wengren of Disturbed fame and vocalist Dan Chandler of Evans Blue. The unit is rounded out by guitarist Jeremy Jayson and bassist Sean Corcoran.

The band hit the stage like a Mack Truck and ferociously ripped into “The Average,” “Eraser” and “Tragedy,” a few of the heaviest tracks on the new disc. Finally for the first time that night the floor was filled with fans. From there they slowed it down a bit with two semi acoustic numbers. “If It Hurts,” “Take A Shot” and “Emphatic” are a few of the more melodic tracks from A Life By Design? and brought the biggest crowd reaction of the night thus far. There is no doubt that Dan Chandler is one of the most charismatic frontmen in music today and his stage presence is undeniable.

Up next was an epic cover of Tool’s “Sober,” that put the crowd into a frenzy and even sent one very drunk, but extremely happy fan, climbing halfway up the barrier to let Chandler sing face-to-face with him.

Then the band slowed it back down for a couple more semi-acoustic numbers the band dedicated to all the soldiers in combat. Acoustic or not they still had a huge full sound due to the use of a string section.

The fans were then hit with the second of three cover songs- a song that was preceded by Chandler telling the fans if they didn’t get the deluxe edition of the album with the bonus tracks, they “Got Screwed,” leading into a monster cover of Judas Priest’s “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll,” which was much heavier than the classic original. They followed with the third cover of the night- “Man in the Box-” from Alice In Chains, which was also much heavier than the original and got one of the biggest reactions of the evening by far.

Most people would have ended on this strong note but they weren’t done just yet. The show was punctuated by “First of the Last,” the first song from A Life By Design? and the heaviest of the album, which saw Chandler leading the crowd in a group chant and was a perfect way to end the show.

The performance was flawless from start to finish and the sound engineer did a fantastic job. The band have come together so well it’s hard to believe they’ve been together for such a short period of time.

As a bonus to the fans, the night concluded, with the whole band come out into the crowd to have a few drinks and sign fan merchandise and they didn’t stop until every fan had a chance to shake their hands, have a chat and pose for any and all pictures- gentlemen indeed.

If you get a chance to catch this tour when it hits your town, don’t miss it. See them now, while you can enjoy them in a small club because if they continue to make new music, it won’t be long before they are playing arenas.

-Eric Hunker