Close Your Eyes return with killer show in Joliet

When Close Your Eyes announced the addition of new singer Sam Ryder and the release of their third record, Line in the Sand, fans became intrigued and anxious to hear the product of the band’s new look.

Ryder replaced longtime mainman Shane Raymond and adds a new sound to the band and it’s clear on Line in the Sand that the band has maintained their classic sound while adding a more melodic side to what they do.

To promote the recent release, the band is touring with City in the Sea, Altars and fellow Victory Records band and new comers Islander, who can be compared to a young Deftones or P.O.D. and the tour made a recent pit stop in Joliet, IL’s Mojoes for a night featuring great sets from all bands.

After Halfway Home kicked off the night with an opening set that got the crowd primed and ready for the rest of the night, Islander took the stage to really get the party started.

Expectations for Islander were high and they delivered on every level. With just an EP out right now, the set was short as expected but Islander packed as much energy into it as possible and blew anyone away who wasn’t familiar with their material.

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To see a new band owning the stage like Islander is rare and offers hope that rock, metal and punk aren’t dead and they may just be one of the bands of the future if they can deliver on their upcoming full-length.

After Islander wrapped things up, Altars took the stage to up the ante and got the crowd even more warmed up for headliners Close Your Eyes.

They took the stage with command and took control of the crowd from the beginning. The fans couldn’t help but get involved and their frontman spent half the set on the security barricade up close and personal with the fans.

Halfway through the set, somehow their singer cut his face open. It was hard to tell unless you looked at his hand and saw the blood covering his fingers. Did he stop? No, he finished the set and gave the fans what they came for, all the while wiping blood from his face.

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Following Altars were City in the Sea, who have had a year to remember. Earlier this year they opened Mayhem Festival up, which put them on the map for a lot of fans who may not have known who they were.

They put on one of the heaviest sets of the night as expected and did exactly what they needed to do as the band directly before the headliner and that’s making the crowd near-rabid mode for the headliner and they were ready to let what little energy they had left get let out during Close Your Eyes.

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CYE took the stage next, and early too, at a little before 9 p.m. and tore the place down- what was left of it anyway.

Anyone who saw CYE with Shane Raymond at the helm knows how extreme his stage presence was and how much energy he put into the show so it’s no surprise he had to step down. With new vocalist Sam Ryder, that high-octane stage energy is still there plus some.

Ryder spent virtually the whole set up close with the crowd and screaming into the mic with the fans. The band played mainly older material from the first two records as a lot of bands do right after releasing a new album.

“Digging Graves,” “Friends are Friends Forever,” “17:20” and “Song for the Broken” from We Will Overcome were played as well as “Valleys” from Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts, which saw one of the craziest crowd reactions and involvement of the night.

They followed “Valleys” with “The End” from Line in the Sand, which saw a fan in the pit get on his hands and knees while his friend ran and launched himself off the friend on the ground to fly to Ryder and scream into the mic.

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All in all this was a hardcore and punk show at its best and the new incarnation of Close Your Eyes may be the strongest and best yet, though that’s a hard thing to say as the early CYE was outstanding as well.

Ryder is a great replacement for Raymond and Close Your Eyes are just getting started.

-Reggie Edwards