P.O.D. and others rock Piere’s stage

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Fort Wayne, Ind.- – Thursday, Sept. 24, 2021, Piere’s Entertainment Center, 5629 St. Joe Rd., was the site of some world-class face-melting thanks to P.O.D., All Good Things, and From Ashes to New (FATN). The show began at 7:30 p.m. with an engaging set by All Good Things. By the end of the night, it was clear that Piere’s was back, and metal with anthemic messages was not going anywhere.

All Good Things at Piere’s

For audiences unfamiliar with All Good Things, the alternative hard rock band from Los Angeles did not disappoint. The group formed in 2013, and their sound is sometimes described as “apocalyptic pump up rock.” The band’s songs often portray the plight of the downfallen and then amplify the victory that comes from enduring various trials.

The five-piece band kicked off their set with a song called “Kingdom.” The tune stirred the crowd that was pretty thick for a Thursday night. The audience was responsive to the hard-driving sound that managed to have a danceable groove mixed in among the nu-metal riffs that made the crowd scream for more.

Throughout their set, bright lights flashed like lightning. The band’s logo glowed orange at the upper back of the stage. The band itself brought with it an enthusiasm that was contagious. Their new album “A Hope in Hell” had been released the previous Sunday, and the band admitted they were still excited, as they should have been.

Dynamic lighting played an important role in the feel of all the sets, and All Good Things was no exception. All Good Things played songs like “Hold On,” and “Push Me Down.” Their heavy, rhythmic, face-melters turned out to be crowd-pleasers. Manic screaming was the crowd’s response to tales of conquering adversity and growing stronger as a result.

During “Lights Out” the drums shook the room like seismic anger and everyone in the crowd was there for it. Even as it felt as though their rib cages would break, the pounding was beautiful in a metal kind of way. However, the biggest surprise of the night was All Good Things’ cover of “Survivor” – – the original is by Destiny’s Child. Somehow, this version sounded authentic, thanks to a few tweaks of the lyrics, but a pleasant surprise just the same.

From Ashes to New (FATN) takes Piere’s stage

By 8:30, a quick change of sets brought From Ashes to New to the stage. At this point, audiences are getting the point that the sound at Piere’s is wonderful. For people in attendance who had heard concerts at Piere’s before, the new sound is a treat. Maybe it is technology; maybe not. Either way, the sound was clear. Every sung line, every bass and guitar riff, and each percussive nuance seemed to be curated for each person in the audience.

FATN is a four-piece band from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The group’s origins seem to date back only to 2018, making them a new band. Reportedly, the band’s membership has changed a few times, too. Still, the four guys who took the stage at Piere’s seemed a solid unit. The band is made of two vocalists – – a singer and a rapper; a guitarist, and a drummer. Just seeing the lineup could make an audience member nervous after experiencing the full-throttle sound of All Good Things. Would this band be the weak link of the evening? No. No one need to have worried.

Lights and heavy sound were key components of the FATN show. Pillars of smoke and vibrant light play added visual interest to the sonic onslaught. Crowd participation was key to enjoying the FATN set. The line “I was damaged by the storm,” was one that resonated with the crowd. The floor crowd was instructed to get low, as low to the floor as possible. Then, on the lead singer’s command, they were to jump. This filled the venue with a frenzied energy. Later in the set, the lead singer took up an acoustic guitar to add nuance to a song called, “Crazy.”

P.O.D. Celebrated 20 years of “Satellite” at Piere’s

Anyone who has listened to rock radio in Fort Wayne has heard popular songs from the group’s 2001 release, “Satellite.” Songs like “Youth of the Nation,” and “Boom” demonstrate the Los Angeles band’s contemporary development with genres like hip-hop and nu-metal. The band is considered a Christian metal band. And, indeed, toward the end of the set, lead singer Sonny Sandoval encouraged faith seekers to go directly to God to ask their questions. It was an important philosophic moment, but one that went over well with the audience. But that was toward the end.

Throughout their set, P.O.D. (Payable on Death) inspired people to sing along without any prompting from the band. Several songs featured a jagged-sounding guitar that was supplemented by an elastic and supple-feeling bass that helped to tie together the rap-oriented vocals and monster drumming helped to push the crowd over in terms of anticipation. Another crowd-favorite, “Youth of the Nation” was ushered in by a dark stage. The bass and drum interplay was nuanced and perfectly underscored the lyrics.

There was a musical interlude in which Sandoval prayed silently. What sounded like an organ (by way of synthesizer, perhaps) ushered in the sanctity of the moment. Then, after a couple minutes, it was back to rock as the band launched into “Satellite.” For all their hard-driving energy, POD also inspired introspection. Other song highlights of the night included “So Ridiculous,” a reggae-infused track, and “I’m So Sorry,” which sounds a little bit like Saliva and Disturbed combined in a slower-paced, but no less driven song.

Another fun aspect of the evening was when Sandoval encouraged the making of a mosh pit, but encouraged safety. The floor crowd was full of young men, some with long hair, seriously dancing and taking in the words that Sandoval sang. Young women held hands with their friends, their arms in the air, and looked at each other while singing along, making a memory of that moment when Sandoval sang the words (live) that meant so much to them.

This concert felt like exactly what Fort Wayne needed. Whether concertgoers were longtime fans or not, POD brought an aura and an energy with them that made people think everything was going to be okay, even if it had not been before. The bands who preceded them set the stage for the sound and feel of P.O.D. A memorable show overall.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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