Breaking Benjamin Rock British Shores
The 27th May marked a momentous occasion for the post grunge and alternative rockers who always appreciated this particular five piece from across the sea but had no financial backing to witness a live performance.
The wait however, had finally come to an end when Breaking Benjamin confirmed not only their first European headline tour but also their first ever show on British soil.
The evening’s preparations could not have been more perfect. The KOKO venue based in Camden Town, London held exactly what the band needed for their big welcome, including interesting surroundings, a building with character and a capacity to keep the show warmly intimate but retain the epic possibilities at the same time.
Each member made their way out in front of the men and women who had raised their voices the moment the lights began to fade away. Aaron Bruch greeting those pressed against the barriers with a smile while Shaun Foist raised his drumstick in the air, pointing to those residing in the rafters as they waved their hands down in delight.
Guitarists Keith Wallen and Jasen Rauch took to their respected sides as they plucked out the eerie opening of “So Cold”, with Benjamin Burnley striding out in big confident steps to take the microphone helm and punch-pluck his ocean blue LTD into action.
“This is not a Breaking Benjamin show, this is everyone’s show” proved to be one of many moving statements issued by the front man, as they gradually worked their way through an impressive eighteen tracks of material including “Angels Fall”, “Breath”, “I Will Not Bow” and “Firefly”.
Each musician shone in their own way, whether that was through Keith Wallen or Aaron Burch’s singing/playing capabilities, Jasen Rauch’s determined focus throughout the show, Shaun Foist living up to his nickname as ‘The Golden One’ or Ben himself establishing a close-neck bond between band and fan.
The one satisfying similarity that flowed through each of them however was that they did not seem to carry the pompous or uppity nature that supposedly follows well-renowned music figures. In point of fact, they made it apparent that their dominant personality trait seemed to be a healthy nerd element.
The presumption was rightly proven as Benjamin revealed a blood red light-saber mid-set which illuminated the blacked out stage (matching the violently rich colours of the KOKO interior), leading straight into a carefully concocted collection of bit-covers comprising of John Williams’s “Imperial March”, Tool’s “Schism”, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and ending on Pantera’s “Walk” that had Ben discarding his guitar to drum on additional floor tombs alongside Shaun.
“Give Me A Sign” also proved to be another highlight of the stellar performance as Mr Burnley asked in his sincerity, for the perspiring onlookers to take out their mobile phones as the technicians lowered the stage lights, and switch on their torches to illuminate the theatre.
The end result left the sold out room dumbstruck as to just how successful the little mechanism was in illuminating the vast room, leaving the lovable singer to inform everyone of how that bright beam personified “the light within all of us”.
Turning in on the cymbal showered drum kit, the Americans left people musing over whether the group realised exactly the level of love emanating in their direction from the many hungry eyes.
Their finale arrived with an unmissable appearance of arguably one of their most well-known tracks, “The Diary Of Jane”. A throng of voices rose high and low as the lyrics and guitar rhythms were sang and mimed until Mr Foist launched a drum beat down, parading Breaking Benjamin’s talent one last time before they clocked out of one monolithic shift, successfully rocking the British shores.