The Acacia Strain – The Continent 10th Anniversary Tour – Winnipeg, MB

By Samuel Stevens

If you’ve been in the city of Winnipeg this spring and summer, it’s safe to say you seen the excessive amount of road construction being done all at once on our partially barren roads. Particularly why I’m going on with this concern is because the venue for the Continent 10th Anniversary Tour is located at 330 Garry Street. The road work on that stretch of Garry Street has made it very frustrating to make it to the entrance of The Garrick these past few months, but it wasn’t stopping many of Manitoba’s Metal community to figure out the maze of orange barricades on the street and come on down to see the touring line up of The Acacia Strain, Left Behind, I Am, and locals Witchtrip.

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Guitarist for Witchtrip. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

As I was walking into The Garrick, I realized this was the heaviest show I’ve been to in quite some time. I want to estimate approximately one or two years ago, so I wasn’t sure if I was ready for such heavy music from the first band, Witchtrip. Soon, Witchtrip made their way through the first song of the set, their sound quite similar to early Lamb of God, when the band used to be called Burn The Priest. The Winnipeg audience certainly looked warmed up by Witchtrip’s performance. Make sure to watch out for more from this up-and-coming band in Winnipeg and abroad.

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Bassist for I Am. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

The second band to the stage was the Death Metal band I Am, out of Dallas, Texas. The best way I can come to describe I Am, is what happens when you mix the sounds of Death Metal with a slightest amount of Pantera influence on the guitar which gives I Am their monstrous sound. The band is currently touring their 2017 released debut album, Life Through Torment. Their set primary featured songs off of the album. It’s safe to say that after the set I Am delivered to the Winnipeg audience if there weren’t any I Am fans in the venue that night, there may well be many now after leaving the show. There is no way I Am aren’t on their way to much bigger things in the Metal music scene, so make sure to watch for more from them in the future.

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Guitarist for Left Behind. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Following I Am on The Garrick stage was the West Virginian Sludge Metal band, Left Behind. The band is out touring their fall 2017 released album, Blessed by the Burn. The Winnipeg crowd was really into Left Behind’s performance. The crowd was going nuts with many circle pits and quite a bit of two-stepping. For those of you who may not know what two-stepping is, it’s the form of hardcore dancing called, “two-step”, that requires you to sway your legs back and forth and shift on the beat of the music. Similar to the “Skank” dance move that is notably done to Ska, Punk, and other genres of music.

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Matt Guglielmo, touring drummer of The Acacia Strain. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

The final act this night was no other than the Deathcore band from Chicopee, Massachusetts, The Acacia Strain. This was the first time The Acacia Strain have been back to town in two years when they demolished the Park Theatre stage with Dying Fetus, Jungle Rot, Black Crown Initiate, and Nylithia on the sixth Metal Alliance Tour in 2016. This year also marks 10 years of the release of the band’s album, Continent.

The Acacia Strain performed a 15 song, lengthy set and unlike most of the musicians out there touring their albums on anniversary album tours, The Acacia Strain only performed eight of the eleven songs off of, Continent instead of performing the album in its entirety. The Acacia Strain didn’t perform the songs, “Kraken” and “The Behemoth”, the later being an instrumental. This obviously meant The Acacia Strain were going to have time during their brutal and heavy set to get into the older tunes like, “Whoa! Shut It Down” and “4×4” off the band’s album, The Dead Walk. As well as many of the favorites and others for the fans like, “The Hills Have Eyes”, “Beast”, “Holy Walls of the Vatican”, “Send Help”, and the song “Bitter Pill”, off their most recent release, Gravebloom.

Overall, all four of the bands on the bill, Witchtrip, I Am, Left Behind, and The Acacia Strain rocked The Garrick’s stage all in their own rights. When I had the realization near the end of The Acacia Strain’s set that the show was nearly at its end, it came as such a big disappointment to me. Drawing a pretty sized crowd at The Garrick, I’m sure The Acacia Strain, Left Behind, and I Am will be back soon to play in front of a Winnipeg audience once again.

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Vincent Bennett, vocalist of The Acacia Strain. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

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