Breaking Benjamin – Emperor’s March

The dramatic entrance of the five-member Breaking Benjamin line-up exploded with geysers of smoke shooting up and red lights streaming across the stage. As soon as the first few guitar chords were underway the sold-out packed room cheered and shouted.  A raised platform held the massive drum kit of Shaun Foist, the bass boomed with Aaron Bruch’s power, and the three guitarists created a sound that could shake apathy right out of the walls.

The crowd is animated, jumping to their feet, bopping their heads, waving their arms, punching their rock-on fists into the air and loudly singing along or mouthing every word. The heavy rock guitars, driving bass, solid drumming and defined lead line licks support the affected vocals and occasional growls of the vocalists.

Ben Burnley, the original member and founder takes this audience on a nostalgic journey back to a vivid time in their lives as they re-live every song like it means everything to them once again.

Originally from Pennsylvania, the band has had a complete line-up change in recent years, but some say it has never sounded better.

The band features Keith Wallen and Aaron Bruch who also sing lead and backing vocals. Three electric guitarists playing in unison takes skill and creates the driving force behind the excitement of Breaking Benjamin’s songs. Jasen Rauch has an arsenal of effects he uses with his guitars to paint alternative, hard rock, post-grunge and even orchestral beauty sounds of strings and bells.

On stage the band works well together, walking across the stage and trading places at times. About the middle of the set they break into a tribute to comic books, sci-fi and the “dark side” by playing their version of the Emperor’s March from StarWars and some Nirvana.

The pace changes briefly to a slower anthem song leading up to the big finale as the fans holler when they hear the beginning of  “Never Again.” Burnley has them in the palm of his hand with this song, often stopping to hold out the microphone letting the audience totally carry the singing a cappella—without instruments and loudly too!

Ben tells the fans that the show is all about their support, their big presence and emphasizes how grateful he is.  He dedicates the last song “to our servicemen, firefighters and police” showing them his support as he breaks into another favorite “I Will Not Bow [I will not break].” Breaking good!

Alicia Previn / BackStage360

Breaking Benjamin at the House of Blues, San Diego, California April 23rd 2017

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