RED @ The Canal Club
Updated: Feb 10
February 05, 2022
It’s been a long three years since my last show. And finally, I returned to the photo pit. I’ve seen Red a total of eight times and, every time, they leave their fans (new and old) wanting more. Saturday night was no different.
All members—from Michael Barnes (vocals), twins Anthony (guitars and backing vocals) and Randy (bass and backing vocals) Armstrong and their latest drummer, Brian Medeiros, as well as touring member, Lucio Rubino—brought a level of high energy needed during these challenging times.
It was a frigid night in Richmond. The crowd, warmed up in the comfort of the intimate Canal Club, buzzed excitement as they drew close to the small stage. Tall electric candles lit on the various surfaces surrounded the stage.
Soon, the venue lights dimmed, the only source of illumination belonging to the candles. The members of Red Nation bellowed their approval. One by one, each member emerged from the side stage. The last to appear was Michael in a black leather jacket and his majestic, God of War-like beard.
Red kicked off their acoustic set with “Death of Me” and “Fight Inside,” tracks from their sophomore album, Innocence & Instincts.I have never seen a Red acoustic show, so I was pleasantly surprised by the softer element of their usual kick-ass shows.
Between each song, the band (mostly Randy who is clearly the storyteller in the group) shared funny and incredibly moving anecdotes, of how they faced many challenges especially in the last two years. Yet they overcame them, stronger than ever.
And they showed that tenfold on Saturday night as they continued with songs from their third album, Faceless, such as “Lie to Me,” “Let it Burn,” and “Not Alone.” Note for the readers: This year marks 11 years since Until We Have Faces was released. Most of the night, they played songs from the record, considering this was pretty much an anniversary tour.
Red also played an outstanding cover of Fuel’s “Hemorrhage” and songs from their independently released record, Declaration, including “War We Made” and “Sever.” Keith Wallen—on tour with the band to promote his solo side project— made a special guest appearance on stage to perform “Sever” with Red.
After the heaviness of “Sever,” they slowed the set down with “Pieces.” Hearing it on acoustic gave me chills and brought a tear to my eye. The profound emotion in it cannot be further described in words. It must be seen live and in-person, not on a video posted on all social media platforms. That, I feel, takes away from the magic of the song.
When I heard Anthony play the familiar intro to “Feed the Machine,” I immediately wondered how it would sound on acoustic, especially Michael’s epic screams. It didn’t disappoint at all. I still rocked out to it and sang along to it, though hopefully no one heard how deaf-tone I really am… The titular track from Faceless was just as incredible.
Red went back a bit in time and played a couple of my personal favorite songs, “Already Over,” from their debut album, End of Silence, and “Buried Beneath.” From glimpsing their setlist on earlier that evening while scoping my surroundings, I knew they had two more songs left. I didn’t want the night to end. Yet they finished it, as always, on a strong note with “Best is Yet to Come,” and the song that put them out there, “Breathe.”
I can keep going with how amazing Red is live. But as I’ve said before (though in a different context), it cannot be further described in words. You can’t just see live videos of them online. You have to see them in-person. They are interactive with their fans, even on stage, and they release such a strong and palpable energy that will last for days until you see them next time.
They have several days left on their acoustic tour. I highly recommend buying a ticket (run, don’t walk) and seeing them. It’s a show you don’t want to miss.
Photo pass courtesy of SS Productions