jakub | March 25, 2024

Hatebreed Celebrates their 30th Anniversary Home State Show with a Festival at The Toyota Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Connecticut on March 17, 2023




The March Metal Matinee

On a windy March Day in Wallingford, Connecticut, Hatebreed hosted the first ever two-stage music festival at The Toyota Oakdale Theater. The festival was held to celebrate their Hatebreed’s 30th anniversary and was also being billed as The March Metal Matinee. I like the matinee part, as it was a Sunday afternoon, and I was able to be home by about 8:45 pm. That made for a much easier Monday morning than the usual festival that is over around midnight. The event featured Hatebreed as a headliner, and Shadows Fall as co-headliner. Opening up the show were a host of other metalcore and heavy metal bands from the Northeast. I arrived at the Toyota Oakdale Theater around 11:45 am in anticipation of doors opening at noon. There were about 105 people in line waiting to get in and doors opened on time. Prior to arriving, the tentative set times that I had found online said the first band was to start at 1:00 pm. It was good that I got there on time, because there had been a revision to the schedule, and the first band was now scheduled to start at 12:30 pm.


12:35 PM-12:55 PM Dome Stage

Demonscar was first to hit the stage in the dome area of the venue. For those of you unfamiliar with The Toyota Oakdale Theater, there is a really unique wooden dome where they host concerts for smaller shows. Then, in the back is the theater, is where the bigger bands play. This was the first time The Oakdale hosted a festival that utilized both stages, and the fans walked back and forth between the two areas. From what I could see, the transition from stage to stage went well. Demonscar started the event with their frills-free style of rock from New York. Bassist and singer Nick “Nza” Graystone donned the stage in a battle vest sporting patches such as Storm Troopers of Death (SOD), Twisted Sister, Kiss, Child’s Play(movie), Iron Maiden and many more. This three-piece band has been around since the 90’s and brings a thunderous heavy metal sound to the stage. Although initially the drums seemed muffled to me, they got it sounding better a few songs into the set. 


Demonscar is:

Nick “Nza” Graystone – Vocals, bass

Meds – Guitars, Vocals

Jarrad – Drums




1. Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds


3. Web of Deceit

4. Hand of Kings

5. The Coldest Hell

6. God of Thunder (Kiss cover)



1:10 PM-1:35 PM Dome Stage

Eyes of The Living, from Philadelphia, was next, and was allotted a 25-minute time slot. The fans were still filling in as they had begun to play. They made the drive to Connecticut from Pennsylvania to bring their modern thrash metal to some new fans. These musicians have been well established in the Philidelphia area since the early 90s but didn’t get together as Eyes of The Living until 2016.  They released their first concept album, War on Dead, in 2017. These guys graced the stage in black t-shirts and jeans. All donning a little less hair than in their younger days except Cliff Fritts, the drummer who still had long hair. Searing riffs and growling vocals kept the fans banging their heads and wanting more.


Eyes of The Living is:

Tim Swisher – Vocals, Guitar

Chris Moore – Bass, Backing vocals

Mike Straitin – Lead guitar

Cliff Fritts – Drums



2:00 PM-2:30 PM Dome Stage

Dead By Wednesday, a local favorite, brought their Connecticut brand of Hardcore Metal to the festival at 2:00 pm on the Dome stage. Right off the bat, I have to say that Dead By Wednesday was my favorite band to play the dome stage. These guys were on their game, both musically and with their stage presence. I’ve seen them 3 or 4 times and this was by far my favorite. Steve Alvarez hit the stage with his dreadlocks swinging. He utilizes the whole stage to command your attention while putting in 110% to his guttural vocals. Michael Modeste handles his 5-string Ernie Ball bass with authority. Christian “Opus” Lawrence is always a favorite amongst the local fans and is also the drummer for The Cro-Mags, David Ellefson, and much more. He is also known for putting on Opus’ Blizzard Bash at Toad’s Place which features DBW each year.


Dead By Wednesday is:

Christian “Opus” Lawrence – Drums

Michael Modeste – Bass

Dave Sharpe – Guitar

Steve Alvarez – Vocals



2:45 PM-3:15 PM Theater Stage

It was time for the fans to head into the theater for the first band to play the big stage, and Sworn Enemy, a metalcore band from Queens, New York was first up. This 5-piece metalcore band opened up the set with their self-titled song. The band had several name changes in their early days due to other bands having the same name. The band released their first full-length album with Jamey Jasta’s(singer for Hatebreed) Stillborn Records producing them. They have gone through a few sound changes over the years, from hardcore punk, to thrash metal and even some black metal influences. Although the band has only one original member, Sal Lococo, they have a great sound and connection on stage as the rest of the members have been with him for 10+ years. 


Sworn Enemy is:

Sal Lococo – Vocals

Jeff Cummings – Lead guitar

Matt Garzilli – Rhythm guitar

Mike Pucciarelli – Bass

Taykwuan Jackson – Drums




1. Sworn Enemy

2. As Real as It Gets

3. Prepare for Payback

4. We Hate



3:20 PM-3:50 PM Dome Stage

The fans soldiered back to the dome stage to be blown away by a 30-minute set from With Honor. They are a Connecticut straight-edge band formed in 2002 that also had their first album released by Stillborn Records and has opened for Hatebreed many times before. All the band members had a great stage presence, keeping the fans entertained throughout the show. The dome was really packed in at this point, but not sold out. These guys have a more hardcore-punk sound with less guttural vocals and more understandable lyrics than some of the bands that came before them on this lineup. I would rate these guys as my 4th favorite at the show. If they play locally, I will definitely go see them again. 


With Honor is:

Todd Mackey – Vocals

Jay Aust – Guitar

Jeff Aust – Guitar

Jack Caron – Bass

John Ross – Drums



3:55 PM-4:30 PM Theater Stage

Everyone moved back into the theater for 100 Demons.  This 5-piece metalcore from Waterbury, Connecticut hit the main stage at 3:55 pm performing to a 3/4 full theater. 100 Demons has been on the CT scene since 2000. Their second album, and self-titled release was produced by Zeuss, and the song “Repeat Process” received play on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. They played a 10-song set that really melted the ears off the fans. 


100 Demons is:

Pete Morcey – Vocals

Rich Rosa – Drums

Jeremy Braddock – Guitar

Rick Brayall – Guitar

Eric Barrett  – Bass




1. Suffer

2. Never Surrender Virtue (No Desit Virtus)

3. Destiny Never Came

4. Dying in My Own Arms

5. Repeat Process

6. Wake Up and Hate

7. Time Bomb

8. Infected

9. So Alone

10. Infected



4:35 PM-5:15 PM Dome Stage

Shadow of Intent is a deathcore band from CT and was the last band of the day to play on the dome stage. They formed in 2013 and their most recent album released in January of 2022, entitled Elegy. Ben Duerr was having the time of his life utilizing the entire stage while belting out growling vocals that shook you to the core. Although considered a deathcore band, I did pick out some melodic riffs during their set which I enjoyed.


Shadow of Intent is:

Ben Duerr – Lead vocals

Chris Wiseman – Guitar, backing vocals, programming, clean vocals

Andrew Monias – Bass, backing vocals

Bryce Butler – Drums




1. Gravesinger

2. Barren and Breathless Macrocosm

3. The Migrant

4. The Heretic Prevails

5. Blood in the Sands of Time



5:25 PM-6:25 PM Theater Stage

Shadows Fall is a metalcore formed in Boston in 1996 and with 7 studio albums under their belt, these guys are a force to be reckoned with. After a long break from 2014-2021, Shadows Fall returned to the scene in Massachusetts and began playing occasional shows throughout the Northeast, as well as some festivals. With Anthrax‘s Jonathan Donais slaying it on lead guitar, and Matt Bachand keeping a tight rhythm section. The first thing I noticed when they hit the stage was Brian Fair‘s floor-length dreadlocks swinging around wildly. The last time I got to photograph him was at The Tattoo the Earth Festival in Massachusetts playing with Overcast and as always, he never disappoints. After the third song, Brian told the fans to “Get a circle pit going, time to open up this fuckin’ pit”. As you can expect, the crowd didn’t have any problem getting it going. Before playing “Fleshold”, Brian once again shouted out to the crowd, “I don’t care what you do, but I don’t want to see anyone standing still!”. “Here’s to 30 more years. We’ll all be playing in a nursing home, fuck it!”.



Shadows Fall is:

Jonathan Donais – Lead guitar, backing vocals

Matt Bachand – Rhythm guitar, clean vocals

Paul Romanko – Bass

Brian Fair – Lead vocals

Jason Bittner – Drums




1. The Power of I and I

2. Thoughts Without Words

3. Of One Blood

4. My Demise

5. King of Nothing

6. Destroyer of Senses

7. Fire From The Sky

8. Enlightened By The Cold

9. Fleshold

10. Crushing Belial

11. Eternity Is Within

12. The Light That Blinds



6:55 PM-8:15 PM Theater Stage

Hatebreed always packs the house for a hometown show as they are based out of New Haven, Connecticut, and this 30th-anniversary festival was no exception. They also recently played 2 sold-out shows for the last 2 days at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie New York before it closed its doors for good. They played a kick-ass 23-song set beginning with “To the Threshold” off of the Supremacy album before heading right into “A Stroke of Red” off of their current release, Weight of The False Self. As a photographer, I was allotted 3 songs to capture my photos as usual, however, we were removed from the pit before the third song for our safety after an extraordinary amount of people were crowd-surfing their way into the pit. The fans were going wild, moshing and thrashing about! Everyone got a surprise when original members Dave Russo and Larry Dwyer got to join them on stage for a few songs. And then after that, long-time guitarist Sean Martin got to sit in for a few songs as well. They played songs spanning their eight album, thirty-year career, ending the night with “I Will Be Heard” off of 2002’s Perseverance album. 

The first March Metal Matinee was a huge success, featuring Hatebreed along with some of the Northeast’s best metal bands. The Toyota Oakdale Theater was a perfect place to host this awesome festival with a day of music, moshing, crowd-surfing, and meeting up with old friends. All of the bands brought their A-game to the stage and wowed the fans. It was cool to see Hatebreed bring up some familiar faces to play with them. Hopefully, they decide to make this a yearly event.

Two days after the festival, Hatebreed announced their 30th-anniversary North American headline tour, which will begin September 26 in Maine and ends October 27th in Virginia. There are also dates set for Europe in June.



Hatebreed is:

Jamey Jasta – Vocals
Frank Novinec – Guitar
Chris Beattie – Bass
Wayne Lozinak – Guitar
Matt Byrne – Drums




1. To the Threshold

2. A Stroke of Red

3. Empty Promises

4. Destroy Everything

5. Before Dishonor

6. Honor Never Dies

7. In Ashes They Shall Reap

8. Never Let It Die

9. As Diehard as They Come

10. Seven Enemies

11. Burial for The Living

12. Not One Truth (with original members Dave Russo on drums and Larry Dwyer on guitar

13. Under the Knife (with Dave and Larry)

14. Proven (with long time guitarist Sean Martin)

15. This is Now (with Sean)

16. Beholder of Justice (with Sean)

17. Tear it Down

18. Everyone Bleeds Now

19. Smash Your Enemies

20. Perseverance

21. Doomsayer

22. Looking down the Barrel of Today

23. I Will Be Heard







Follow Hatebreed

Follow Shadows Fall

Follow Shadow of Intent

Follow 100 Demons

Follow With Honor

Follow Sworn Enemy

Follow Dead By Wednesday

Follow Eyes of The Living

Follow Demonscar





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