Photos & Review: New Years Day Delivers 'Unbreakable' Rock at House of Blues Chicago

New Years Day performing at House of Blues Chicago on May 12, 2019.

“Thank you for supporting females in heavy rock and metal music. That’s really cool,” said New Years Day front woman Ash Costello mid-way through the group’s blistering House of Blues Chicago set on May 12.

Being the first of four bands – sets by From Ashes to New, Ice Nine Kills and Falling in Reverse followed – one may have expected a sparse crowd for the opening act performance, but fans posted up, sang their hearts out and rocked with unbridled intensity from the moment Costello and company kicked off their set with “Come For Me.” The song, which also commences the five-pieces’ brand new 2019 album Unbreakable, wasted no time overtaking the atmosphere with screeching guitars and heart-thumping rhythms. Costello’s cries of “no escape” served as an invitation for fans to lean in to the rock restraints and embrace the torrential sonic hurricane emerging on stage.

New Years Day performing at House of Blues Chicago on May 12, 2019.

The Unbreakable tracks highlighted the Warped Tour regulars‘ dexterity for blurring the line of where metal meets melody. As flashing strobes added visual madness to drummer James Renshaw’s unrelenting rhythmic assault, Costello sang fiercely haunting lyrics of love. Frankie Sil’s menacing bass also stood out during the new material most notably on the eerie and infectious “Shut Up.”

Throughout the set, the dueling guitars of Nikki Misery and Austin Ingerman pummeled the audience with sprawling riffs unleashed with manic precision. During “Defame Me” – the Malevolence rocker that closed out the performance – the pair joined forces for a bonafide shred fest, melting more than a face or two in the process.

Despite the spectacular talents of each New Years Day musician, it was hard to direct attention anywhere other than Costello. Her intoxicating vocals – complimented by sexy snarls and intermittent headbanging – cut through the frenzied hits, riffs and solos to lead listeners on a trail riddled with battle-worn heartbreak and personal perseverance.

Before thrashing through their rendition of “F*cking Hostile,” Costello invited everyone in the House of Blues to descend on the general admission floor to ride the big waves of a New Years Day crowd-surfing session. Fans flooded the area eager to accept the challenge.

“Everybody make some f*cking noise,” Costello screamed noting that the crowd response for the song gets “better and better” at every stop on the tour.

Noticing that security wasn’t quite prepared for the stream of bodies that was about to pour over the front row rail, Costello asked some of the stronger members of the audience to lend a helping hand and save surfers from what could be a rough landing. With safety measures now in place, the band belted out the Pantera classic as countless fans rode the current of the crowd to the front of the stage.

All the while, Costello smiled, handed out high-fives and helped concert-going daredevils land their dismount.

New Years Day performing at House of Blues Chicago on May 12, 2019.

“Who’s gonna come back and see us again,” she asked as the show neared its end.

A deafening round of cheers gave Costello her answer.

After wrapping up this run of shows with Falling in Reverse at the end of May, New Years Day will be venturing out on a headlining tour in support of Unbreakable this June. Keep up with New Years Day on Facebook and a full list of upcoming tour dates can be found at Nydrock.com.

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Laurie Fanelli is a Chicago-based writer and photographer who specializes in live entertainment coverage. She is at home at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and, of course, Lollapalooza and Riot Fest. She loves chatting with hilarious comedians and has interviewed the likes of Maria Bamford, Paula Poundstone and Tracy Morgan, to name a few. She has photographed tons of great bands/musicians – from every genre – including Rob Zombie, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, Neil Young, Shania Twain, Pitbull, Pierce the Veil, Kendrick Lamar, Patti Smith and many, many more. When not writing or shooting shows, Laurie loves to spend her free time training for marathons and exploring the city of Chicago. She is a longtime vegetarian and animal advocate who likes to cook healthy, delicious meals that everyone can enjoy. For more information or to contact Laurie, head over to www.lauriefanelli.com.