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Avoiding head walks, lifting crowd surfers, screaming, losing my voice, getting my forehead cut open… I definitely had a great birthday!

The night started off fast and aggressive with Title Fight. This young band from Pennsylvania had the stage presence of a group with 10 years of touring experience. Fully playing off of the crowd’s energy, Title Fight was highly entertaining! Their music had the entire venue moving and yelling along. I’d been wanting to see them live for a while now, and they definitely didn’t disappoint. Be sure to catch them on tour this spring!

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Up next was the only band I was unfamiliar with, This Time Next Year. Their catchy pop-punk tunes were right on par with the night’s lineup. With fans out in full force, the atmosphere of the venue didn’t change. Bodies were still flying and voices were still on maximum volume. The band responded by jumping around and putting on a full show for everyone in attendance. Check them out on the trailing end of this summer’s Warped Tour.

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Strike Anywhere took the stage next. If you caught them on the Bridge 9 Tour late last year, you know how powerful this band is. Tonight’s performance was equally as energetic and passionate as the last time I saw them. I decided to step back for the rest of the night (my forehead was bleeding from an open cut) and get a wider view of their performance. Strike Anywhere takes full command of the stage, looming over the crowd to get right into the audience’s faces. Their thought-provoking lyrics and heavy rhythms really round out their performance. Strike Anywhere puts on an amazing show that should definitely not be missed. They’ll be headed overseas, so check out their myspace page to stay up to date on their touring schedule.

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Finally, the closers were set and ready to go. Four Year Strong came on to the sight of a fully packed venue. The bodies were smashed in from wall-to-wall but somehow (as it always does at Chain) a pit opened up spilling all the way to the snack bar in the back. From the first note sung to the last chord struck, everyone in the building was fully immersed in the show. An endless supply of kids jumping off of the stage and the collective sound of the crowd singing along made for a full on show. Four Year Strong obviously appreciated the crowd support by going all out on stage. The high energy in the building finally boiled up to the point where the crowd was packing up on stage. Amazingly, the band continued to play clearly without even being visible because of the number of people on stage. Needless to say it was one of the most entertaining shows I’ve been to. Their new album hits stores on March 9th, and be sure to check them out supporting Every Time I Die this spring.

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I love small venues like Chain Reaction. The audience is always a part of the show with no barrier to separate bands and fans. Everyone is there for a good time and it was great to celebrate my birthday with music I love and people I can smile with.  A big hello to all the people I ran into, it was great to see you all!