By Adam Buhck
It’s not often new bands get the opportunity to support a signed act with more than 1 million fans, but that’s happening for three eastern Iowa hard-core bands.
Metalcore heavyweights Miss May I will kick off a nationwide tour at 5 p.m. Feb.16 at Blue Moose, 211 Iowa Ave. It will be supported by False Humans, Main State, and Doppelgänger.
Miss May I — Levi Benton (vocals), B.J. Stead (lead guitar), Justin Aufdemkampe (rhythm guitar), Ryan Neff (bass), and Jerod Boyd (drums) —started in 2007 in the guys’ hometown of Troy, Ohio, quickly proving a force to be reckoned with in the metalcore community, despite still attending high school at the time.
After an EP and a demo, the group released its first full-length album, *Apologies are for the Weak*, in 2009. The record got the group signed to punk/hard-core record label Rise Records and gave Miss May I its first shot at the big time.
Seven years and four full-length albums later, Miss May I is ready for yet another foray across North America in the Drop the Gloves tour alongside their friends and fellow metalcore act Blessthefall.
“We are very excited, not only for the tour, but just to hang out with our dudes in Blessthefall,” Benton said. “We have toured with them for years, and it is always a good time.”
Fans can expect to hear plenty of songs from Miss May I’s newest album, *Deathless*, fueled differently from their previous releases.
“A lot of the influence came from more modern metal found today, like Parkway Drive,” Benton said. “We really had a lot of frustration that we wanted to portray on this record, and we felt we should look to the more frustrated bands for inspiration.”
The band will be on tour through March, meaning a lot of time spent away from home and family, but the guys are more than up to the task.
“It can be hard at times, but we have been doing this since we were 17 and right out of high school,” Benton said. “It’s like we were born to do it, so it comes natural to us, and it feels like home being on the road.”
Opener False Humans, a metalcore five-piece with roots in both Chicago and Iowa City, comprises Nick Nessi (vocals), Logan Prosser (vocals), VJ Passarella (guitar), Zach Wanders (guitar), and Grey Mieczanikowski (bass).
After just a year, the band has a dedicated fan base in Iowa City. For many of the guys, the decision to get into music was one they made early in life.
“Music was instrumental in all of our lives growing up,” Prosser said. “Most of us started playing instruments during out early teen years, and it kind of just made us who were are. [Passarella] even went to college for music writing.”
Longtime fans of hard-core music, the False Humans guys cited the inclusive nature of the hard-core music scene as one of the reasons for their love of the genre.
“It’s a combination of the energy that the music portrays and the culture that the music has created that appeals to me,” Prosser said. “The way that it brings people together is not often seen in most music scenes.”
False Humans has an intense sound; its influences include the 1975, Hands Like Houses, and Darke Complex.
“Most of us are pretty excited to be playing with [Miss May I] as we were all at some point pretty into them growing up,” Prosser said. “It’s a cool opportunity to be playing with a band so big so early in our career together.”
Miss May I
When: 5 p.m. Feb. 16
Where: Blue Moose, 211 Iowa