Come next year, lead guitarist Ryan Primack and drummer Chris Hornbrook will celebrate 20 years of Poison the Well. From the early days as a Miami hardcore punk band through a trendsetting evolution to metalcore before finally settling on and pioneering a melodic and more rock-oriented post-hardcore sound, PTW boasts a five-record-strong legacy and a relentless touring ethic that helped establish and nourish a devoted fan base across the world.
"It's been pretty awesome relearning old songs in preparation for these shows," Hornbrook says. "We've also broken out a few jams that we haven't played in a real long time. Those are a bit more exciting for me as it breathes fresh life into the set list." Last year, Hornbrook and Primack reunited with longtime vocalist Jeffrey Moreira and bassist Bradley Grace for a pair of reunion shows featuring Glasseater's Ariel Arro on rhythm guitar.
Something must have felt right because the band has embarked on a minitour this fall. So far, it's going much better than previous tours, like 2009's doomed schedule. That was a particularly tough year that found the band on a seemingly endless tour for their misunderstood album, The Tropic Rot. To top things off, the group's van was burglarized in a hotel lot in Detroit. In 2010, Poison the Well announced it was taking some time off.
Members branched out into different creative avenues, and PTW's hiatus began to look like it would go from indeterminate to permanent. Luckily, that didn't happen.
The band's upcoming August minitour, which kicks off August 8 in Orlando and closes out August 14 in Chicago, is sure to be a wild success.
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"The reception has been amazing, and all of the shows have sold out or have gotten really close to selling out," Hornbrook says proudly. "The excitement and anticipation was — and is — extremely palpable from my view. I'm just extremely grateful that people care enough to show up, interact, and have a good time."
They sure do. Even South Florida promoter Roger "SpeedFreek" Forbes jumped out of retirement and joined Breakeven Booking to help book the first of two South Florida dates. "They're really excited to come back home and play Churchill's,” Forbes says. “Poison the Well needs to be seen in an interactive environment." After Orlando, the band hits Miami on August 10 and Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room the next day, August 11. PTW will also perform in Atlanta and Chicago.
It's not set in stone whether more shows will occur in the future, though Hornbrook offers a sly form of reassurance. "I hope we can continue playing a few shows here and there. It's a nice breath of fresh air."
Poison the Well with House of Lightning and All Hell Breaks Loose. 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 10, at Churchill's Pub, 5501 NE Second Ave., Miami; 305-757-1800; churchillspub.com. Tickets cost $15 at the door or $16 via speedfreekevents.bigcartel.com.