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On May 17th, 2005, System of a Down unleashed their fourth album, Mezmerize, onto the world. The sister record to their other 2005 LP, Hypnotize, is largely considered one of the best in their catalog, and it's also the record that even non-fans may recognize thanks to its lead single and eventual rock radio staple, "B.Y.O.B." — which they fucking nailed the first time they ever played it live.
Originally released on March 28th of that year, the iconically sassy protest song would go on to become the band's highest-charting single to date (peaking at No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100) and also score a 2006 Grammy win for Best Hard Rock Performance. The recorded version is impeccable, but the song's tricky vocal parts and demanding energy have made it a tough one for the band to consistently pull off live.
Oddly enough, one of — if not the — best "B.Y.O.B." performances SOAD ever gave was when they debuted the song on April 4th, 2005 at London's Astoria Theatre. Thankfully captured with a professional recording setup, this ferocious play-through features vocalists Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian at the top of their games, while bassist Shavo Odadjian and drummer John Dolmayan handle the song's erratic rhythmic switch-ups with the utmost precision.
As longtime listeners of "B.Y.O.B." will know, the song's catchy chorus requires perfect harmonic synchronicity between Tankian and Malakian, the latter of whom is also tasked with holding down its twisted guitar licks at the same time. In this performance of "B.Y.O.B.," the two singers stick the landing for every hook, and then explode with glass-shattering intensity during their respective scream sections — which also require perfect pitch.
The whole band is just on during this set, and it's an absolute joy to witness them tear through "B.Y.O.B." in a way that still sounds fresh and invigorating to this day. Check out the performance above via YouTube.