I’ll admit it– a couple nights off in a row was nice. My apartment is relatively clean, my cats are relatively happy, and I feel relatively rested for once. I had to change that and had to get to a show. Thankfully, last night was not only a banger of a line-up, but it was one full of nostalgia and passion. It was truly exactly what I needed. What I didn’t need was the hour and seven minute drive it took me to go the four miles from my apartment to downtown but, hey, it’s winter in Minnesota and people up here just don’t know how to drive in snow yet (can you sense my sarcasm?).
Although I thought leaving forty minutes early would get me to the venue on time, a mixture of idiotic drivers and the venue kicking the night off earlier than the posted set times forced me to miss opening act The Plot In You. That being said, having seen these guys multiple times in the past, I can safely assume that they absolutely killed it with a non-stop flow of energy and aggression. My apologies to the band. I promise to catch you next time!
The next band to take the stage was Texas based Crown the Empire. Although they hit that whole emo/metalcore scene while I was on my way out of it, I had heard their name and new their old stuff. Having fallen out of the scene of skin tight black jeans and primal screaming mixed with shrieking fan girls, I honestly didn’t know that Crown the Empire was still around. It made me so happy to see that not only are they still around but that they have stuck true to their scene and still have a cult following. This powerful group has three albums out that date back to 2012 and one on the way. Although you can hear the progression in their sound, they definitely stay true to the sense of aggression and power that they have brought to stages around the world since day one. It may have been a couple of years since I caught them last but really nothing has changed. Vocalist Andrew Velasquez has such an intensity in his voice and it has always blown my mind that, when watching him, it appears that he’s not straining himself at all to hold those intense screams and growls. With two more bands left on the bill and an early curfew due to the show being 15+, Crown the Empire’s set seemed a bit short. You could feel that the crowd wanted so much more than what they were given but, at the same time, you could tell they were more than thankful for what they got. Although younger than the two bands to comes, these kids clearly have a sense of respect for the music and the scene. As the band left the stage, they told fans to come meet up with them at the merch table before the next band started. I loved the way they were sure to say that as soon as the next band starts, they will be gone and watching the show. I can not stress enough how happy that made me. Too many bands ignore the other acts on a bill just to try and sell some more merch and shake some more hands. Mad kudos to Crown the Empire for not being that band.
Dance Gavin Dance was next and I was instantly thrown into a world of nostalgia. DGD has always been one of those bands that, although I never obsessed over, would constantly throw into every playlist just for that touch of nostalgia. The way they had the two vocalists (one doing heaving growling type vocals and the other with a voice of an angel) was pretty state of the art of they started back in the mid 2000’s. They had something that other bands didn’t have and I instantly latched onto it. Screamer Jon Mess and clean vocalist Tilian Pearson took turns throughout their set captivating the crowd. When either one wasn’t commanding the crowd through the microphone, they were dancing in some of the most fun and entertaining ways (all dances seemed to be led by the hips in a very Napoleon Dynamite fashion). With eight albums out, DGD is one of those bands that truly hasn’t stopped doing what they’ve always done and although I may have fallen off the wagon a couple of times over the past few years, it’s comforting to know that they are still doing it and killing it. I could have stood there all night listening to the polished sound of their post-hardcore meets match rock meet screamo and everything in between but, alas, we still had another band to get through and time was of the essence. The members of DGD seemed truly humbled by the way the audience reacted to their set and the amount of people who sang along to every single word. I only hope and pray that they know the feeling is mutual and all of us “adults” that have been listening to them for years truly appreciate them being a constant in our ever-changing lives.
I will never forget the day I came home with my first Underoath shirt after seeing them at The Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines, Iowa. Their name was separated into three lines so, if you read it as lines you would get “Und” “Ero” “Ath”. To this day, whenever I see Underoath’s name, I can’t help but read it as “Und” “Ero” Ath” because that’s honestly what my dad and step-mom though the band name was after reading my shirt. All joking aside, Underoath is one of those bands that I loved back in the day but then kind of forgot about. Okay, maybe saying “forgot” wouldn’t be quite right but their 2004 album “They’re Only Chasing Safety” hit my at the exact right time and they could honestly never top it. Although I fell off the Underoath train a long time ago and have yet to check out their four albums they have released since their fateful 2004 album (and the three before that one that date back to 1999), there are some days where vocalist Spencer Chamberlain’s voice is exactly what I need to hear.
Although I knew I wasn’t going to hear absolutely every song off of “They’re Only Chasing Safety”, Underoath did a great job of packing the set full of as much off that album as they could. Having seen Underoath multiple times in the past, I thought I knew what I was going to get as far as their set list was concerned but when we hit the tenth song and I figured out we were only half way through, I found myself thoroughly impressed. Spencer had warned the audience after a couple of songs that he wasn’t going to talk much because the band wanted to get through as many songs as they could and that’s exactly what they did. You could easily differentiate the old songs from the new based on the amount of angst in each song but every track was clearly Underoath’s. Much like DGD, this band is one of those that, even if you fall off the wagon, their music isn’t going anywhere and neither is the band. They are there when you need them– the music is supposed to be.
After my couple of days off from shows, last night was exactly what I needed. A little bit of a nostalgia, a little bit of aggression, and a whole lot of passion.