Underoath has returned with a vengeance. The band released the album “Erase Me” earlier in the year and is bringing a renewed excitement to its fans across the United States. Dance Gavin Dance, Crown The Empire, and The Plot In You provided support. Unfortunately a weather event pushed my commute time from twenty-five minutes to two-hours. I arrived just as The Plot In You was leaving the stage.
Crown The Empire, originally formed in Texas, was the first band I caught. They embrace the post-hardcore/metalcore sound and were led by singer Andrew Velasquez. Along with Velasquez, the band consisted of Brandon Hoover (guitar), Hayden Tree (bass), and Brent Taddie on drums. With three albums under their belt and new release on the way, there was plenty of material to choose from as they opened with “Zero”. I wished the set could have been longer as they sounded great. The highlight was hearing two new songs, which included “20/20” and “What I Am”. With only time to showcase seven songs the band hit with “Memories Of A Broken Heart”, “Hologram”, “The Fallout”, and closed with “Machines”.
Dance Gavin Dance hit the stage next to huge response. The band hails from California and featured two vocalists. The screamer was Jon Mess while Tilian Pearson handled the clean vocals. Andrew Michael Wells and Will Swan were on guitars while the rhythm section consisted of drummer Matt Mingus and bassist Tim Feerick. They have an extensive catalog that ranges between post-hardcore, screamo, experimental, and progressive genres. The band played ten songs that started with “Son Of Robot” that had people instantly singing along. “Midnight Crusade”,” Suspended In This Disaster”, and “Care” kept the focus on the 2018 release “Artificial Selection”. The band was tight and polished and it was clear they have some very passionate fans. This was my first time seeing DGD and the way they blended intense hardcore sections with melodic sections and then adding in math rock to the equation left me a tad off balance. They certainly have a unique twist to their sound. They wrapped up the night with “We Own The Night” and “Inspire The Liars”
Eight years have passed since we last heard new music from the headliner, Underoath. The band did a farewell tour in 2013 and later reformed in 2015. A new album and tour has put the spotlight back onto the metalcore giants that were at the forefront of the genre that opened up avenues for other bands to succeed.
The stage consisted of walls of screens with the drums positioned on the left and the keyboards on the right, both on risers. The light show that came off the stage throughout the night was spectacular. The screens and beams of light that shot off the stage came fast and furious which matched the intensity of the band and the people in the crowd. The opener, off the new album, “On My Teeth” kicked the set off with frenzy. It would be a balancing act between playing the new material while mixing in the essential songs of the catalog.
The band consisted of Aaron Gillespie (drums, clean vocals), Spencer Chamberlain (lead vocals), Christopher Dudley (keyboards), Timothy McTague (lead guitar), James Smith (rhythm and lead guitar), and Grand Brandell (bass). All were in fine form, as they sounded superb. Chamberlain controlled the stage while the rest of the band attacked the material that unleashed a sonic fury into the theater.
One of the surprises of the night was the cover of Nirvana’s “Heart -Shaped Box”. Gillespie and Chamberlain played together on acoustic guitars for most of the song. The rest of the band appeared towards the end and Gillespie returned to drums to finish the song in a fashion closer to its original form. The closing track was “Writing On The Wall” which was played with the same intensity and vigor that the show started with. For those of you, like me, that likes to keep score. It was a nineteen-song set, which included six from the album “Erase Me”, five from ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety”, four from “Lost In The Sound Of Separation”, two from “Define The Great Line”, one from “Disambiguation”. Add in the Nirvana cover and that’s an extensive show.
It was good night of music. Crown the Empire and Dance Gavin Dance were enjoyable and each were able to showcase what they are about. Underoath lived up to all my expectations. They attacked the stage with energy, performed the material perfectly, and kept the crowd engaged as they worked though the evening. The lightshow was on par with anything you would see in an arena and the fans appreciated every second of the show.