Underoath, Thursday, A Skylit Drive Warehouse Live January 20, 2011
Aftermath walked into Warehouse Live a little after 7:30 p.m. Thursday, thinking we would beat the crowd and be there in time to catch all four bands on the bill; we were wrong on both counts. Warehouse was already between 50 and 75 percent capacity, and the first act was nearly done with its set. From what we heard, Animals as Leaders put on a solid performance, and judging by the cheering that came from the crowd as Animals left the stage, the crowd liked them, too.
A Skylit Drive began touring with Underoath and Thursday last night and, although their set was challenged time and time again by technical difficulties, they were determined to have a good time and share that feeling with the crowd. Lead vocalist Michael Jagmin's microphone continued to feed back throughout the entirety of Skylit's first song, and when he motioned to the sound guys and tapped it, obviously indicating technical complications, backup vocalist/bassist's Brian White's mike was accidentally turned off.
During the second song, as it began to crescendo, one of the guitarists tried to jump onto a monitor and lean over the crowd but ended up on his backside. Ouch.
We covered Underoath's last visit to Houston too, and at the time we didn't quite understand the music or enjoy the band's performances. But Thursday night, Aftermath may have figured it out: it's less about the hitting the notes, playing the right chords or creating a melody; it's about a fast beat and raw, unfiltered emotion conveyed by the performers onstage and shared by those in attendance.
As Thursday took the stage, a dozen or so glow sticks were hurled onto the stage. We're not sure if it's a way for fans to show approval or distaste, but we are sure that the staff didn't appreciate it.
But it was as if it wasn't even happening, because frontman and vocalist Geoff Rickley swung his mike around and around as he and the rest of the band commanded the crowd for nearly an hour, setting the stage and hyping the crowd for Underoath's act.
We may finally understand what mothers mean when they reference the "devil's music." Positive message aside, all these bands make the controversial music of the '70s and '80s sound like lullabies for children. It may have been one of the most excited crowds we've ever seen, truth be told.
And rightfully so, because these guys know how to throw a concert and get fans to have a good time.
Underoath finally took the stage, and the crowd went wild... For the first three songs, at least. Their fourth, however, lost some gusto. It was a new one, and the crowd's enthusiasm seemed to dwindle. But they performed enough older material (and played the new songs well enough) to keep almost all the fans around for nearly the entire show.
To watch a band that's changed, progressed and grown (up) so much since its inception is interesting. It isn't necessarily good or bad, but it's fascinating. It's OK for bands to grow - hell, most people would encourage it - but fans are more likely to buy music that's tried and true, especially in a city such as Houston, which some would argue is wary to accept new music and musical trends.
The equation has two perspectives: That of the fans, and that of the entertainers. Both are valid, respectively. Songwriters', guitarists' and even drummers' influences change, and the music will reflect those changes and developments. But that opportunity was afforded to them by loyal fans, many of whom have supported them since before they were very popular. And don't those fans have a right to hear their favorite tunes?
Underoath managed to walk an extra-thin tightrope Thursday night, pleasing fledgling and seasoned fans alike, playing enough new music to sell a few albums while sprinkling the set with enough old songs to keep the longtime fans happy. Now wouldn't it be nice if every concert was like that? Maybe one day.
Personal Bias: Having not given them much of a fair chance to impress us last time around, we thought this concert might be a way for us to convince readers (and ourselves) that we can and will put personal biases aside to try to enjoy a concert. That was, after all, our New Year's resolution.
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Overheard in the Crowd:
Bro 1: "The best thing to do once you've done coke is fuck that hooker on your couch!!"
Bro 2: "Hooker in the house? Eww... Get a hotel, man."
Random Notebook Dump: Plenty of people were crowd surfing all night, and we watched every single one of them ride from the back of the crowd to the stage (assuming they made it that far, which not all of them did). One kid rode the wave of hands to the front, just like the rest of them, but as he reached the front and a staff member reached up to catch him, he rolled over the employee and plummeted nearly seven feet onto the concrete floor. Even more shocking was how quickly he got up and ran off like nothing happened. Damn kids and their adrenaline.