Last Night: The Cool Tour At Verizon Wireless Theater

As I Lay Dying, UnderOath, Between the Buried and Me, Bless the Fall Verizon Wireless Theater July 27, 2010

Tuesday night, Aftermath witnessed a few things we didn't expect to see: A lot of fans who were extremely drunk before the sun even set, the loneliest mosh pit ever (about 300 square feet occupied by two teenagers and one shirtless drunk) and, before headlining act As I Lay Dying took the stage, a man face-down in a pool of his own blood. Number three corresponded with number two.

Welcome to the Cool Tour 2010.

From the moment we walked into Verizon, at which point our ears were greeted with the sound of harmonies that weren't quite matching up (Bless the Fall), we anticipated a very long evening.

After Bless The Fall's set ended, Between The Buried And Me walked onto the stage to what sounded like the beginning of a space-shuttle liftoff. And if that's too vague, just know that it wasn't at all fitting with what followed: Throat-shredding vocals, bone-shaking bass and rapid riffs punctuated by high-speed drumming.

BTBAM's performance was lacking a stage presence, at least compared to the rest of the night's ensembles, but the lead singer's ability to scream while playing keys was impressive. We've talked to a few hardcore bands whose singers can only do that when crouching over. His microphone could have used a volume boost, but BTBAM blew BTF out of the water, even if their miscellaneous melodies caught us off guard.

BTBAM's transitions from song to song, hook to chorus, and jam sessions were strange but well-delivered. The instrumental hooks sounded like A Perfect Circle covering The Postal Service, a la Emotive's "Imagine." Coupled with the band's tendency to skip beats whenever possible and riff uncomfortably fast, it was almost too much to take in.

Twenty minutes was all every band got to perform, according to a fan standing in line, so Aftermath's arrival a little after 6 p.m. meant that we only showed up in time to catch Bless The Fall, BTBAM, UnderOath and As I Lay Dying. Seriously? It felt like that time 10 minutes late to dinner with our girlfriend's parents, who, by the time we got there, had finished half their meals as if to say, "Wolf it down to spite the boy."

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Outside, a couple of Jersey Shore-looking goth-rockers drunkenly punched each other in the stomach, then hugged it out. It would have been endearing had it not been merely 7:30 in the evening, a time when we wouldn't think a large majority of the crowd would be drunk.

Really guys, how bad could your days have been? But just as we thought this and began to walk back inside, we saw a woman lean over a trash can and vomit. That kind of thing will make you reconsider your drinking habits.

We don't mean to judge, but sometimes it's just hard not to.

As an odd choice of between-bands music, The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done" blared from the speakers. Aftermath began bobbing our head, but the rest of the crowd appeared restless.

What's difficult about this genre of music, besides the unintelligible lyrics, is vibing with the songs and their respective moods. The bands' live performances show off their ability to recreate what they've done on their albums, but to our ears, it all sounds pretty much the same, really.

As UnderOath performed "Writing On The Walls," its music video played on the screen above the stage. Our interpretation: Abusing children is wrong. Rawr! A lot of families are unhappy. Rawr! Sometimes kids are fucked up because of their parents' failings. Rawr! Parents just don't understand and oftentimes unwittingly box in their offspring. Rawr!

You're famous, damn it! What the hell are you still so angsty about? And then UnderOath told the crowd how happy Jesus had made them. We didn't even know what to feel at this point, but the crowd ate it up. If we were religious enough to scream about it at a concert, we probably wouldn't be raging drunk, but that's just us.

UnderOath is currently writing and recording new material, and promised fans a new album by the next time they visit Houston. Then the lead singer continued to blab, so his band began to just play, and he was left with no real choice other than to shut up and sing.

During the last song of UnderOath's set, someone who was moshing fell down hard. After he didn't move for a few moments, a few fans checked for a pulse then rushed to find EMS. When the paramedics showed, they had to push through the small crowd that had formed.

When the man in question's head was raised to be put in a neck brace, the right side of his face was completely bloodied, and the crowd took a collective gasp. It looked like he chipped more than a few teeth, but that didn't stop him from trying to fight off the paramedics.

As I Lay Dying, whose recently released album came out two and a half months ago, brought the fans into a frenzy that continued for the rest of the evening. By far, they were the most fun, animated and (from what we could tell) talented of the bands performing, and the crowd's response after every song only solidified our thoughts.

By the end of the night, although we had tried to keep an open mind, the majority of those in attendance with whom we interacted made us think even less of this type of music. As far as we're concerned, all types of music are respectable in their own right, but it's hard to get into these bands' live performance because of the attitude of the crowd.

Personal Bias: We just don't quite get this genre of music, and most of its fans don't represent it well.

The Crowd: Drunk, stupid and young, but only two of the three at a time. Overheard in the Crowd: "This is what we fucking came for!" (as an onlooker stared at a pool of blood)

Also Overheard: "I like going to indie concerts, because the boys are cuter."

Random Notebook Dump: We knew UnderOath was a "Christian band," but when they talked about it onstage, we didn't expect so many crowd members to cheer.

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