There are good shows and bad shows. Shows you’ll remember the next day, and shows you’ll remember the next week. And then there are those shows that just make you say, “Wow.” The S.I. N. Tour, which rolled through Emo’s East last week, was one of those shows.
The first band of the night walked on stage to a confused and somewhat worried audience. Often times when an unsigned band that you’ve never heard of takes the stage, there’s only one thing going through your head: I hope this doesn’t suck. Fortunately, The Action Blast, who were a very late edition to the S.I.N. Tour, were not one of those bands. The Chicago-based band has an intriguing sound, mixing elements of hardcore with upbeat rock, heavy-hitting bass and gut wrenching screams. Even though only about one person in the crowd had heard of The Action Blast, the band was able to get the entire crowd pumped up and ready for the rest of the show.
Sparks the Rescue, the next band on the lineup, knows there’s a difference between just putting on a show and putting on a show that’s fun to watch. Throughout the entire show, lead singer Alex Roy danced around the stage, letting his songs take complete control of his body. His passion and connection to the music was obvious every time he dropped to his knees, ripped on his shirt or high kicked the air. But the best part of Sparks The Rescue’s set had to be the musicianship. Pop rock bands like Sparks the Rescue are typically known for their cute lyrics and even cuter hair swoops, but almost every Sparks The Rescue song had a smoking guitar solo, proving they’re a real band and not just a bunch pretty boys with guitars.
The show shifted to a whole new gear when Like Moths to Flames took the stage. Recently signed to Rise Records, the band plays straight up hardcore complete with your typical hardcore antics: syncopated head bangs that almost hit the floor, the spinning jump and crab stances. But that’s not to say the band was forgettable or boring. The band has mastered the art of hardcore, and their vocals and instrumentals sound just as good live as they do on their record. While they might not have the most original sound, their captivating performance made up for it.
Next up was Hit the Lights, taking the show far away from the previous grinding metal. The band plays poppy hardcore consisting of high ranged pop vocals accompanied by full, heavy guitars. This combination creates a sound that’s catchy yet edgy and leaves you unconsciously nodding your head along to the music. The band started their set out strong with tons of energy and excitement, jumping all over the stage and interacting a lot with the crowd. Unfortunately about halfway through the set, that excitement faded, and their songs all began to blend into one long, indistinguishable blur. Hit The Lights was able to save to show toward the end of their set, but the big lapse of excitement in the middle pretty much tainted their whole set.
At long last, headliners Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, or D.R.U.G.S., took the stage. I’ve heard the band puts on an amazing show, but it was nothing like I expected. The band transfixed the entire audience, and from the minute lead singer Craig Owens walked on stage, it was as if he was a puppet master and the crowd his puppets. When he said clap, the crowd slapped their hands together, high above their heads. When he said jump, the building almost shook from the power of the entire audience bouncing together. And when he said he was feeling a little under the weather and he needed the crowd to help him out, the roar of hundreds of voices shouting every word to every song was almost deafening.
Despite admitting he was a bit sick, Owens put on an amazing vocal performance. His screams were grizzly and fierce, and he effortlessly hit every high note. While the rest of the band added to the amazing performance, it was hard to focus on anything but Owens and his mesmerizing, born-for-the-stage performance.
D.R.U.G.S. has said in past interviews that they don’t like being referred to as a super band. However, their show proved that they deserve that classification and that Owens is one of the largest presences in the scene today.
D.R.U.G.S. performed at Emo’s in Austin, Texas on February 3, 2012.