Sometimes you just need a pick-me-up. For me, that pick-me-up came in the form of the Scream It Like You Mean It tour last week at Emo’s. Lately, I’ve been feeling bored, tired and unsatisfied with the hardcore scene, but this tour was exactly what I needed to remind me why I love this music.
Scream It Like You Mean It was made up of nine bands: Attack Attack!, We Came As Romans, Woe, Is Me, Abandon All Ships, Like Moths to Flames, Close To Home, Secrets, Glass Cloud and At The Skylines. Some bands absolutely blew me away, while other bands put on a show that I had forgotten about 20 minutes later. But what made this show so great was that it was fun. It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen an entire crowd respond so well to bands, but through all nine bands, everyone simultaneously jumped and screamed and pushed and shoved and enjoyed every minute of it.
One of the most shockingly enjoyable bands was Abandon All Ships. The band mixes technical metal with electronic breakdowns, creating a sort of cheesy metal, which isn’t improved by lyrics like, “We don’t give a fuck; we just came to party.” So even though it’s hard to take Abandon All Ships seriously, they put on a good show. Clean vocalist Martin Broda perfectly hit all his high notes; screamer Angelo Aita, who looks like a hardcore version Jersey Shore’s Pauly D, mustered up his deep growl. And everyone in the band tore up the stage, keeping the crowd pumped and entertained.
For Woe, Is Me, this tour is a chance to show the hardcore world they’re back and ready to keep going. The young band formed in 2009, and since then has lost five of the original seven members and one additional member, who was in the band for about three months. While Woe, Is Me will never be the same band that released their debut album, Number[s], the band is beginning to create a new identity. Unfortunately, the crowd at Emo’s didn’t get to completely see this new identity. The band played a set full of songs from the old Woe, Is Me, and even though they proved that they can sound good as a whole, fans who were hoping to hear something with the new Woe, Is Me signature on it, were left unsatisfied.
The last time We Came As Romans played Scream It Like You Mean It, it was 2010 and the show was held at the old Emo’s off Red River. WCAR was the second or third band on the bill at that show; they played around 6 p.m. and half the crowd hadn’t even showed up yet. Now, the band was playing second to last and putting on one of their best shows in Austin ever. While I’ve never seen a terrible performance from WCAR, it’s obvious how much their stage presence and their overall musical skill level have improved. Throughout their entire set, the band tore up the stage with every member running back and forth and keeping the crowd’s energy level up. The only downfall of WCAR’s set was clean vocalist Kyle Pavone as usual. Pavone has never been able to sing as well live as on the band’s albums, but he made up for it by paying the crowd extra attention and running and stage diving into the pit. His mic was also turned down a bit, but that may have been a coincidence.
Headliners Attack Attack! ended the night with a performance that was great musically and emotionally. When Attack Attack! released This Means War this year, it seemed like the band had finally found their sound. The album was deep and powerful and harder than any previous release. When lead singer Caleb Shomo performs these songs, you can feel the rawness and connection he has with these songs, and that’s what truly makes a good performance. Watching him sing songs like “The Revolution,” “The Betrayal” and “The Abduction” is like getting a peek into his mind and his life. But the most inspiring part of Attack Attack!’s set came right before the band played “The Wretched.” Most of the band went off stage, and Shomo began explaining how everyone has a purpose and that life may get hard but it’s no reason to give up. He admitted “The Wretched” was about a dark time in his life that he almost didn’t make through, and he encouraged the crowd to hold on because there is a light and things will get better. While some may have seen it as cheesy or fake, it was a great message to leave with fans of a genre that is known to be dark and negative.