There couldn’t have been a more perfect Sunday night in Austin: perfect weather, a Dallas Cowboys victory and the return of Texas’ own alt-rockers Flyleaf. Not since ACL Fest 2008 has the Belton, Texas, band performed a show in the Live Music Capital, and that was a shorter festival set that only represented a fraction of the band’s catalog. Given the band’s Christian following and relatively successful musical career thus far, this Sunday night concert was long overdue.
|Story of the Year|
Before attendees got to experience the headliner, the St. Louis screamo band Story of The Year opened. We last saw Story last winter at Emo’s when they were on tour with scream kings Thursday. That made more sense given the similar genres. But seeing Story with Flyleaf, that was a surprise.
Not all of the audience was new for them, as the younger scene kids showed up bearing Story t-shirts ready to scream-sing along to every word. It was easy to see why their fans get excited to see them, as frontman Dan Marsala is quite the dynamic, outspoken leader of a band that’s fearless on stage. Back flips and swinging guitars is the norm. Still, even the most confused black-shirt-wearing Flyleaf fan paid attention during Story hits like “Until The Day I Die” and “Anthem of Our Dying Day,” punctuating the songs with polite applause and mild cheers.
Next, Flyleaf came out in true rock star form. Dawned in a black dress that looked like something from a Tim Burton movie, frontwoman Lacey Mosley sparked a wave of cheers and screams the minute she starting signing. While she may be the focal point on the records, she definitely shared the spotlight with bassist and metal beard extraordinaire Pat Seals.
The crowd really woke up after a couple songs, when Flyleaf began playing hits from their 2005 self-titled album. “Fully Alive” and “So Sick” were crowd-favorites until Mosley began singing their most popular song to date, “All Around Me,” which Mosley told the crowd was their song about Jesus. When they perform that song, it’s like a Sunday service, as the crowd raises their hands up to the sky as if they are feeling for something besides the wind. That’s the church-like reaction Flyleaf has always conjured from fans.
Contributing to the vibe is Mosley’s sermon-like interactions in between songs. She makes sure to share a positive message with fans without getting too overly preachy. Perhaps she learned what not to do from Creed. Mosley also made the audience aware of her single-mother upbringing and Texas roots. Naturally, that brought about big cheers.
The sermonizing would come across really annoying if the band weren’t so good live. They didn’t miss a note, but still didn’t sound too slick or polished. Flyleaf are one of the rare bands who can ride the fine line with secular rock fans and Christian rock listeners. Real songwriting, great vocals and an epic live show will certainly contribute to their future success. Even though they are touring to support their latest release, Memento Mori, it is their earlier self-titled release that the Stubb’s crowd loved so much. Their lone disappointment was the lack of an encore. Time and noise ordinances have everything to do with that, but it was disappointing nonetheless.
Flyleaf and Story of the Year performed at Stubb’s in Austin on Sept. 26.