Despite the chill in the air, fans lined up outside the newly built Emo’s East last Friday night to see if after all these years, Senses Fail still has it. Promoting the vinyl release of their latest album The Fire, Senses Fail’s headlining tour had support from Stick to Your Guns, Make Do and Mend and The Story So Far.
The show opened up with a surprisingly captivating performance from Thieves, a local Austin band. Thieves doesn’t just break the local-Austin-band stereotype; they shatter it. The band’s repertoire contains no cliché hipster tunes, no overdone synth and no pointless, airy jam sessions. Instead the band plays heavy pop-punk with an incredibly gifted guitarist and a singer who’s found the secret behind singing in a higher range without being annoying.
Following Thieves was pop punk outlet The Story So Far. Not nearly as alluring as the show opener, The Story So Far’s generic pop punk coupled with lead singer Parker Cannon’s harsh yell acted as a mere transition from one band to another. Although the music was catchy enough for the crowd to nod their heads along to, only during the band’s last song did the crowd get excited, opening up the pit and trying to fling each other on the stage.
Make Do and Mend took the stage next and delivered one of the best performances of the night. Although a rather new band – they released their debut album End Measured Mile about a year ago – the band knows how to play some damn good post-hardcore. They also know how to do another thing you see less and less these days: sound just like their album. On End Measured Mile, the guitars are heavy, yet tight and lead singer James Carroll’s scratchy voice sounds like he gurgles with cement before he sings, and when the band steps on stage, they are able to reproduce the exact same amazing sound.
Bringing the hardest sound of the night, Stick to Your Guns followed Make Do and Mend. For all the crowd’s jumping, moshing and all out rambunctiousness, Stick to Your Guns’ set was rather forgettable. They played their uncreative hardcore, complained about how hard life is in a touring band and got off the stage. Now I’m not one for fancy gimmicks or anything, but the band did basically nothing exciting or memorable.
After long last, Senses Fail took the stage. Considered by many to be one of the classic screamo bands, fans have pretty big expectations for Senses Fail. Lucky for everyone, the band did not disappoint. Opening with a recording of “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, the band ran on stage after about minute with pounding guitars, and immediately the crowd went crazy. The band paid respect to all fans, young and old, playing songs from just about every album – 2002’s From The Depth of Dreams to 2010’s The Fire.
The best part of Senses Fail’s show was that their sound seems to not have changed since they first appeared in the scene. It’s always sad to see older bands lose their touch or singers like The Used’s Bert McCracken retire their scream as they get older, which we will all dearly miss. But Senses Fail has stuck in there. They still run across the stage and jump and scream and sing as if no time as passed since From The Depth of Dreams, and for that I thank you.