With ‘68, Our Last Night, Hands Like Houses, Emarosa, and Chiodos
Date: May 11, 2012
Venue: El Corazon
City: Seattle, WA
Highlight: Hearing that signature quiver in Craig Owens voice again
Reviewed By: Desiree Mark
2:00 am: Arrived back at the resort from another night of sampling the Cancun nightlife
3:00 am: Woke up to the sound of 3 alarms and a wakeup call, with a side of ocean waves crashing outside my window
7:00 am: US Airways Flight 512 takes off
11:00am: Flight lands in Phoenix, TSA agents try taking my tequila
5:00pm: 2nd flight lands in Seattle, We have arrived (tequila intact)
6:00pm: Doors open
6:30pm: We arrive at El Corazon, sun burnt and smiling, Let the show begin!
This is one show we knew we wouldn’t want to miss any of the opening bands; you have to have some serious talent and star power to be on a bill like this.
‘68 was first up to prove the point. As the lights dimmed, at center stage stood a drumset and a lone guitar. The El Corazonscreamed to life as Josh Scogin (former vocalist of The Chariot, and Norma Jean) and Michael McClellan walked out of the darkness. The set was full of signature Chariot chaos, noteworthy instrumentals, and lots and lots of guttural noise. Between the two of them they were easily loud enough to match the six piece bands to follow (warranting them a threat to be shutdown the night before in Vancouver).
Our Last Night took over from there, proving a trend with tonight was vocal powerhouses. Although I have a slight difference in opinions with some of the melodies Trevor Wentworth choose, overall he is definitely a strong, young and rising vocalist to watch.
“Maybe just a little too much whine for me, which says something because I love wine. But let’s not be too hard on him, he is playing in direct comparison to some of the industries crème de la crème.”
Famous for their series of covers Our Last Night treated us to their latest, a cover of Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” which had nearly the entire sold out El Corazonsinging along. The band’s set was energetic, with a bit of an air of romance, especially apparent in the slowed down track “Sunrise” which set lighters ablaze; definitely a set highlight for me.
Next up was Hands Like Houses. If you haven’t heard them yet, you must. Simple. There’s a reason they’ve been tearing it up on tour opening for some of the scenes biggest names – they’ve earned it! Hailing from Canberra, Australia in true Aussie fashion they looked ever so laid back, casually rolling through intricate riffs and hitting highs that would force other bands into a state of deep concentration. The only problem I could possibly find with Hands like Houses set, was that it was too short. This band is ALWAYS on point, and despite some technical issues that they played past with ease, they still somehow managed to make their set sound not only album quality, but dare I say better? Judging by the energy of the room when the first notes to “Introduced Species” played out, it’s a safe bet to say that a large portion of the fans were actually there for Hands Like Houses.
Emarosa was next to grace the stage, with an answer to the question of the night: can new vocalist Bradley Walden live up? Answer, yes I believe he can. Bradley handled the delicate task of taking over as vocalist with poise and professionalism.
“Reaching out to ask the crowd, “Who here is an Emarosa fan?” Before replying, “Me too, I fucking love this band!” He seemed genuine, and grateful to the fans for allowing him the honors of fronting Emarosa.”
Early in the set Bradley seemed to let his nerves get the best of him, but as the crowd began to show their approval, he became more comfortable and let his true talent shine. Bradley put his own twist on many older tracks, making them very much his own, including, “A Toast To The Future Kids”, “Set It Off Like Napalm”, “We Are Life”, and more. Emarosa also gave us a taste of what’s to come with “Mad” the first release off their new album Versus, as well as another song that remains untitled. The crashing drums of Lukas Ladekjaer, and lead guitar of ER White were just what the crowd needed to open up the pit. Between Bradley hanging from a questionable pipe in the ceiling, and kids getting tossed like salad around the pit, it’s safe to say that Emarosa are back and we’re definitely ready for the exciting summer release of Versus.
With the whole crowd riled up from the works of Emarosa, it was time to bring on the main act. In true Chiodos style lead by a theatrical piano interlude, the tension in the crowd began to grow.
For me, it was a beautiful thing to see the band back intact with both original members Craig Owens, and Derrick Frost, it seemed as though not a moment had passed since 2009, the chemistry was immaculate despite having spent years apart. A hometown show for guitarist Thomas Erak (formerly of The Fall Of Troy) he seemed right at home, and I don’t think anything could have wiped that “I’m home” smile off his face. Seattle fans are the kind of fans that make you proud. I don’t know what it is about keyboardists, but they are always some of the most entertaining people in the band, Bradley Bell was no exception, so amusing to watch rocking out on stage, playing one handedly, while nonchalantly walking back to have a chat with the drummer, almost as though playing was actually an afterthought of hanging out with his pals on stage.
The band played a mix of Bone Palace Ballet classics, and new Devil favourites With a wave of crowd surfers stumbling on stage, due to absolutely no barricade or security out in front, the El Corazonalways feels intimate, like a smalltime local show. It also takes some getting used to, especially for the larger bands that aren’t used to being manhandled mid set. The venue was slowed down with “A Letter To Janelle”, as Trenton joined Craig back on stage, treating the crowd to a powerful duet from two very confident vocalists. The show was all across the genre from the poppy, catchy melodies of “3am”, to the romantic coos of “Under Your Halo”, to the downright ground-shaking of “Expensive Conversations In Cheap Hotels” -the only consistent was passion.
“Throughout the show we were curious to see if Craig’s vanity would tempt him to play songs from Illuminaudio to prove his rightful place in the band he was dropped from in 2009, or if he would rather write it off completely. Not a single track from Illuminaudio was played, which is ok because we all liked Bone Palace Ballet better anyways.”
The band walked off, leaving Craig standing alone center stage for a final word.
“ I want you to remember, CHIODOS IS BACK.”
(Followed by an encore of “Baby, You Wouldn’t Last A Minute On The Creek”, and a keyboard/vocal solo of “Intensity in Ten Cities”.)