Thursday, May 1, 2014

Concert Review: Taking Back Sunday, The Used, Tonight Alive, and Sleepwave

Author: Tori

We’ve seen several mega-tour announcements this year featuring established co-headlining acts with die-hard fandoms. One of the hottest tours of the spring showcased The Used and Taking Back Sunday; two bands whose fans range from young adolescents to nostalgic adults. As you can imagine, this created a passionate, unwavering amount of enthusiasm that everyone in the venue could sense. Whether attendees were new fans or long-time listeners, everyone united for the sold out show at the Orlando House of Blues.

The Used and Taking Back Sunday have major reputations to live up to. They are punk-rock veterans whose fans have followed them for over a decade. As you can imagine, their esteemed status in the music world created high hopes for show attendees. So, did they live up to these expectations? Absolutely. There wasn't a dull moment during this concert; which is an uncommon occurrence considering most shows I’ve attended have at least one dull act.

Sleepwave (ex-Underoath) started the night with a high-powered set. The name “Sleepwave” may be new to our ears, but the band members are no strangers to this music scene. Ex-Underoath vocalist Spencer Chamberlain remains one of the strongest front men around. The band hasn't released an album but despite that, their songs sounded like they could be rock radio hits. They will be widely recognized when their album hits stores this summer. Based on the songs we heard during the show, it will be one of the best releases of 2014.

Tonight Alive’s pop punk tunes instantly got the crowd jumping and singing. Lead vocalist, Jenna McDougall’s stage presence is effortless, yet flawless. Don't let her humble outfit of a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers fool you. There’s no doubt that Jenna is one of pop punk’s best female vocalists; joining the ranks of Hayley Williams, Sierra Kusterbeck, and Tay Jardine. She hit every jaw-dropping note with ease. Songs like “Bathwater” and “The Edge” showed off her powerful voice while the band’s talent shined through. Tonight Alive successfully pumped up the audience before the headlining acts.

The Used dazzled us before entering the stage with their flashy set-up. Two walls of broken televisions were reworked into spotlights and they glared from the stage. Flashing lights and screaming fans welcomed the band. They started their set with a fan-favorite from their new album Imaginary Enemy, called “Cry.” Soon after, they played nostalgic tracks like “The Bird and the Worm” and “Listening.” Bert McCracken’s witty personality won over the audience; he made us laugh, cheer, and scream with every clever remark. There was a sense of ease and expertise that only a renowned group such as The Used can display. Their high energy was contagious from start to finish.

Taking Back Sunday didn’t have a dramatic introduction, but fans were already in frenzy. Adam Lazarra peeked through the half-open curtain and the entire room suddenly roared with excitement. He showed off his signature dance moves, then swiftly transitioned to the first song: a track from their new album “Happiness Is...”. They didn’t forget to end their set with the classics like Cute Without The ‘E’ and MakeDamnSure. They poured every ounce of their energy into the show, leaving them sweat-soaked by the end. Just like their fellow headlining act, they exuded effortless confidence on stage that is only acquired through 14+ years of performing. 

This tour lineup was unquestionably a dream-come-true for thousands of punk music lovers. Thousands of fans came together for an unforgettable night to celebrate some of the scenes most influential bands. Concertgoers moshed, crowd surfed, let loose, and got rowdy throughout the four-hour event. It was a brilliant rock show and hands-down one of the best tour lineups of the year.

Check out our interview with Tonight Alive: