Co-headlining its present tour with punk band Bayside, Senses Fail continues to go strong even as it has left the mainstream limelight.
Line up changes, recession and an independent label have brought the boys (lead singer Buddy Nielsen, guitarists Zach Roach and Garrett Zablocki, bassist Jason Black and drummer Dan Trapp) some issues throughout the last few years, but there was no giving up.
Guitarist Heath Saraceno’s exit was mended with Zach Roach filling the void, tight money has Nielsen driving the tour bus and independent label Vagrant is battling free downloads with a well-priced album under $10.
“The Fire,” Senses Fail’s latest album, was released late October with a tour directly following. New music, like the song “The Fire,” brought a hardcore ballad into the mix, giving this new album a possible comeback prospect.
Instead of playing it safe like the boys did with their third full-length album “Life Is Not A Waiting Room,” front man Buddy Nielsen said to The State Press that they tried to write “The Fire” based on old, daring music that caught the ear of listeners. New tracks begin to resemble the aggressive sound fans heard in 2006 with the album “Still Searching,” which contains possibly the band’s biggest hit, “Can’t Be Saved.”
Regardless of what Nielsen calls a “plateau” in the band’s popularity, it did not keep Mesa’s The Nile from supplying a packed venue. Throughout all four sets of the night, multiple mosh pits raged on. Audience members crowd surfed their way to the stage where many floating listeners found themselves standing with the performers.
The chaotic setting had security guards running on stage pulling off lingering fans. It was the essence of a hardcore show. There was sporadic lighting that kept the stage dark, bodies thrown around all in the name of music and a front man who refused to stay still.
Nielsen’s inked arms flew about as he jumped and kicked around the stage, letting his audience finish off some of the verses for him.
Even with the venue’s muggy and humid environment, the set was a breath of fresh air. Hardcore music is one of the few genres outside of the mainstream pop realm that create the god-like persona for the performers. Bands interact with their audience as the audience brings back a passionate devotion to the emotional music.
But between songs, Nielsen asked odd questions about jiu jitsu and if his lack of a girlfriend could be attributed to a sexually transmitted disease that he does not have. It was confusing commentary that brought little response from the crowd. The hype was all derived from the music.
While all four shows were well played and kept the audience continually hyped, it was evident that co-headliner Bayside was the band most of the audience came for. Front man of Bayside Anthony Raneri and his band were the first of the headliners to perform, and when their rock show came to a close, half the audience left with the band.
Hopefully Nielsen’s comments on performing for himself hold firm in moments like this.
The boys of Senses Fail wrapped up their show, announcing that this was it for the night: no encore.
Something so blatant would not stop the persistent crowd for chanting “one more song” repeatedly for ten minutes after the house lights came on.
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