On an eventful Saturday night in Cleveland, OH the Taking Back Sunday (TBS) tour presented by Coca-Cola made its next stop. Despite Lifehouse performing after the Cleveland Indians game against division rivals, Chicago White Sox and the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony/Drake concert all going on simultaneously, this concert still managed to sell out. Inside the venue there was a buzz going around about not only seeing TBS with its most notable lineup, but also performing with scene stalwarts Thursday. For those that were around listening to punk, hardcore, rock music in the early 2000s these two bands touring together is a dream come true. Despite being labeled trendy music when first coming up, both TBS and Thursday have managed to turn critics into supporters en route to becoming some of the most respected bands in their genre. Supporting the two bands were Colour Revolt and The New Regime. Both openers are friends with TBS and Thursday, so that is the main connection. The other connection is that both openers play a more polished and technical style of hard rock music that might be more in line with what members of the TBS and Thursday are interested in hearing on a nightly basis. It should be noted that The New Regime replaced We Are the In Crowd as first opener due to the later not being able to fulfill its obligations due to going over on their recording schedule.
With the New Regime opening the show to an already almost-filled venue, there was a certain excitement and buzz to get the show started. The New Regime played about 6 or 7 seven songs in their given time. Their style is best described as a modern take on classic/blues rock. Their songs were in 4-5 minute range mostly with a lot blues-inspired riffs and solos while still maintaining a modern sound. The crowd received them well overall. There were a decent amount of attendees singing the words to their songs as well. The sound for the band, both musically and vocally was top notch. Not only was the sound great, but the vocalist/lead guitarist had a prototypical rock and roll voice. His voice is really good and fits perfectly for the sound they are going for. After a welcome surprise first act, the Colour Revolt took the stage next. They plays a blend of experimental rock and indie. The band features quite a bit of dueling vocals from their two guitarists, Jesse Coppenbarger and Sean Kirkpatrick; with the former doing most of the vocals overall. The band features a loyal following within the underground scene. Those who listen know the songs and sing the words passionately. However, given the packed venue and lots of those attendees there for one or two reasons, the majority did not really know the songs that were being played. As a whole the band did not sound as good as the New Regime did. Playing a little longer than the New Regime, their set came to a close with an overall mixed reaction.
The anticipation and excitement was growing exponentially as the next two acts to perform were seminal groups in the music scene. Thursday and TBS have released some of the most important records within this particular type of music.TBS putting out Tell All Your Friends, Where You Want to Be (among others) and Thursday releasing Full Collapse and War All the Time respectively. For artists that wanted a call and response style of vocals, lyrics with lots of metaphors and honesty, and punk undertones TBS was a natural influence. For artists that wanted to mesh the beauty of rock with the dark and aggressive nature of punk/hardcore music, Thursday was and still is a good source to consult in that department. Not to mention the band offers some of the most personal and moving lyrics in music today.
Thursday took the stage about nine and started playing Fast to No End off their newest record, No Devolucion. The band then went into a classic setlist number in “For the Workforce Drowning.” “Counting 5-4-3-2-1” followed. During the last two songs the mosh pit opened up a bit and the majority of the crowd was singing along to every word. Another new song, “Sparks Against the Sun” was next and the vibe and intensity was noticeably different. While that is expected with the newer record being more in the vein of Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky, it was still a bit of change. The new songs were received well, but it was just a different Thursday experience. The band played other classic setlisters in “Understanding In A Car Crash,” “I Am The Killer,”and “Jet Black New Year.” The other three songs in their set, including the closer were all off the new record. No doubt this may have left some fans a bit disappointed; however, given the record was released in February in the midst of the Full Collapse 10-year anniversary tour, they have not really been able to share some of the new songs live. Only having ten songs changes the dynamic as well. The band touched on five of their seven releases, got some classics in the set, and managed to play some of the songs they wanted to play off the record. Given their situation it is hard to blame for the set they chose. They sounded great, both vocally and musically. The one real drawback was that keyboardist, Andrew Everding was not able to play due a family member’s wedding. Andrew was a major writer and driving force for the new record and it was just a shame he didn’t get to share those songs with his fans. All things considered Thursday brought their usual energy, intensity, passion, and gratitude to House of Blues Cleveland. Frontman, Geoff Rickly sounded really good and really has been a singing who has gotten better over the years.
As Thursday’s set came to an end the crowd began chanting T-B-S for several minutes. The crowd began to roar as the stage workers pulled down a curtain to reveal a large Taking Back Sunday banner decorated with the classic Route 152 and the line “Est. in 1999.” The chants resurfaced when the novelty wore off until the lights went down and the cheers returned with the TBS entering the stage. Guessing the opener wrong, the band opened with a new song called, “El Paso” that got the whole venue jumping around and singing. Mark O’ Connell was pounding away on the drums while John Nolan and Adam Lazarra were trading off vocals. The band played a set that featured songs from every release but New Again. Delivering everything fans could possibly ask for, the band performed every song, but two off their most popular record, Tell All Your Friends.
Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of the night was watching the band perform a rendition of the Straylight Run song, “Existentialism on Prom Night.” Another highlight was the overall stage presence of the band. John Nolan was performing with the passion fans have come to expect wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Vocalist Adam Lazarra, during the song, “This is All Now” made his way with the microphone and chord through the crowd to the back of the venue by the bar where he was singing with fans and eventually stood up on the bar to finish the song. Before the next song started he was offered a shot from the bartender before returning to the stage.
Overall, the band looked comfortable on stage, sounded great, and appeared to be truly happy. The band members were joking around between songs and smiling at one another during songs. The band appears to be in a good place with a record they love and being friends with everyone again. The band played for about two hours with 21 songs (two encore songs) in total. The fans were just as happy as the band and feeding off the band that they were treated with the two encore songs. The first song was a b-side song called, “Your Own Disaster” that was pretty much a duet between Nolan and Lazarra. The full band returned for the evening’s closer, “There’s No I In Team.” The set could not have been more suitable to the fans and the performance could not have been anymore spot on. Taking Back Sunday’s performance was a reminder of why going to concerts is so invigorating, but it was also living proof that time can heal plenty.