It was a pretty good night, the Christian B-Team rolled through Denver and put on a pretty good show. Apparently Denver was held in high-regard according to a few of the bands, who had nothing but bad things to say about the previous tour stop, Salt Lake City, Utah. I don't know if it was the presence of the Mormon youth that ruined the night, or if SLC's scene-kids are bigger in number, and more annoying than most stops (because most stops have annoying scene-kids). i do know that SLC is to blame for stealing one of Oh Sleeper's guitars, therefore forcing the band to change their set list on the fly and sticking to old songs, so thats lame on the part of SLC.
but it was good for Denver.
This show was at Cervantes in downtown Denver, and the doors opened at 3p. I'd done my research and found out that the show usually didn't start for about an hour, and since Tahoe and I are old-dudes, we didn't want to stand around for 6 hours so we decided to go a little late. Unfortunately i wanted to see Corpus Christi who was the opener, but i had no desire to see the following handful of bands; Agraceful, A Plea For Purging, and For Today. So we left for the show around 430p, and just to get the timing perfect we drove all the way to the venue only to realize that Tahoe had forgotten his ticket, so we drove back to Lakewood, then back to the venue again! i think this was maybe divine intervention because as we strolled into the venue, the show was in-between bands, probably just after For Today and getting ready for Gwen Stacy. It's rare to get to a show and have the first band you see actually be a legit band, usually you have to sit through some crap first, but Gwen Stacy might have had the most energetic crowd of the whole night.
Gwen Stacy was really good. I think they only played 5 songs but that's alright. The crowd was very supportive and two separate circle-pits broke out. there was a surprisingly high number of "hardcore kids" doing ridiculous hardcore/scene dances that i thought were reserved for more angry/violent bands but i was wrong, and so was the Staff dude standing next to me. As kids were flailing around karate kicking the air i had to step in and actually protect the 6' security dude, i guess he had no idea what he was getting into. anyway, Gwen Stacy, solid, they played a short set that included The Fear In Your Eyes, If We Live Right We Can't Die Wrong, Gone Fishing, Path To Certainty, and the closer was Gun Held To the Head. great set!
I was thinking that the show had a pretty high standard to reach now, set by Gwen Stacy, and some of the bands delivered. Next up was Oh Sleeper which was probably the band i was most excited to see. They have a new album coming out in August called Son Of The Morning and i had been listening to the one released song, Son Of The Morning, which they had been playing on the tour. As they started their set you could tell instantly that the crowd wasn't as excited and lacked some energy. Despite that i got up front and sang along with the tunes, I Will Welcome the Reaping and Charlatan's Host. I had read that the band was playing 3 songs off the new record so i found it odd that they played I Will Welcome the Reaping, Charlatan's Host, and Building the Nations right off the bat, knowing that they would close with Vices Like Vipers. Micah, the singer, started talking about how good it was to be in Denver, and that they didn't have a good time in Salt Lake. Apparently they had a guitar stolen and for some reason, that meant that they couldn't play any new songs! what a bummer! Now i really don't like SLC! but they made up for by playing The Siren's Song which is my favorite Oh Sleeper song. These guys are pretty tight and the new drummer appeared to be pretty comfy switching up the set on a days notice, thankfully! Then they closed with Vices Like Vipers which everyone at the show knew the words to so it went off well.
Next up was Project86, the O.G.'s of metalcore/hardcore. I'd never seen these guys live, or heard one of their songs. They got really popular back when POD and No Innocent Victim were cool and i just never checked them out. Well they put on a pretty good show for being old dudes, and the crowd was really into them. I don't know their songs but i heard him say that they played Two Glass Eyes, some song about Ichabod, and the closer was Spy Hunter. good energy and crowd participation!
The Sleeping Giant was up. probably the most controversial band on the tour, and a holdover from last years tour. Sleeping Giant is sort of like Madball/First Blood/War of Ages feel, militant Christian hardcore. i say they were controversial because their music is lacking any real creativity and their message/lyrics are blatant and in your face. I know this rubs some people the wrong way, i didn't mind the message, but i did mind the boring sound, it all sounded like one long song. As they chugged through No One Leaves This Room Sick ("if your church isn't showing you the healing of the sick, they're not showing you the full Christ") and Blame It On The Holy Rollers it seemed that the crowd was really getting into the set. the played about 4 songs, and one message about Christ and then the most powerful moment of the night came. The lead singer basically gave his 5 minute testimony. Now i'm not the biggest fan of testimonies, nor do i like lead singers that preach from the stage, but as the singer got through the first minute of his testimony the whole place was dead-silent. i'm not joking, i just kept thinking that "wow, no one is talking to anyone else!". it was awesome. the testimony was powerful, and if there were non-believers there (doubtful but possible) then they couldn't deny the message that was spoken. That lead into Whoremonger, which is the song that accompanies the testimony
It's easy to stand there and be critical of Sleeping Giant, i felt like a Pharisee in the back of the room laughing as they shouted "Don't You Judge Me!!" and stomped their feet. But the band knows their identity, and they're not afraid to proclaim Christ as the Saviour. After Whoremonger they closed with a song of worship, Oh Praise Him. This lasted about 10 minutes and was pretty cool, the whole place was singing along while one-by-one band members set down their instruments and walked off the stage. i was impressed, it was pretty cool.
Up next was a big contrast; The Chariot. These guys could probably take credit for all of the scene dancing / craziness that happens at these shows. i was expecting chaos and i pretty much got it. You could say that The Chariot is more about experience than about the actual music, they used all kinds of lights on the stage that were pointed at the crowd, they all had their own drum to beat on, at one point christian hardcore legend Josh Scogin was swinging a garage light around like a lasso! Anyway, i'm not the biggest fan of the band, but their stage presence was awesome. i couldn't even tell you what songs they performed, i didn't recognize any of them except Daggers and Dead Policeman which they closed with. pretty good!
Last up was the headliner, Haste the Day, one of my favorite bands! I've seen them a few times and they're always good. unfortunately every time i've seen them the sound quality has been poor or too quiet, but last night they were plenty loud. Before the show i had read a rumor that Brennan, one of the last of 2 original members left in the band, had quit. Haste the Day has changed singers, writers, guitar players, and last Christmas their longtime drummer moved on. All that was left was an original guitar player and bass player, so the news that Brennan, the guitarist, had quit was disheartening. Haste picked up the guitarist from A Plea For Purging to fill in for the rest of the tour. Either way HTD played well, but their set list left some holes for sure. First off, Stephen the lead singer, picked up a guitar about halfway through the set and lead the band in Porcelain and An Adult Tree. the songs are good but Tahoe and I both concluded that they didn't add much to the show, especially at the sacrifice of such great songs like American Love and Resolve. They played the rest of the classics though; Walk On, Blue 42, Pressure the Hinges, Mad Man, 68, White Collar, and then closed with When Everything Falls. I had read that they were doing encores but apparently Denver wasn't loud enough so we didn't get one.
On a side note, for all of you stage-diver / crowd-walker / crowd-surfers; you can't jump off the stage when the crowd is only like 5-6 people deep. many people landed hard on the floor because the crowd wasn't compact enough, and it was full of girls and 14yr old boys that are about as strong as the girls. near the end of HTD's set anger was starting to set in with some of the crowd and a few fights broke out. i really don't get this, especially at a "Christian" show where the lyrics/songs have no anger or violence at all! some people should get a clue, especially that dude that i punched in the junk when he jumped on me.
good times. Shirts that i saw kids wearing:
"Mount and Do Me" (in the Mountain Dew logo)
"Oprah didn't die for your sins"
"Double-Pedal Jesus Metal"
"Drug Free For Christ"
"The View From Here" seriously, i saw a TVFH shirt...i was wearing it!
Haste the Day Pictures:
Sleeping Giant performing Oh Praise Him:
The Chariot performing with lead singer from A Plea For Purging: