I could give you some watered-down intro about my day leading up to the gig or my history with the band but let me spare you that bullshit and just say: I think Falling in Reverse are tight as fuck and they are one of the few bands that have survived on my iPod past my scene phase. For clarity, the word iPod is also used symbolically – I don’t even own one of those! So let’s dig in shall we to this three-course dinner.
The proceedings for the night began with melodic metalcore quintet, Drown This City. The band played really, really well for being quite young and had a lot of solid audacity to them. They all seemingly felt their own music, allowing the rhythms and the movement of the song to impact their own bodies.
It’s interesting because although their certain style is not something I would listen to, I really quite enjoyed it in the live setting. The mix of melodic metal with both standardised metalcore and electronics works in their favour as it feels not too foreign for the listener but also feels interesting to see where the songs will go next. I was really taken aback by one certain bridge where the song sounded like a good version of Limp Bizkit.
Which is hard to do considering that Limp Bizkit are the quite possibly worst fucking band to ever existed in all of human history.
Fuck. I hate Limp Bizkit.
Anyways! There’s easily a lot of energy and passion going into these songs and it really shows when Drown This City play live. So a tip-of-the-hat goes to out to Drown This City.
Now for The Brave. I’m going to keep this short and simple and honest: They were dizzyingly boring.
I was actually that bored and placid from their set, that ran through new album ‘Epoch‘, that I was feeling dizzy. I could use the same old tirade about how “I’ve heard this type of shit before” and that would be very true here. But the problem that I had with this band is not that they’re generic, it’s just that they aren’t very good or interesting at being generic.
See, they just seemingly lack any form of soul or passion in their music. It feels formulaic in the sense that that is all there is to it: a formula. Instead of using a formula to create their songs, they ARE the formula. This all translates to the live stage where everything is lacklustre and boring and plays out like a heavily scripted cash-grab film.
Let’s face it, the last real good metalcore band to exist was, of course, Woe Is, Me; and that is factual information.
Not twenty or so minutes and gone by after The Brave’s mediocre set that the lights dimmed and the crowd rushed forward, and the one and only Falling in Reverse stood before us all.
From the moment the band struck out their first note, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They took to the stage with the powerfully huge ‘God If You’re Above’ that had the whole crowd screaming our lungs out without any hesitation. The dynamic five-piece oozed with both ‘cool’ and ‘confidence’ as they strutted around on stage blasting through a set of fan favourites along with two early Escape the Fate songs (‘Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliche’ and ‘Situations’), which went off in the best way possible.
I think it’s a very telling sign of your band’s commanding power and strength when the crowd is responsive to ALL of your material, both past and present.
It was evident that this band’s fans have a huge admiration for their entire catalogue which was perfectly encapsulated as ‘Raised By Wolves’, one of the band’s debut tracks, was followed in short by newer and fresher ‘Sexy Drug’ with no loss in energy from the crowd. When frontman Ronnie Radke uttered the words “We’re back…” we all knew full well what was to come next: ‘Tragic Magic’. Hailing from their debut record, this song elicited a huge response from the crowd that involved sing-a-longs, bounces and even old-school 2008 mosh pits.
Now, if anyone out there knows me in real life then you know that I am a huge dick-stroker for pop music. Nothing gets my jimmies rustled like a massive pop chorus filled with five different hooks and harmonies that all amalgamate together into sheer musical bliss. Which is why tracks like ‘Bad Girls Club’ and ‘Fashionably Late’ stood out to me as the best of the bunch on the night. Their colossal choruses and sweltering hooks filled my heart with so much fucking joy that I’m at a loss for words, honestly.
Also, when that half-time chorus at the end of ‘Bad Girls Club’ that drummer Ryan Seaman teases all throughout the song hits, it was cathartically beautiful.
What I loved most about this band’s set is that, despite their estranged history, they’re really a “no-bullshit” band now. They smashed through song after song, only taking the time to sip water and catch a breath before launching into the next track. They let their music and their performance do the talking here and that brings me to my next point: Falling in Reverse are engaging as all Hell.
The thing that most deserves a tip-of-the-hat is Radke’s ability to endorse the weird and the wacky and take crowd engagement to a whole new level. Radke knows he’s the coolest guy in the room and thrives on that, as he dances about goofily on stage and asks us rhetorical questions during songs, such as in ‘Just Like You’. When the crowd screams “You don’t wanna be too close to me” Radke pretends to sob and cry and ask us “Why?! Why?!” to which we respond “’cause you might see my broken heart” that elicits a loud “Oh, fair enough!” from the singer before he launches into the monolithic chorus. This is what I fucking love about live shows; bands have the opportunity to engage you in a whole new way that you just can’t get at on the record.
One moment in particular that stood out was during ‘Guillotine IV’ when the double kicks pounded away ferociously, Radke mimed the use of a sub-machine gun with its recoil in perfect time with said double kicks. Now, this may all sound really cringy, but as a former drama student I could only look on in admiration of his miming skills. The “gun” had weight and presence in Radke’s hands as he “shot” us. Even when he was “reloading” it the gun still existed on the other hand. The first key to miming is that you must give the object its own space as if it actually exists and this motherfucker pulled that off. So if this whole Falling in Reverse business doesn’t pan out, Radke could easily have a future in street performances.
Look, love this band or hate them, you’d be lying to yourself if after seeing them perform live you weren’t impressed and somewhat blown away. They’re an enigmatic and engaging spectacle to watch as they burst and bloom across the stage with deliriously catchy hooks and intense breakdowns. As tight as Tupperware and just as strong, Falling in Reverse are a powerhouse live act and you’re wack as fuck if you don’t think so!
Photo credit: Jordan Tan.