February 22, 2017 The End Is Here Tour Rattles San Francisco, CA 2-11-17
Rejoice, for the End Is Here! The tour, that is. Starring Falling In Reverse, Issues, Motionless In White, dangerkids, and Dead Girls Academy, this is a traveling cavalcade that is sure to offer maximum cymbal clangs for concertgoers’ money.
Initially announced back in late November of 2016, the month long trek launched on January 13th out in Tempe, Arizona before moving across the south, up the east coast, and back out west. Selling out venues left and right, when the tour rolled into The Warfield out in San Francisco, California on Saturday, February 11th, it was obvious that fans were going ga-ga for the end.
First up were the new band called Dead Girls Academy. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Dead Girls Academy are a Gothic Metal group led by Frontman Michael Orlando (aka Michael Vampire), who is best known as the leader of Vampires Everywhere. Deciding to make a fresh start, Vampire launched Dead Girls Academy in late 2016, months after dropping the stellar album Ritual under the Vampire Everywhere name. Building a name, while Dead Girls Academy does not currently have any albums or EPs out, they have a strong foundation of followers thanks to Michael Vampire’s existing cult-following.
When an automated message announced “Welcome to Dead Girls Academy” over the venue’s PA, a high-pitched scream of delight erupted from the crowd. Going well, the frenzy was maintained for the entirety of the set, and Vampire’s excellence as a frontman was made clear from the beginning. Connecting with his audience on themes such as being misunderstood and rejecting the norm, he kept his fans pumped; it was incredibly loud and very energizing.
Moving on, Vampire playfully announced that band member Grey Soto actually wanted to be a cannibal, which led to a confused lull for those unfamiliar with the group and their original songs, but was a perfect segue into the song “Cannibal.” All in all, Dead Girls Academy played five highly-energetic songs and created a strong momentum for the other acts. Still growing, with the talents of Michael Vampire and his new band, there is no telling where the band will end up in the next year.
Live-streaming their entire set on Facebook, from the get-go, it was clear that everyone in the band knew how to work the stage as they began with “Things Could Be Different.” Smyth was adept at leading the group and engaging the audience, while Bane’s screaming intensity got the crowd extremely hyped as they pumped out “We’re All In Danger,” “Paper Thin,” and “Hostage.” That in mind, anyone unfamiliar with the band were probably most surprised and impressed by their drummer, Cole. Throughout the set, she beat her drums so savagely, it looked like she was punishing them for some unspoken misconduct.
As they moved forward, Smyth was quick to get a circle pit going. Making further connections, they showed their sincerity by dedicating a song to anyone in the audience that had not heard of them before. Incredibly humble, they talked about being from Dayton and how incredibly lucky they felt to be out in San Francisco. Energetic and on point, by the time their set had come to a closeout with the hit single “Kill Everything,” dangerkids had definitely gained more than a few new fans.
Led by Chris Motionless, Guitarists Ryan Sitkowski and Ricky Horror, Bassist Devin “Ghost” Sola, as well as Drummer Vinny Mauro, even before the opposing figures took the stage the hype was palpable. There were many irregularly shaped black cloth covered objects strewn all over the platform which were soon uncover, revealing tons of red-eyed jack-o-lanterns, candles, and other spooky props.
Setting an eerie mood with their theatrical looking stage set up, they soon launched into their latest single, “570.” While lights lit the band, adding to the effect, they went into “A-M-E-R-I-C-A,” which saw a clown entering to spray the audience with a water gun. Joined by Michael Vampire for some guest vocals, the whole Gothic/Halloween/Nightmare Before Christmas atmosphere intensified as they followed up with “Everybody Sells Cocaine” and the clown began throwing candy out into the audience.
The merriment ended there though, as their next song, “Abigail,” had that same girl re-costumed as a young girl from a nunnery, ripping out pages of what was presumably the Bible and tossing them into the audience before proceeding to walk around the lead singer with a noose. Going into “Undead Ahead,” “Death March,” and “Devil’s Night,” a headless horsemen-esque, pumpkin-headed mascot terrorized the same girl from “Abigail,” putting on mini scenes of chase and violence. Then, Chris Motionless amped up the room even more, declaring the next song was a cover everyone would recognize, as they went into System of a Down’s “Chop Suey.”
Causing more of a stir on the floor, “Dead as Fuck” came before another new single, entitled “Eternally Yours,” and show closer “Reincarnate.” Keeping their set extremely entertaining, it was exciting to see that Motionless in White are growing as a band. They have always been stellar live performers, led by the dynamic vocals of Chris Motionless, but the additional props they offer each time out make it a Metal Horror show not to be missed.were ready to take over with their eclectic brand of Metal. Launched back in 2012 by Tyler Carter on clean and Rap vocals, Michael Bohn on unclean vocals, Adrian Rebollo on lead/rhythm guitar, Skyler Acord on bass, along with Josh Manuel on drums, Issues offer a unique mix of Hip Hop, R&B, and Rock. Growing expeditiously into their sound on their second album, 2016’s Headspace, many would agree it was a step in the right direction for the band.
Utilizing the pirate ship prop from Motionless In White’s set, Issues wasted no time to get the energy flowing with “Booty Intro” before going straight into “Blue Wall.” Amping up the audience, Carter counted off a death wall, resulting in everyone crashing into each other with brutal force before having everyone singing along to their big hit, “So Mad At Myself.” Keeping the adrenaline pumping, they offered “COMA” as well as “Yung & Dum,” while Acord showed off all of his sweet moves including jump-spins, jump-splits and jump-kicks.
Also playing “Princeton Avenue” and “Never Lose Your Flames,” Carter soon after paused to announce he smelt bacon, causing noses to lift into the air in search of a source. It was a sort of odd break that ended when they conspiratorially whispered to each other on stage and began to play a song, then quickly broke it off, teasing the audience that they would have to wait for a headlining tour to hear that one. Raising a ton of interest, they blasted into “Home Soon” as rumbling bass shook the entire house and created a heavier atmosphere, which increased with “Flojo.”
Back in full swing, they went into “The Realest” before “Disappear (Remember When),” where they had full audience participation for an incredibly bonding a capella at the very end of the song. Winding down, “Slow Me Down” got the audience to wave their hands back and forth, before Issues wrapped it all up with “Hooligans.” Accompanied by a dude in a parrot suit on top of the pirate ship, the music finally faded away with the audience chanting their “woh’s” and the kick drum giving off a heartbeat vibe. A stellar live show, now fans await an Issues headlining tour hopefully planned for the near future.Entertained by four vastly different bands, the end was near with headliners Falling in Reverse coming up. Formed back in 2008 under pretty crazy circumstances, the Escape the Fate Frontman Ronnie Radke started Falling in Reverse from prison. Upon his release in 2010, they began recording The Drug In Me Is You, an album that would top charts upon its release in 2011. Since then, it has been a steady rise to the top with 2013’s Fashionably Late and 2015’s Just Like You, supported by heavy touring. Now ready to make another big move, The End Is Here Tour acts as a prelude to the anticipated new album, Coming Home, due out April 7th via Epitaph Records.
With all the other stage decorations removed at this point, a giant LED screen was rolled out behind Ryan Seaman’s drum setup. From here, Guitarists Christian Thompson and Derek Jones, along with Bassist Zakk Sandler, joined on stage. Quickly after, Radke himself entered as they appropriately began their set with “Sink or Swim.” With a huge stage to fill up, they started to warm up their legs as they moved rapidly around, going into “God, If You Are Above…,” pairing in perfect irony with Jones’ shirt that read, “Fuck Westboro Baptist Church.”
Definitely one of their more interestingly diverse songs, “Rolling Stone” heavily featured Seaman on backing vocals, absolutely killing it, and a Rap section followed by a Dubstep breakdown. This was before fan participation continued on “Fashionably Late,” as fans of all ages sang along with the R-rated lyrics. Assisted by strong backing vocals, it was most apparent on “Chemical Prisoner,” where each member sang powerfully, raising the question, “Could this be Issues’ best lineup to date?”
Firing on all cylinders, they did not stop as they played “Game Over,” a cut introduced for the first time on this very tour. Coupled with Super Mario Bros. sound effects and references, it was a hit with the crowd. Following up with “Good Girls Bad Guys,” Thompson blazed a killer solo before they went into new track “Loser,” where Radke screamed really fast, before ending on a classier note. Taking advantage of this, he enticed the fans to put up their phones and wave them back and forth as the violin took the song out.
Late in the set, it seemed Radke was really beginning to trip as he shouted, “I’m insane, I can feel it in my bones” the anthemic lyrics from “I’m Not A Vampire,” which he had the audience singing along as they raised spirit fingers. The insanity kept up through “Good Girls Club,” as he tossed out a bunch of chip bags into the audience and shortly after ripping one open and pouring it into his own mouth. This was before “Raised By Wolves” saw a bra tossed onto the stage within seconds.
Continuing on, “The Westerner” came before “Coming Home,” where Radke broke out a nice old telecaster to play, which he, unfortunately, smashed at the end of the song. Switching out their equipment for “Alone,” every single thing from the drumsticks to the guitars and microphones were wired with green lasers. Pointing and shooting everywhere, it was a wild visual before Radke gave a shout out to all the bands before – plus a few bands that he made up, like Issues Academy and Dangerkids Academy.
At this point, there were only a couple of more songs left and the audience was more than ready for the finale. First up with “The Drug In Me Is You,” the title track of their first album, the song had everyone crowd-surfing, and, at one point, Radke put his microphone in a kid’s face for him to scream out the lyrics before security hauled him away. Lastly was “Just Like You,” where Radke put his middle fingers in the air toward the conclusion, stating, “I am an asshole, just like you,” to a sea of cheers.
A show filled with non-stop entertainment from start to finish, each band held their own. A tour like this may have never taken place a decade ago, but in modern day, thankfully music lovers are more objective in their tastes, thus resulting in diverse billings. While The End Is Here Tour is now over, each band has plenty more in store for fans through the rest of 2017, so revel in the new beginning!Photos by: Grayson Hurd Photography