Pierce The Veil & Sum 41 Blast Into New Jersey 5-10-17 w/ Emarosa & Chapel

Every die-hard concertgoer always wants to be the first person to enter the venue, so they can pick the perfect spot in which to watch some of their favorite bands perform. Some fans line up a few minutes before the show, some a few hours, but for quite a few fans that attended Pierce the Veil’s We Will Detonate! Tour on Wednesday, May 10th, at Starland Ballroom, showing up at 5 AM to snag that first spot in line was no big deal.

As the line grew longer and the doors were still not open, anticipation grew greater and greater for this night to start. Ever since being announced in March, this tour headlined by Pierce the Veil – featuring openers Chapel, Emarosa, and Sum 41 – has been highly anticipated by fans. The We Will Detonate! Tour kicked off on April 21st in Colorado and has since been rolling through the U.S., and is set to conclude on May 26th in Oklahoma. Playing in 19 states and 25 separate venues, the tour is giving thousands of fans a night to remember, and on a normally quiet Wednesday night, Sayreville, New Jersey were next on the agenda. 

The first band to the stage would be Indie Pop duo Chapel. Hailing from Athens, Georgia, the pair’s Facebook boasts that they “write music our parents like.” Chapel – Carter Hardin and Kortney Grinwis – performed a highly abbreviated set that was, in fact, parental-unit approved with original tracks like “Fool’s Gold” and “Caught Up.” Have not heard Chapel yet? Check out their debut album, The Gathering, a live album released back on November 4, 2016. 

Next up was the Kentucky-based band Emarosa. Comprised of founding members ER White (Lead Guitar) and Jordan Stewart (Keyboards) – along with newest band members Marcellus Wallace (Rhythm Guitar) and Bradley Walden (Vocals), as well as a rotating selection of touring musicians on bass and drums – Emarosa are currently on tour in support of their 2016 Hopeless Records’ release 131. A vibrant live band with a vocalist (Walden, that is) who is known for spending the majority of their gigs anywhere but on-stage with his band-mates, fans were curious to see where the evening would take Walden and co.

The band’s setlist was taken in large part from their newest release 131, and this is exactly how they kicked off their evening. As soon as the very first notes of “Sure” began to play, Walden was off the stage, into the crowd, and the Starland crowd quickly learned that this was where he intended to spend his night! As he walked the barricades displaying his impressive vocal skills, the crowd were quick to give their own vocals right back. Walden took to crowd-surfing for “Hurt,” reminding the crowd that this was what they had signed up for and seeking out the perfect shoulders to ride to the middle of the assembled audience. They followed this with “Helpless,” “Young Lonely,” and “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play.” The latter brang White out into the crowd – playing guitar from a fan’s shoulders – to prove that Walden is not the only member of Emarosa with a thirst for being up-close and personal with the band’s fans.

Walden and co. showed their impressive skills as they performed “Blue” and “One Car Garage,” working their way into set finale, “Cloud 9.” The band’s last song provided a final chance to work the barricades for the band, while Walden made it known that fans should come hang out with the band at their merch table after their performance. Those who have never heard of Emarosa, seen them live, or passed their merch table at Warped Tour, are missing out on not just some truly amazing music, but a live show that will have them talking for days! Make sure to check out their latest album, 131, out now from Hopeless Records.

Pop Punk legends Sum 41 would be the next band to the stage. Formed in Ontario, Canada in 1996, Sum 41 have been a force to reckon in the music industry for over 20 years. Making their way to the stage would be Vocalist Deryck Whibley, Guitarist Dave Baksh, Bassist Jason McCaslin, Drummer Frank Zummo, and Keyboardist Tom Thacker, who are out on the tour in support of their most recent, sixth studio release, 2016’s 13 Voices on Hopeless Records.

Sum 41 launched onto the stage full-force with “The Hell Song” and kept the party going with “Over My Head (Better Off Dead),” “Fake My Own Death,” and “Goddamn I’m Dead Again.” Somewhat surprisingly, there was a large, very young contingent of the audience who were clearly very big Sum 41 fans! The crowd went wild for these Canadians, singing loudly and with no shortage of raucous crowd-surfing. As their set began to take shape, Whibley stepped up to the mic to introduce his bandmates and welcome everyone to the show.

As the band moved into “Motivation,” giant red and white balls were flung into the crowd to keep the party going strong.  Whibley inquired if there were any old-school Sum 41 fans in the house and the crowd went wild. Whibley then introduced the crowd to Mr. Dave “Brownsound” Baksh and called him the best guitar player in the world, explaining that Baksh can literally play anything and invited Dave to introduce the crowd to some Metal. Baksh responded with some Slayer sonics before segueing into “Metal Mayhem” and “We’re All To Blame.”

Whibley thanked everyone for coming out to see them and joked with the crowd that the band’s next song, “Walking Disaster,” was dedicated to their parents. He further urged the audience to hold up their cellphones and illuminate the venue, creating a surreal, night sky effect full of a sea of stars. The band chose to end their set with their three most iconic tracks – “Still Waiting,” “In Too Deep,” and the Pop Punk classic, “Fat Lip” – finishing off their performance with their most beloved offerings. The crowd went wild from the very first seconds of “Still Waiting,” singing their hearts out and crowd-surfing with exceptional glee until the very last chords of the “Fat Lip” finale. Even after all of these years, Sum 41 still put on one of the very best shows within the Pop Punk genre; their musicianship is exceptional and the energy they bring to the stage is off-the-charts. Do not miss out on seeing this band!

With Sum 41’s stellar set over, the denouement of the evening had arrived. Pierce the Veil – Vic Fuentes (Vocals), Tony Perry (Guitar), Jaime Preciado (Bass), and Mike Fuentes (Drums) – hail from San Diego, CA where they were formed in 2006 by the Fuentes Brothers. Headlining the We Will Detonate! Tour, Pierce the Veil are supporting their most recent release, 2016’s Misadventures, and celebrating just over a decade on the scene.

As the fans began to pace anxiously, awaiting the evening’s denouement, a white sheet emblazoned with “Pierce the Veil” dropped down in front of the stage. The crowd erupted into cheers and the excitement throughout Starland became palpable.  As the lights dimmed and the curtain dropped, a man in a demon mask raced onto the stage and pushed down feverishly on a giant TNT box that was placed front and center. The lights went up and Pierce the Veil took to the stage to the sounds of “Texas Is Forever,” with streamers erupting into the audience. The crowd sang-along to every lyric, with Vocalist Fuentes meeting them at every turn. “Bulls in the Bronx” and “A Match Into Water” kept the set rolling with more than ample crowd-surfing.

Fuentes welcomed the crowd to the We Will Detonate! Tour and promised everyone a good night, launching the band into “Today I Saw the Whole World,” “Yeah Boy and Doll Face,” and “Floral and Fading,” charming fans’ ears. Between the background imagery, light shows, and pyrotechnics, Pierce the Veil provided the optimum bang (literally!) for fans’ ticket prices. Not to be outdone by Fuentes, Preciado put on an entire show of his own, giving Walden from Emarosa a run for his money. How does he put out that amount of energy every single night on tour? Just watching the man is exhausting!

Pierce the Veil opted to slow things down for a moment, leaving just Fuentes and Preciado on-stage to perform a collection of acoustic tracks. Fuentes grabbed a guitar and sat on-stage to perform a cover of Julia Michaels’ “Issues.” Preciado then joined in on piano as the pair presented “Stay Away from My Friends.” Finishing this portion of the set, the other half of the band returned to the stage to literally dive back into the fast-pace of “Dive In.” Fuentes performed from the barricade as red confetti canons erupted across the crowd. “Caraphernelia” and “Circles” – the first single from their recent Misadventures – closed out the set. The crowd went absolutely crazy for these last two tracks, with Security doing an amazing job of keeping all the crowd-surfers safe.

As Pierce the Veil exited the stage, the cheers for “one more song!” began to emanate throughout Starland. Answering the call, Pierce The Veil returned to the stage to perform a two-song encore for their sold-out crowd. “Hold On ‘Til May” and “King For A Day” might have been the evening’s last two performances, but they were nothing short of amazing. Complete with sparks and confetti canons, the encore closed out a superbly fun set in true Pierce the Veil fashion.

With fans beginning to exit Starland Ballroom and head for their homes, the smiles were huge and even some tears were noted in a few fans’ eyes. While many a die-hard had waited months for the show, others were simply excited to have had the opportunity to catch their favorite bands on a beautiful May evening. With eleven shows still left on this tour, the We Will Detonate! Tour is one that should absolutely be witnessed! Between the high-energy performances of each band and the amazing music and musicianship, this tour is one for the record books.

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