Senses Fail Rattle Sold Out Webster Hall, NYC 3-18-17 w/ Like Pacific, Movements, & Counterparts

The so-called “Emo Revival” has inundated followers of the genre with a multitude of band reunions and 10-year album celebrations. That stands to reason because fans love seeing their favorite albums of their youth played in their entirety, and bands seem to genuinely enjoy playing them live. Looking back, Taking Back Sunday was one of the first bands to bank listener’s nostalgia, and since then, 10-year tours have been done by other genre based bands like Circa Survive, Motion City Soundtrack, Brand New, and The Used, to name just a few.

Not at all to be forgot, Senses Fail kicked off a brand new tour March 3rd to celebrate both 15 years as a band and 10 years of their classic 2006 album, Still Searching. In 2014, Senses Fail did their first 10-year tour for their 2004 breakout album, Let It Enfold You, but it has not all been trips down memory lane for the guys with the recent release of the acoustic EP, entitled In Your Absence. Meshing the past and present together, Senses Fail continue along this special run and helping them celebrate their longevity with the help of Like Pacific, Movements, and Counterparts as support. A little over two weeks in, on Saturday, March 18th, music lovers crowded into a sold out Marlin Room at Webster Hall in New York City to see the tour everyone is talking about. 

Up first, Toronto, Ontario five-piece Like Pacific brought their unique mix of Pop Punk and early-2000s Emo to the stage. Though Like Pacific have been on the scene since 2010, their sound fit in perfectly with the evening’s theme of looking into the past. When the band took the stage, the venue was less than half full (perhaps because the band started earlier than the ticket announced) but the fans that were there seemed to appreciate Like Pacific’s accessible and classic-sounding guitars and lyrics.

Playing energetic and hard-hitting songs like “Richmond,” “Commitment,” and “Worthless Case,” as well as “Distant” from their 2016 debut full-length, Distant Like You Asked, Like Pacific held the audience’s attention with their excellent musicianship and likely garnered themselves a few new fans.

Next up were the newcomers Movements. The southern California quartet formed only in 2015, but even so, have already gained quite a following. Bassist Austin Cressey, Drummer Spencer York, Guitarist Ira George, and Vocalist Patrick Miranda clearly had many fans in the audience as crowd-surfers immediately lifted into the air during their first song, “Protection.” From there, most of their set was taken from their 2016 EP, Outgrown Things, including songs such “Nineteen,” “Hatchet,” as well “Vacant Home,” which seem to draw inspiration from contemporary Post-Punk acts like Title Fight, Citizen, and La Dispute.

Continuing on, Miranda announced that the band recently recorded a new album, due to be released in the summer of 2017, and even  played a new track, entitled “Color Blind.” Rousing the crowd consistently, mosh pits broke out through the set as everyone sang along with Miranda’s heartfelt lyrics, particularly during their closing song, “Kept.” Overall, Movements were exceedingly grateful toward the audience for their rapt attention, and the crowd responded in-kind as the band filed off stage after a powerful and moving performance.

Speaking of mosh pits, the audience broke out into one as quickly as Hamilton, Ontario Metalcore band Counterparts took to the stage. As mentioned, a sold out event, the room was nearly packed when Vocalist Brendan Murphy, Guitarist Adrian Lee, Drummer Kyle Brownlee, and Guitarist Blake Hardman kicked into “Stranger,” a heavy track from their 2015 full-length album, Tragedy Will Find Us. Adding to the mood, the lighting made it so that the band were mostly cast in darkness, putting the emphasis on Counterparts’ behemoth-like sound.

With an energy and onstage presence which was incredible, fans eagerly obliged Murphy’s call for a “wall to wall” pit. From here, the room shook as Counterparts tore through tracks including “Stillborn,” “Witness,” “Choke,” and “Collapse.” Quite a display of endurance and passion, Murphy even credited Senses Fail with teaching him how to scream when he covered “Bite to Break Skin.”Finishing off strong and frantically with the melodic Hardcore piece “Burn,” Counterparts sufficiently amped up Webster Hall for the main event.

With adrenaline pumping, before Senses Fail even began, the stage was lined with large displays of the album art from Still Searching, assuring fans the band would in fact be playing the album in its entirety. Looking back on the band out of New Jersey, Senses Fail have been through quite a bit in their fifteen years as a band. Forming back in 2002, Senses Fail garnered quite a bit of attention with the release of their aforementioned debut, Let It Enfold You, which was followed by six LPs since. After a multitude of lineup changes, Vocalist Buddy Nielsen remains the only founding and consistent member, and is presently joined by Chris Hornbrook on drums, Greg Styliades on bass, Jason Millbank on lead guitar, along with Gavin Caswell on rhythm guitar. Showing the will to push forward, the 15 year anniversary celebration was that much more emotional for all involved. 

On the topic of adversity, at one point during their set, Nielsen confessed that about a year ago the band was considering breaking up, but now they are back with renewed vigor and purpose; a statement Senses Fail proved to be true as the night went on. That in mind, he and his band took to the stage to wild anticipatory applause from 1,500 devoted followers. With little silence in between it all, seemingly every person inside Webster Hall sang along to every word of the first three songs – “The Rapture,” “Bonecrusher,” and “Sick or Sane (Fifty for a Twenty).”

Feeding off everyone’s energy, the band seemed in rare form, and Nielsen made the absolute most out of the stage, which could hardly contain him. His energy was infectious and positive, a mark of some of the band’s on the scene a decade ago. Quite a colorful character, Nielsen consistently used his time between songs to talk about his past and to give uplifting messages to fans. Not at all time filler, it was intriguing to hear about details of his mindset when the dark, oppressive songs of Still Searching were originally written.

With so much to offer through the performance, the energy in the room seemed to skyrocket when they went into favorites such as “Can’t Be Saved.” The band themselves, whose musicianship was impressive and a joy to watch, seemed to be feeding off the happiness from the crowd. That intensity continued through “Calling All Cars,” arguably Senses Fail’s most recognizable song, as mosh pits split the room and fans screamed the lyrics back to Nielsen. Then, before beginning “Shark Attack,” Nielsen shared the song’s origin story and talked about overcoming severe depression, alcoholism, and a therapist who encouraged him to hide his sexuality. Very open and honest, he took the opportunity to send the audience a message of self-acceptance as well self-improvement.

After rolling through title track “Still Searching,” “To All the Crowded Rooms,” and the slow burn “Lost and Found,” Nielsen stated that the show was the best one they have ever played in New York, a compliment fans loved to hear. Finishing their set with “Stretch Your Legs to Coffin Length” and “Mason’s Revenge,” the band left the stage to chants of “one more song,” and of course, they returned, but even better, for thirty minutes! After all, this was a fifteen year celebration for the band and plenty of their well-known songs had not yet been heard.

They kicked off their encore with “Family Traditions,” from 2008’s Life is Not a Waiting Room, and continued through “Jets to Peru,” which is featured on their latest EP, In Your Absence, a song which was dedicated to Nielsen’s wife who had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. From that point, fans went wild during “Buried a Lie,” the lead single from 2004’s Let It Enfold You. After “Blackout,” Nielsen told the audience that the show was the best the band had ever played. Truth or fiction, it was quite a bold statement, but the synergy between the band and the crowd was rare and exciting to be a part of.

Adding to the excitement, Counterparts Murphy joined the band on stage for the final song, the frenetic and heavy “Bite to Break Skin.” From the barricade to the back bar, everyone cheered and sang along to every word. A perfect, high-energy finish to an excellent night that left fans buzzing, perhaps Nielsen was right, this was the best show they had ever played.

With a renewed sense of purpose, Senses Fail are as strong as ever. As the tour continues through April 8th, hopes are they will be back again soon..maybe this time with some new material. 

Photos by: Aintellin Photography

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