May 4, 2016 Underoath Reborn At Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ 4-15-16 w/ Caspian
To many’s surprise, in the late summer of 2015, Underoath made the announcement that they would be back together and on the road again in 2016 for what they titled the Rebirth Tour. Ending a two year hiatus where the band played what was to be their final show on January 26, 2013, the time off gave Aaron Gillespie (drums/clean vocals), Christopher Dudley (keyboards, programming), Timothy McTague (lead guitar/backing vocals), Grant Brandell (bass), Spencer Chamberlain (lead vocals), and James Smith (guitar) the ability to explore other musical projects as well as recharge. Now they reunite to celebrate their friendship along with the ten year anniversary of popular album Define the Great Line. Beginning the second chapter in their story, on March 16th, the tour ran through April 23rd, stopping in thirty-one cities across the USA in the process. With an epic return to New York City on April 14th, it seemed almost natural they would head down the New Jersey Turnpike a day later to host a second tri-state area sold out show on Friday, April 15th, at Starland Ballroom. Having a history that spans over a decade long with the Sayreville, New Jersey venue, the line was wrapped around the parking lot with eager fans awaiting for their chance to see the return of Underoath.
Starting things off was Caspian, an instrumental band out of Beverly, Massachusetts. Coming together sometime in 2004 Caspian has released four studio albums, including their latest, 2015’s Dust and Disquiet. Dedicated to crafting unique instrumental soundscapes and bringing them to life with their long list of concerts performed, Caspian were the perfect force of energy to get this show going.
With darkened lighting around them to match the enchanting music, they set an unmistakable mood. Not wasting anytime, Guitarists Philip Jamieson, Erin Burke-Moran, as well as Calvin Joss, Drummers Jonny Ashburn and Joe Vickers, along with Bassist Jani Zubkovs took to begin with “Darkfield,” off their latest album.. The song was matched low lights brought out by bright highlights when the drums and bass hit. Upon the tracks conclusion, Jamieson introduced the band before speaking proudly of Dust and Disquiet, simply stating the audience are welcome to come purchase a copy that night, but at whatever price they think the album is worth.
Leaving the room a thought to ponder, over the next few songs, entitled “Malacoda,” “Ríoseco,” and “Arcs of Command,” dramatic melodies filled the air as the crowd watched and bobbed their heads to the music. Ending the set with “Sycamore,” Caspian offered a huge percussion section, leaving every member of the band playing a drum. It was a bold and eye opening showcase, and if one had to guess, anyone who did approach the band’s merchandise table to purchase Dust and Disquiet offered a good price for this exceptional music.
With the audience’s senses stimulated by Caspian, following a brief intermission, all were ready for Underoath. Since their start in 1997, Florida based Underoath has been making a huge name for themselves on the Metal/Rock scene. Crafting one record unique to the other, began with 1999’s Act of Depression, boldly continuing with offerings such as 2002’s The Changing of Times through 2010’s Ø (Disambiguation), Underoath define their own sound. Some would call it Post-Hardcore, others Metalcore, but all that matters is that it comes from a sincere place, the creators’ hearts. An emotion that has resonated within their dedicated followers for some time now, the return of Underoath was more than just another concert, it was about to be an experience no one in Starland Ballroom would soon forget.
Setting out to perform two of their most important albums in their entirety, 2004’s They’re Only Chasing Safety and, of course, Define the Great Line, the crowd went wild the moment the six members walked on stage. Playing the tracks in order, “Young and Aspiring,” “A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White,” and “The Impact of Reason” were up first. From the moment the first chord hit, the energy in the room was some of the most intense as crowd-surfers were in full effect and came tumbling to the front, one after another, just hoping for a chance to touch the hand of Chamberlain. For the next two songs, “Reinventing Your Exit” and “The Blue Note,” Chamberlain barely had to sing with the mass of people taking off, screaming the lyrics from the top of their lungs.
Before moving into “Down, Set, Go,” Chamberlain checked in with the audience to make sure everyone was okay, and that the people on the sides could hear everything. He then enthusiastically welcomed everyone to the Rebirth of Underoath. Honest and open with the fans, Chamberlain stated over the last three and a half years the band did not do much talking. Then one day, they decided it was time to sit down and talk. The first conversation they had was ignited by the fans he stated. Telling everyone if it was not for the fans on social media asking for the return of Underoath, none of this would be taking place. An emotional and telling moment, everyone roared in appreciation that the musicians joined together again. Then, before continuing with “I’m Content with Losing,” Chamberlain asked the crowd to hold their cell phones up to light up the sky. It was nice to see that more than half the crowd actually held up lighters, so it gave the setting a more old school concert view.
As the show continued, the adrenaline being exchanged between Underoath and their fans was a sight to be seen. Wrapping up the They’re Only Chasing Safety segment with “Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape,” Underoath made their way off the stage only to be met with chants of “Underoath. Underoath. Underoath” penetrating the stage. Well aware more was to come, after a brief set change, it was time for Define the Great Line as the band blasted into “In Regards to Myself,” “A Moment Suspended in Time,” and “There Could be Nothing After This.” A trio that the audience had been waiting for, crowd-surfers did not stop making their way to the front, and many times their excitement for singing along overpowered the band. Before “You’re Ever So Inviting,” Chamberlain checked in with everyone to make sure everyone was still with him, and he then asked, “How many people are seeing us for the first time?” Shockingly, a third of the crowd’s hands shot up in the air and cheers were heard. Impressed by all the newcomers, Chamberlain stated this was a new chapter for the band, and thanked everyone for sticking with them for this long.
Keeping the excitement level through the roof with tracks like “Writing on the Walls,” Chamberlain also expressed how happy Underoath was that Caspian was on this tour with them, thus encouraging others to check out more of their music. Making the night even more personal, he also pointed out a girl in the crowd, Aly, and how she had all of their album work painted on her nails. A creative way to show one’s fandom, Chamberlain honored the girl by going down into the crowd, allowing her to introduce the next song as everyone went insane. With that came “Writing on the Walls,” perhaps the most intense song of the night. Concluding the show with “Everyone Looks So Good From Here” and “To Whom It May Concern,” it was an emotionally draining experience for the audience, as well as Underoath with the band showing appreciation to everyone for sticking with them.
The rebirth of Underoath was a night to remember, and one many thought may never happen. Many who attended Starland Ballroom were just young kids when many of Underoath’s records were released, and this show brought back extremely fond memories. It was not a nostalgic trip though, it was more a reflection of how fans have grown over the past ten plus years with Underoath. With that said, the second chapter of Underoath’s story has an open ending filled with endless possibilities.