“Music is philosophy. Every chord, every word tells a story. If you listen you will know its meaning.” – Kamanda Ndama
Bottom line, every songs has to tell a story. The songs with stories take place no matter where you are. But in my case, the songs with stories all took place at the establishment known as The Studio at Webster Hall in New York City during the Everything Was Sound Tour. The great guys in Silent Planet from Asuza, California were the headliners bringing the bands Hail the Sun, Dayseeker and Ghost Key along for the ride so a good show was to be expected. So let’s jump right in!
The opening band called Refinement, whom I didn’t really care for, opened the show for the guys in Ghost Key, a melodic hardcore band from Peoria, Illinois whose album “If I Don’t Make It” which just came out February 17th on InVogue Records. I have heard a song here and there from those dudes for some time now before their full-length came out and I was curious to see how they would do performing live. And in the end, I was impressed with their set. Pretty good energy with a good reception from the audience. The vocalist Austin O’Brien in between songs would speak to the audience telling brief stories and brief speeches coming from his personal life experience. Topics ranging from people living their life trying to impress people when they should be loving themselves, politics and treating people with respect even if you may or may not agree with their personal beliefs and still try to love one another. The one major story Austin told before they played the last song of their set which was titled “Downpour” off their new album, was the story of him losing his two best friends to suicide by self-inflicted gunshot and overdosing on a combination of pills and alcohol respectively. After the tragic deaths, he thought about taking his own life because the depression of having to bury them were taking a toll on him until he decided to focus all the energy into music and now is touring the world with his band influencing those who are feeling the same way he did to talk about it to other people and to the band themselves because he is looking forward to writing more stories about how people including himself feel. Overall, their five-song set was definitely one to check out for those who haven’t heard Ghost Key’s music and had people going over to their merch table afterwards and talking with Austin. You can also check out the conversation that Austin had with the homie Ian Hates on the most recent Conversation Edition episode of Ian Hates Music. http://www.ianhates.com/podcasts/ghost-key-austin-obrien-ian-hates-music-78.
Ghost Key setlist: Dismantle, Solstice, Judgement, Ache, Downpour.
Up next was the band Dayseeker from Orange, California whom I wasn’t really a fan of but as soon as I saw they were on the bill, I was eager to see how they did live and they did a good job and vocalist Rory Rodriguez has a pretty good live voice balancing both screaming vocals and clean singing vocals. Their set started off with a pretty common twist which can occur every now and then: Opening the set with a brand new song that no one has heard before as opposed to past works. The song was titled “Vultures” which was written for a friend of the band that was a victim of sexual abuse and it went over really well with the audience in attendance who didn’t know the words. But for the rest of their set, the four songs they played definitely had a couple of people singing along with the words, created some minor moshing and a guest live vocal appearance by Silent Planet’s Garrett Russell. Dayseeker ended the set with the song “The Earth Will Turn” off the album “Origin”, written about Rory’s mother and her battle with methamphetamine addiction. After seeing them live, I get why people like their music a lot and can relate to it. The musicianship was tight with a good crowd reaction and participation.
Dayseeker setlist: Vultures (new song), Sleep in the Sea (featuring Garrett Russell), The Burning of Bridges, A Cancer Uncontained, The Earth Will Turn.
Up next was Hail the Sun, a post-hardcore band from Chico, California. Before seeing them live, I never heard their music before even if I knew them from being on Will Swan’s Blue Swan Records before moving to Equal Vision Records. Pretty unique band when they played as a five-piece for the couple of songs to start off their set before their drummer went off stage and the band played as a four-piece with the vocalist playing the drums for the next two songs. And let me tell you, those dudes know how to put on a show. Lots of energy and lots of crowd participation including the songs they sang back to them. I couldn’t really tell what songs they played but I did enjoy the song “Rolling Out the Red Carpet” which was the most energetic performance during the set. Was impressed for sure and anyone who likes the Will Swan sound should definitely check them out and see them live!
After Hail the Sun came off stage, the anticipation for Silent Planet to come out and perform was felt throughout the venue while the road crew set up their equipment and lights and sound checked. After a few minutes, the lights dimmed and Silent Planet was ready to go. Mind you, this was my second time seeing Silent Planet live. Before then, they were on tour with For Today, Fit for a King, Gideon and Phinehas at Gramercy Theatre when I last saw them. After seeing them live again, I still stand by my opinion that they should be headlining their tours from now on. Fuck, the energy of the band and the crowd bouncing back and forth was unbelievable! Garrett Russell, to me, is one of the most up close and personal yet humble frontmen in metalcore today. Always with a story to tell and a inspirational message in between songs during the set. Politics, religion, love and respect, you name it! And even when the songs are played he tells the story behind each song from their discography. For example, the song “Darkstrand
(Hibakusha) and how it tells the story of a mother and child bond forcefully broken during the Hiroshima bombing during World War II. Aside from the Code Orange and Darkest Hour headlining shows respectively, Silent Planet’s headlining set was definitely up there with them! Lots of crowd surfing, many guest vocal appearances, and heavy moshing in the pit! And even though we don’t see guitarist Spencer Keene play live on tour, guitarist Mitchell Stark held it down as the sole live guitarist while Alex Camarena pounded away on the drums, bassist Thomas Freckleton did his thing while he provided the clean vocals and Garrett using his mighty voice throughout the night, never gassing out nor having his voice give out. Great, great performance and I was fortunate to meet Alex and talk with him for a bit and most definitely Garrett after the set after many of his fans exchange hugs and tell their stories to him and talk with him for a bit about his conversation with Ian Hates, how much his band’s music means to people and how Silent Planet are always welcome in New York whenever they tour. Definitely respect him for always wanting to take care of his fans and making them feel wanted in the Silent Planet community. Great guys, great music!
Silent Planet setlist: The Well, XX (City Grave), Panic Room, Wasteland (Vechnost), Native Blood, Understanding Love as Loss, Tiny Heads (Au Revoir), Orphan, Nervosa, Psychescape, Depths II. Encore: Darkstrand (Hibakusha).
It was definitely a good night at The Studio at Webster Hall. Every band did their best and gave it their all with no problems or complaints throughout the night. On the way home, I was thinking that the theme of the tour was Silent Planet’s idea of having the bands they brought on the road with them tell their stories through the music because they definitely have stories with their songs as well. And it’s working out really well because at the end of the day, stories should be told through music and we’re always looking for the next story to be told in song and people can establish a connection until the very last note.