10 years ago, a very popular Metalcore/post-hardcore/alternative rock band Eighteen Visions played their last show at Chain Reaction in Orange County, California. 10 years later, the news pops up on the music news sites and other social media platforms that Eighteen Visions will be reuniting and are working on new music. April 20th, 2017, the song “Oath” was released as a single from the album titled “XVIII” and the shit was a fucking banger! Me, along with other people who have been following the band for years, were excited as shit for the heroes of the OC Metalcore scene for coming back at a time when heavy music was becoming stale monotonous shit. June 3rd, one night after the album release show was over, I had to take it all in that I finally got the chance to see the band live in their hometown in front of a super packed venue. What led up to that point? Here’s the story.
First, Eighteen Visions had been a band for 12 years (started in 1995 and disbanded in 2007) with many member changes and 6 albums and an EP. The first time that I have heard of the band was on the Bleeding Through “Wolves Among Sheep” DVD where former guitarist turned Bleeding Through frontman Brandan Schieppati would always talk about how he was originally in the band in their earlier years and how he ended up in both bands at one point. Since BT was one of my favorite bands, I was enticed to see who was the Eighteen Visions that he spoke of. Of course, the internet is everyone’s favorite place of research so I researched the band and I saw that they were a big deal in the OC scene for years and have put out a bunch of albums and were signed to Trustkill Records. Also many of the members were in other Orange County bands such as Bleeding Through and Throwdown. After a while of listening to maybe one song or two, I bought the self-titled album which came out on Epic Records in 2006, that in the end didn’t do so well for them even if it had a couple of good songs on there. The band decided to call it quits one year after and people were obviously upset and sad to see them go but they had a long career and wanted to pursue different projects and opportunities and left us the music to remember them by. Many members started new bands, new careers and families and basically just lived life with one member, that being bassist Mick Morris, passing away in 2013 after many talks of possibly reuniting the band if the other members were willing to do it. After that happened, may thought the chances of the band coming back together will never happen because it wouldn’t be the same without Mick on bass. But eventually, the aforementioned events that occurred 10 years later really made people really excited and wish that it wasn’t fake news. Turns out it wasn’t fake news when frontman/vocalist James Hart, guitarist Keith Barney and drummer Trevor Friedrich all shared the news on their personal Instagrams solidifying the reunion is indeed real and that they were coming out with new material. Once “Oath” dropped, everyone couldn’t wait for more new music and started breaking out the old school 18V shirts and have been playing their music for weeks leading up to the day their new album would be released.
For me, being a dude that was a fan of the bands that came from the Orange County scene, one of my dream goals was to see a band from back in the day play live. One day at a barbershop, I see the tickets for the album release show for June 2nd go on sale and decided to buy one just to have one thinking that I wouldn’t be able to make it out to the show. It was then I decided to save up and make the trip to see Eighteen Visions live for the first time ever! After a month and a half, I had plane tickets to fly out to Orange County to see the band play their comeback show at The Observatory for June 2nd and put out the album on Rise Records the same day. After a long day of finding a place to stay out in OC and 2 flights, I took an Uber out to the venue after settling at a Motel 6. I had been talking with James for a couple of days and I was hooked up with a photography pass to take photos of the show which made me even more stoked to see the show! Hours later after meeting a couple of people in the venue and also some fans who even travelled out to see the show like I did, it was showtime!
Two bands opened up the show, Seizures from Orange County and Retox from San Diego and they were pretty good bands which got a good reception from the crowd. By the time Retox finished their set and got off stage, the venue was completely packed and ready to rock out to 18V’s return. I along with many photographers took our rightful place in front of the stage and watched as the stage crew for the band soundcheck their equipment and set up the stage props. One including a bass cab with a bass guitar once played by late bassist Mick Morris with a lit candle set in front of it to honor him and his memory which become a thing since the “Oath” video. Around 9:45pm, the band entered the stage to Phil Collins’ hit song “In the Air Tonight”. By the time the first note of the song “She Looks Good in Velvet” hit, everyone started rushing toward the barricade in front of the stage to scream the lyrics James was screaming back to him. At that time, the people in attendance were in for a ride of throwback jams and new material! Like I have said before, James Hart must be immortal because at his age, he still sounds exactly the same live like how he does on recording and is full of energy on stage. Same with Keith with his guitar playing and Trevor playing the drums. To fill in the rhythm guitar section, the band had Josh James of Stick to Your Guns play with them for the live performance and he did an amazing job playing the songs. All throughout the set, people were moshing, singing out loud when James stuck the microphone towards the audience and the band never let down at all. Every song sounded good and the setlist was the perfect mix of songs consisting of the bands’ material from the “Until the Ink Runs Out” album all the way up to the new album “XVIII”. At the end of set, they played my all time favorite song “Tower of Snakes” which had everyone going mental. After they finished the song, they decided to end the night by replaying the breakdown of the song to have everyone mosh one more time until the band thanked the fans for supporting them throughout the years and helping them make many memories of their comeback show and that it won’t be the last they would hear from them. It was definitely a great night because after the show was over everyone made a huge line at the band’s merch table to buy merch from the band which I’m sure was more than enough for a successful night. Welcome back, Eighteen Visions! Metalcore is finally great again!
Setlist: She Looks Good in Velvet, The Psychotic Thought That Satan Gave Jesus, Vanity, She’s a Movie Produced Masterpiece, Black and Bruised, Russian Roulette With a Trigger Happy Manic Depressive, Champagne and Sleeping Pills, Crucified, Oath, Live Again, Motionless and White, Victim, You Broke Like Glass, Dead Rose, Waiting for the Heavens, Who the Fuck Killed John Lennon?, Tower of Snakes
For photos of the show, here’s the link: https://flic.kr/s/aHskWxWkXA