Chiodos + The Word Alive + I Am King
15 Sep 2012: The Egyptian Room Indianapolis
Since the surprising announcement of Chiodos’ reunion with original lead vocalist Craig Owens in April, there’s been no shortage of commentary. Whatever your thoughts on the D.R.U.G.S. versus Chiodos or Craig Owens versus Brandon Bolmer debates or whether the band can re-capture the spark that ignited their 2005 debut All’s Well That Ends Well, perhaps the question that everyone should be asking is this: does it really matter? For many, it’s long been accepted that music from this “scene”, whatever you want to call it—emo, post-hardcore, pop-punk—doesn’t have any real staying power. The fact that Chiodos has reunited the lineup that claimed their portion of the screamo sweepstakes in the mid-2000’s with such gusto should serve only as a moot point of nostalgia if the music of this genre truly has no enduring value.
Regardless of the ramblings of many a disgruntled message board punk-purist, there appear to be signs pointing to the contrary. A band like Yellowcard, who hadn’t seen its heyday since 2004, not only experienced a career revival post-hiatus last year, but managed to debut a lauded album in the top 10 with this summer’s Southern Air. A band once on the brink of extinction, as the scene fell from the MTV and radio airwaves, found itself headlining its old stomping grounds at Warped Tour this summer along with the likes of Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory, drawing enormous crowds. In 2011, New Found Glory, the Wonder Years, and Set Your Goals ended the year with the Pop Punk’s Not Dead Tour. This year, the sentiment seems to be that not only is pop-punk not dead, but the whole scene is alive and as well as ever.
Enter the much-ballyhooed Chiodos reunion and subsequent tour. The shows themselves have featured a wide and varied supporting cast. On this night in Indianapolis, the band was preceded by newcomers I Am King and metalcore act the Word Alive. Having just released their latest and much anticipated album Life Cycles while in the midst of a fairly rapid rise to the top of the crowded metalcore pile, one might surmise that a good number of those in attendance are present to witness the Word Alive. True, there’s an excitement billowing as the band rips through their 30-minute set, but while the Word Alive encapsulate much of the promise that lays ahead of the post-punk landscape simply by possessing the talent necessary to communicate their creative intentions, on this night they are simply setting the table. Lead vocalist Tyler “Telle” Smith commands the stage with authority, especially during the band’s heavier moments. Yet, by evening’s end, he’ll be serving as an honored guest amidst the night’s main event.
It’s hard to swallow for some that a band could simply miss the mere presence of a member as much as Chiodos missed Craig Owens. Brandon Bolmer is an incredible singer and Illuminaudio was wrongly shrugged off by many jaded fans, but the fact remains that it never for one moment felt the same while Craig was absent. Strutting onto the stage and smirking at the audience, Owens ignites the crowd before even raising the microphone. Bursting into the opening line of “Thermacare”, he stops abruptly and lets the rabid attendees take over the role of vocal duties while taking in the adoration. There’s no denying that Craig Owens seems to feed off of crowd energy, enabling a swagger that fills any venue he performs, making him the closest thing to a “rock star” in this scene. While his very public demon battling derailed not only his personal well-being, but his first go around with Chiodos, it never once seemed to affect the persona in the spotlight—the one proudly donning the chest tattoo of “All The World’s a Stage”. Now older, wiser, and healthier, perhaps Owens is better prepared than ever to fit the role he seemingly cast himself for.
You know the drill. Chiodos bangs out a set filled with cuts from All’s Well That Ends Well and Bone Palace Ballet with no surprises. This night wasn’t about surprises though, everyone who stepped foot into the venue knew exactly what to expect. No, this night, along with every other night of this tour, was about proving a point—that this matters. Having nearly fallen off of the face of the earth during the end of the band’s run with Bolmer, this reunion is a litmus test for not only Chiodos, but the scene as a whole. While it’s quite true that one successful reunion tour does not validate any sort historical significance for a genre, it helps instill a bit of faith that there is value and purpose in this music. Now comes the difficult part for Chiodos, which is proving that they still have what it takes to create powerful and relevant new songs. With a lineup of talented musicians and a renewed fire to take the scene by storm, chances are they’ll do just that.
I Am King
I Am King
The Word Alive
The Word Alive