SAN FRANCISCO - I noticed one thing about this show the minute that I stepped through the doors: the crowd was noticeably smaller. Maybe it was because it was a school night. I really hope so. Because The Devil Wears Prada put on one of the heaviest shows I’ve seen in a very long time (well, other than August Burns Red/Blessthefall).
The show began that night with a set from Lancaster, PA natives Texas In July. The music was good. But the stage members didn’t move around much. I know that I put a huge emphasis on stage presence in my editorials, but it really does make a huge difference. I personally felt that the actions didn’t match the music, in a way. But it didn’t help that the crowd was really weak at the start, and that wasn’t the band’s fault (seriously, step it up, SF). Plus, they really needed to turn off the fog machines. I inhaled so much fog machine smoke by the end of the night, it was disgusting.
By the time the next opener, Volumes, took the stage, a few more people had shown up. The floor turned into a giant pit. There was crazy energy from the whole band. It was particularly fun to photograph these guys because they would pose for the camera. Their guitarist also had a very interesting looking guitar. I’d never seen anything like it: no tuning pegs, small, very portable. But what was it? It was similar to Steinberger guitar, but I’m still not sure. I’ll have to do some more research and report back on my findings at a later date..
Now we’ve arrived to the portion of the show where ALL HELL DECIDES TO BREAK LOOSE. And this chaos’ name is The Ghost Inside. What made me laugh about this set was that they played some of the heaviest, filthiest metalcore music I’d heard in years. But they did it with a smile on their face. A complete juxtaposition from the tone of the music. Yet it was so awesome. I enjoyed every second of their set, and I hope to see them come back and do a headlining tour sometime.
Their vocalist, Jonathan Vigil, gave a few speeches in between each of the songs. Two of them stuck out to me in particular. The first was about how society tells you that you need to have to go to school, go to college, get a job, start a family, and do all of these things in that order, and that if you don’t do one of those things, you’re not living your life the correct way. He told fans to throw all of that out the window live their life. To paraphrase, “life is too short to not do what makes you happy. Live your life.” The second speech he made was about how at one point in his life, he was afraid to leave his house because he was afraid of death. He explained how it took his little brother from him in the blink of an eye. But he told fans how he worked through that sadness, and that his little brother was his “white light” through the entire experience. How he’d never left his side the entire time. “I’m not afraid of death anymore,” remarked Vigil. “Death should be afraid of me.” Truly profound speeches that seemed to make an impact on the fans he addressed.
After about a twenty-minute set change, the lights go down. The triangle symbol that represents the logo for The Devil Wears Prada suddenly lights up. It flashes green. Drummer Daniel Williams, bassist Andy Trick, and guitarists Chris Rubey and Jeremy DePoyster (who also does clean vocals) run onto the stage amidst a soundtrack of ambient radio noises and odd synths. Vocalist Mike Hrancia, complete with long hair and a truly gnarly beard, follows suit. He picks up the mic. The show takes off, and there’s no sign of slowing down.
Prada kick off their show with “Gloom”, the first track off of their newest release, “8:18” (the album title comes from the Biblical verse in the Book of Romans). The band are merciless in their performance. They give it their all; it’s very evident with each guitar strum, vocal scream, and drum hit. Once “Gloom” finishes, they launch right into “Escape” and “Anatomy”, two of the songs from their “Zombie EP”. They played for an hour straight, with a few occasional stops in between to talk to the audience, and an encore performance with two songs from their fourth studio album “Dead Throne”.
After watching their performance, I have to say that Hranica has a Jekyll and Hyde aspect to his stage presence. Modest and soft-spoken one minute (when speaking in between songs), and then a monster the next when screaming the vocals to a song.
There was one thing that surprised me throughout this entire show: TDWP played songs only through their third studio album, “With Roots Above And Branches Below”. They didn’t reach into their catalogue from “Plagues” or “Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord” (okay, I know I’m dreaming about “Dear Love”, but I’m just saying). Usually they’ll at least play the song “Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over” (from “Dear Love”), but nay this time. All older songs from the first two records were completely absent. I wouldn’t say it was a bad thing; it was just a bit of a surprise. This tour seems to have marked a big step forward for TDWP. They’ve clearly found their sound, and they truly know how to be a band. Looking forward to the next show, guys.
P.S., they still didn’t turn off the fog machine.