SAN FRANCISCO -- It’s no secret that the members of Falling In Reverse and Escape the Fate have had beef in the past. What with FIR vocalist Ronnie Radke’s notorious history of prison time, or ETF vocalist Craig Mabbit’s knack for making obscene comments about the former on stage. Twitter wars between band members have ensued, fans have fought back and forth over message boards, members have been kicked out from both bands for numerous reasons including drug use and talking shit.
So what was the reaction when both Radke and Mabbit jumped onstage at the end of the show, together, to perform “It’s Not Good Enough For The Truth In Cliché” and “Situations”, two of the songs from Escape The Fate’s 2006 debut album, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion? Pandemonium. Absolute chaos. I’ve never heard fans of a band scream or sing so loud.
The appropriately titled “Bury The Hatchet” tour, co-headlined by none other than Falling In Reverse and Escape The Fate, made its stop in San Francisco last Thursday, the second to last date of the tour. The tour was joined by death metal act Chelsea Grin, and hardcore-pop act Survive This! (whose first album was produced by Radke).
Upon entering the venue, the lights go down and the Survive This! take the stage. I was pleasantly surprised by their set. A lot of bands in their genre are overplayed and overdo their sound. It’s definitely not as much fun as it used to be to listen to hardcore, heavy breakdowns mixed with One Direction-like poppy choruses. These guys restored my faith in the genre. Yeah, there was nothing new in their set, but they did is very well. Particularly for a band that is doing one of its very first major tours.
Next up: Chelsea Grin, the band I was most concerned about. Why? They were the heaviest band on the bill. Not only that, but they played the most extreme brand of metal on the lineup: death metal. But what did the band have to say about this when they were asked to play the bill? “I was just stoked all the way around,” remarks the band’s vocalist, Alex Koehler. “I knew the shows would be big and it would be a huge drawing tour, so I knew it would be good for the band, and good for hangs with friends and what not.”
Chelsea Grin’s set received a very high appraisal from fans in the crowd. Most people who were there to see the headliners were also there to see the openers, judging by the fact that the crowd piled on top of each other, screaming the words to songs from the band’s 2012 Evolve EP at the top of their lungs. Vocalist Koehler’s guttural screams resonated loudly (and incredibly) throughout the walls of the venue. For only thirty minutes, they played an intense set, and owned the entire crowd.
The first of the two co-headliners, Escape The Fate, took the stage. The lights go down, and the intro from the band’s self-titled album begins to pulse through the speakers. “Choose/Your Fate, Choose/Your Fate” begins to chant throughout the crowd. The band takes the stage, and BANG. Queue the first track of their newest album, “Ungrateful”. The crowd doesn’t even see it coming, Craig Mabbit screams into the microphone as if his life depended on it. Guitarists TJ Bell and Kevin Gruft shred. Bassist Max Green, who has had a shaky history with the band after a serious battle with drugs, appears reinvigorated, completely enjoying himself as he runs around the stage. Last but not least, drummer Robert Ortiz beats the living hell out of the Pearl drum kit he is manning. The band power through an hour long set that left the crowd wanting a lot more.
Escape The Fate appear to have a new life in them. This is probably because the band have finally “squashed the beef” and reconciled their differences with Falling In Reverse’s frontman Ronnie Radke, the original vocalist of Escape The Fate (Mabbit replaced Radke back in 2008 when Radke landed himself in jail for 18 months). “It’s a weight lifted off of everybody’s shoulders,” explains Mabbit in an interview pre-show. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on a tour where all the bands get along so well. It’s like, ‘what’s up man?! You guys going out tonight? Cool! Let’s do it!’”
After a break and a lengthy set-up process, the lights go down and the crowd prepares for Falling In Reverse’s long-awaited set. The crowd was treated to a very funny surprise. Apparently, the members of FIR are Full House fans, because a special video introducing the band, to the tune of the original Full House theme song, flashes across the screen. As a self-proclaimed fan of the show, I laughed really hard.
Radke, guitarists Jacky Vincent and Derek Jones, bassist Ron Ficarro, and drummer Ryan Seaman take the stage, and full control of the crowd. The band don’t waste a second of stage time, and play through songs from both their first and second albums (“Rolling Stone”, “I’m Not A Vampire”, “Fashionably Late”). The crowd sings every single word. For a band that gets a lot of hate, they sure have a dedicated fan base.
What was it that was so enlightening about this show? Two things. First: each band brought their songs to life. They didn’t just walk out on stage. They had stage props, signs, video screens, whatever it may be. They put on a show, giving their fans their moneys-worth. Second, fans of both of Escape The Fate and Falling In Reverse were seen enjoying the show. There was nothing but smiles all around the venue.
“This is the best tour we’ve ever been a part of,” says Radke in-between songs. “Fuck the haters who hate.” SP
This has been another shameless promotion.