'10 Years On Frail Wings Of Vanity And Wax' Tour
w/ For The Win, VS, Charlatan, Vesta Collide
San Francisco, CA
February 7, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - "I learned today that one person on this tour with us was eight when 'On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax' came out,'" Alesana guitarist/vocalist Shawn Milke said amidst a roar of laughter from the crowd. "That fucking scares the shit out of me," he added with laughter.
The greatest thing about the MySpace era of post-hardcore music is that if you are an artist that gained a fan during that period of time, you gained a fanbase for life. I'm not referring to the people who added your band because they thought they would look "cool"; I'm referring to the diehards that still eat, sleep and breathe that music today. Those in attendance at last Tuesday night's Alesana show at San Francisco's DNA Lounge (just a few doors down from Slims) looked the part of those that would attend an Alesana show: band t-shirts, jet black hair, creative piercings, and colorful tattoos. The only difference is that they were ten years older than the day they discovered the album the band were performing that evening.
The six-piece post-hardcore act from Raleigh, North Carolina had already completed two days of their twelve-day West Coast run in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of their first album, On Frail Wings of Vanity And Wax. The debut album from Alesana (released via Tragic Hero Records on June 6, 2006, and again through Fearless Records on March 20, 2007) was a landmark in both the band's career and the genre, going on to sell 45,000 copies in the United States during its touring cycle. The unique combination of three guitarists, two vocalists, a powerful rhythm section, and lyrics referencing classical literature while sounding like something that would scare the shit out of any prep-school zombie studying the same literary material made Alesana stand out among their peers.
The tour's stop in San Francisco was heavily packed. More and more people trickled in through the doors of the hole-in-the-wall venue as the night continued on. Opening sets came from the heavy-hitting Vesta Collide, the highly entertaining Charlatan, the emotionally-charged Versus, and the genre-bending For The Win. Each opener had a different variation on the genre, and all were relatively new to the scene. It can be nice to see a lineup that's comprised of fresh new artists. It keeps you up to date on what's new within the scene, and you might even get to see your new favorite band.
By the time Alesana took the stage, the crowd was in a frenzy. The band went from the one minute introduction track, "Icarus", straight into the adrenaline-fueled "Ambrosia". What was particularly fun about this track is that they started it much slower than is heard on the album. When the moment for the full band to join came about, the song resumed full-speed, making it sound that much faster and heavier. A pit broke out in the middle of the room, signifying Alesana's return to San Francisco. Every track from On Frail Wings was sung louder than the last by the crowd, while each band member ran around the stage frantically, holding onto their respective instruments amid guitar spins, breakdowns, and riffs galore. It's like watching controlled chaos take place on stage; everything seems like it's going crazy, yet every band member is completely in tune and in sync with the audience in front of them.
The band returned for one more song once the last track of the album was completed. "You want us to play one more song, don't you?" remarked screaming vocalist Dennis Lee as the crowd cheered. "Well technically, we've already fulfilled our contractual obligation playing the album. And there's this little thing called time and a half, which means we have to get over time and such," he joked to the crowd. "Let's play one more!" Each member returned to perform "The Murderer", perhaps the heaviest track from Alesana's popular Fearless Records release, The Emptiness", the first album in the haunting "Annabel" trilogy.
Given the theatricality behind their music and conceptual albums, God only knows what Alesana is going to bring to the table next time around. All we know for sure is that it will be highly captivating.
On Frail Wings of Vanity and Wax
Alchemy Sounded Good at the Time
Daggers Speak Louder Than Words
The Last Three Letters
Tilting the Hourglass
This Conversation Is Over
Congratulations, I Hate You
The Third Temptation of Paris
A Siren's Soliloquy
For The Win
This has been another Shameless Promotion.