Written by Angel Park
When Tampa, Florida-based band, Underoath, announced their separation and departure from the growing hardcore music scene back in 2013, fans of their distinct, cutting edge metalcore sound was left with so many questions, myself included. Questions such as, “Was Underoath really done? Would they ever come back? And what are we going to do with all of our past frayed show posters and CD albums we blasted on repeat during our most angst-filled years?”
Those questions and more were finally addressed a few years later in 2015. The band cryptically announced ‘their rebirth was coming’ and soon after, they headlined their first reunion show since they disbanded, alongside A Day to Remember.
Fans came out in droves in unanimous support. Since then, the group has been unstoppable, releasing headbang-worthy singles and even earning a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance for their 2018 lead song, “On My Teeth.”
In 2021, they released their ninth album, Voyeurism, and the band hopped on tour, ready to bring their brutal, hard-hitting, in-your-face stage presence to crowds across the coast. This past Saturday evening, they got the best of that energy to Philadelphia’s Fillmore venue.
With the show starting right at 7:00 PM, fans from all parts of the city waited eagerly in line by the doors to be let in, tickets in hand, sporting their favorite Underoath gear. The most dedicated fans made a beeline for the rail once they were scanned in, while others mingled by the merch vendors or motioned to the bartender for their first night round. I watched the room, my eyes drinking in the vast venue, as I moved to take my entry point by the photo pit.
The chatter of fans and laughter boomed around me, and time seemed to slow as the house lights eventually dimmed down. Then, finally, my ears filled with the ecstatic cheers of the crowd as the first act took their place on stage.
Starting off the show was Long Island-based punk band, Stray From the Path. Frontman, Andrew Dijornio, led the group
into their high-energy set, and eagerly used the breaks in between songs to encourage the crowd to jump to the heavy riffs and drum beats or to “open up the pit.” They played a mix of their old hardcore and newest tracks and it was a great way to get things started for the evening.
Following Stray From The Path was Bad Omens, a metalcore group based out of Richmond, Virginia. Their set kicked off in a sea of red shadows and haze, with frontman, Noah Sebastian, grabbing the microphone, as the crowd grew louder with cheers. Following him were guitarist, Nicholas Ruffolo, and bassist, Vincent Riquier, strapped with their instruments and holding their hands high to greet their fans before the group unanimously shredded their way right into the opening chords of “Like a Villian.” The Bad Omens logo glowed in the background, casting an almost ominous shadow across the band. It fits their music’s dark, riff-heavy tones. Noah’s harrowing vocals backed with the band’s melodic instrumentals made for a grand opening set to kick off the night.
Following Bad Omen‘s set was Canadian heavy metal band, Spiritbox, who came in with guitars and vocals blazing as they dove right into the opening chords of their single, “Holy Roller,” from their latest album, Eternal Blue.
The crowd gathered in and screamed along to vocalist Courtney LaPlante‘s commanding stage presence and heavy-hitting lyrics, setting the energy high for the evening. LaPlante‘s fierce growls and pitch-perfect, liquid-like notes combined flawlessly with riffs and beats from bandmates Mike Stringer (guitar), Bill Crook (Bass), and Zev Rose (drums). This group was a hard-hitting, heavy force to be reckoned with, and the crowd headbanged and moshed their way through every minute.
That frenetic environment gave way to even more excitement as the house lights cut off and the bone-chilling opening notes of Underoath‘s “Damn Excuses” reverberated across the venue.
“What’s up, Philly?” Frontman, Dallas Taylor, roared, as he grabbed the microphone, echoed by distorted riffs from Timothy McTague, Grant Brandell, and James Smith (guitarists). He holds his hand high, as the crowd cheers on, and, as he jumps down from his high position on the stage speaker box, the band seamlessly transitions to their single’s first verse.
The volume of the crowd couldn’t have been higher. Almost everyone in the room mouthed along to the lyrics. The rail trembles as the entire front row go into headbanging mode, and a small circle pit has formed towards the back of the venue. It’s loud, bold, and almost violent, but this is the experience that metalcore fans live for, to just let go and lose yourself in the music.
Throughout their set, Underoath mixed their performance with new tracks from Vouyerism such as “Cycle (feat. Ghostmane)” and “Hallelujah,” with sprinkles of OG fan favorites such as “Reinventing Your Exit” thrown into the mix.
My inner metalcore fan was immediately reminded of the old days of listening to the band on my CD player. The nostalgia only elevated the listening experience I had with their new songs. Their sound has definitely matured, but they still managed to keep their gritty, complex hitting roots.
Overall, Stray From The Path, Bad Omens, Spiritbox, and Underoath gave Philly’s hardcore and metal fans a show to remember for months to come. Even as the last song notes died down and security began to holler to usher everyone out by the end of it all, fans left with the widest smiles on all of their sweaty, moshed-out faces.
Connect with Underoath
Connect with Spiritbox
Connect with Bad Omens
Connect with Stray From The Path