Taste Of Chaos 2005

author PP date 17/11/05

Taste Of Chaos has been one of the most eagerly awaited tours in the UK this year, as it had gathered the best of the best from the late trendy genres of political punk rock, emo and metalcore together, to one entirely sold out major-venue tour across the country. The tour started in the US earlier this year, strolled through Australia, Japan and mainland Europe to finish up in Brixton Academy. The metalcore kings Killswitch Engage, underground political punk legends Rise Against, the emo-powerhorse The Used, Story Of The Year, who have been selling out arena-size venues in the states, and Funeral For A Friend teamed up together to bring chaos and destruction across the island. Or did they? I beg to differ. There was no chaos, no disorder, and not that many heavy songs, that are usually associated with chaos.

Story Of The Year, or perhaps I should call them Surprise Of The Year, have exceeded all my expectations of them this year. First, they release a great album forming a statement that "No, we will not settle with what the label tells us to do, we'll do what we really want to do!", by changing their sound into a radically heavier and more complex one, causing many of their old fans to turn their backs on them. And secondly, they delivered a live performance a thousand times better I could ever have imagined. Their entire set consisted of humongous synchronized jumps, karate kicks, kickboxing kicks, backflips, and crowdsurfing - all of this while playing the more guitar-driven songs from "In The Wake Of Determination". The band members constantly climbed into the speakers only to jump down synchronously from a height big enough to cause serious damage to their ankles, they jumped into the crowd, and basically put the remaining bands into a tough position to try to overcome SOTY's showmanship. They strolled through their best songs, and even though most people did not know the lyrics to the new album, it was brutally clear that the new songs wiped the floor with the old ones. The old radio megahit "Until The Day I Die" sounded horribly soft and boring, especially when the band followed the song up with the hardcore punk song "Meathead". Dan stormed the stage back and forth jumping, falling, rolling, kneeling and God knows what else during their set and delivered an awesome vocal performance. The change in Story Of The Year's sound can also be seen in their attitudes, as Dan did the "hardcore vocalist" trick and was singing by the barrier separating the crowd and the stage, constantly being hugged and hi-fived by the crowd at the front. During "Our Time Is Now", he even climbed over the barrier and crowdsurfed back and forth around the crowd, while still being able to sing and scream perfectly.

And he wasn't the only member of the band to jump down to the barrier. Their guitarists and bassist each went down to the barrier, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes alone, and were still able to play correctly even as dozens of fans were grabbing their instruments and their heads. And now that we're on the subject of crazy matters, their guitarist shocked me towards the end of their set by taking his guitar off, and throwing it in a gigantic leap across the stage, what must have been close to twenty meters in distance. The guitar was (fortunately) caught by one of the crew members, and he climbed on one of the biggest amps, only to throw a huge backflip down to the stage. In fact, the band must have spent at least half of their set in air. [8]

Rise Against was due next on stage. But while their crew was setting up for them, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly contributed to the show with intermission-music with one acoustic guitar and a computer providing a beat on the background. But most people were heading towards the bars, and at least myself I didn't pay any attention to Sam. It was merely background music, nothing impressive.

Rise Against had big shoes to fill after Story Of The Year's ecstatic performance. And indeed, the shoes were too big for Rise Against. I've seen them three times now, and each time, they've been getting more and more boring. Tonight, it seemed like the band just wanted to go home, as it was the last date on the long tour. Tim's vocals lacked the aggression and passion we're used to from records and past shows, and whats even worse, the band didn't make any attempt to take use of the huge stage. The contrast between their and Story Of The Year's performances was sharp enough for anyone to notice, and while they caused some madness in the crowd, on the back of my mind I kept having a feeling that they weren't giving their best tonight. It certainly didn't help that the band decided to break the flow of their set by having an all-acoustic song "Swing Life Away". "Life Less Frightening", "Give It All" and not even "Heaven Knows" could save it, especially when all of these songs were performed with half-power and weak vocals instead of the rage and anger needed to give a lasting effect from a political punk band. [6]

In between Rise Against and Killswitch Engage we saw The Fallout Theory perform a short intermission set in the left-hand corner of the stage, but once again, people were more interested in the bars than the band, so they were left without much notice from the majority of the crowd.

And it wasn't long before the lights were shut once again, and Killswitch Engage emerged from the shadows. Their set was clearly the heaviest, least melodic set but yet they received thunderous applauds after each song, and their songs had the loudest singalongs tonight. Their first song was "A Bid Farewell", and Howard stood like the dark lord on top of a slightly elevated part of the stage, looking scaried than ever. "Breathe Life" saw him run across the stage, falling half-way through, only to do a somersault and continue running in the best Dillinger Escape Plan style. But despite his heart-scraping screams, there was, once again, a feeling similar to that of Rise Against's, that the band just wanted to finish the tour and go home. Perhaps it wasn't in such a great extent as when Rise Against played, but it was significant enough for me to notice. And what was up with the flashing stage lights pointing straight to the crowd? I understand the need to flash towards the crowd every now and then for the band to see the 'irons', but do you have to do it five times in a second? During several of their songs it was impossible to see anything on stage, as the blinding lights flashed, glittered and pointed straight into my eyes, nearly causing epilepsies within several members of the crowd. Enough is enough! The biggest surprise of Killswitch's set was when Bert McCracken of The Used joined Howard on stage for "The End Of Heartache". As usual, Bert was determined to cause controversy, and while Howard was in the midst of the finishing clean parts of the song, Bert stuck his head in between Howard's legs from behind, and pretended to be a genital organ. Nice. [6]

Once again, as an intermission, we saw another band take the left-hand corner of the stage, and this time it was Bleed The Dream, an overly hyped UK metalcore band currently on its way to the big leagues. And they weren't satisfied with just one corner, as their vocalist took use of the entire stage. It was entertaining to watch him run and scream in the middle of The Used's stage-crew, who were setting up for their appearance. They were also the only intermission band specifically worth watching. But it didn't take much longer than 20 minutes before it was Bert's turn to dominate the stage. But Bert, I'm not sure if you misunderstood the title of the tour. It's called Taste Of CHAOS, not Taste Of Softness. The Used's set pissed me off completely when the songs they played were the caliber or "The Taste Of Ink", "On My Own", "All That I've Got", "I Caught Fire" and the similar. But okay, to be fair, they did also play "Take It Away" and "Listening", but as those were the first two songs and they were followed by 6 soft ones, they lost the flow in the set. And up until the very end of their set, I was waiting for the lunatic-Bert that I saw last January, and it wasn't long before he lost it. After thanking the security guards of taking care of the crowdsurfers, they were apparently "motherfuckers". And soon he started pointing to the upper right corner of the balcony, and said "hey look that's my parents over there. My mom's there! Fuck you mom! My mom's a whore guys. I want all of you put your middle finger up and point it towards that corner". The fans, the loyal ones that they are, did as they were told and there were a few thousand middle fingers pointing at Bert's mom. Or well, it wasn't REALLY his mom, he said afterwards, but nobody knew that when they were pointing the finger towards the corner. It wasn't too difficult to predict that the band would finish their set off with "Maybe Memories", which, as usual, was the best part of their set. But where the hell was "A Box Full Of Sharp Objects", "Buried Myself Alive", "Pieces Mended" or "Say Days Ago"? A terrible choice of songs for a tour that's supposed to spread chaos and destruction. [6]

This part doesn't really belong to The Used review, so I'm including it straight after.I FUCKING HATE CROWD SURFERS. And I hate that idiot of an architect who decided to separate parts of the floor with barrier-style fences. Okay, maybe it relieves some of the pressure at the front, BUT IT ALSO GIVES MEANS FOR PEOPLE TO CLIMB UP ON THEM AND TO JUMP ON YOUR HEAD FROM BEHIND WITHOUT YOU HAVING ANY WARNING AND ALMOST BREAKING YOUR NECK. About half way through The Used's set I decided to constantly keep my elbow upwards, so if anyone was crowdsurfing into my direction they would be met with a hard elbow punch. My friend took a little less radical decision, and just decided to punch all crowd surfers as hard as possible. Dear dork/idiot/asshole, who kicked me in the head causing major disorientation and headache during one of my FAVORITE THE USED SONGS "Not Listening", I hope you die a terrible, slow and painful death. And then I will come and kick down your grave stone, you asshole.

Now that I'm already in a bad mood, it's a perfect chance to write the review of the headlining band, namely Funeral For A Friend. I still fail to see what people see in them, I think they are one of the most boring, least unique (most clich?) emo bands in the history of the genre. And their set reflected the prior as well. It was clear that people had come to see The Used and the other bands, as there was significantly less movement within the crowd when Funeral was playing in comparsion to, for instance, Killswitch Engage. The band only played songs from their horrible, horrible sophomore album "Hours", with one or two exceptions. But not even the last song "Escape Artists Never Die", which actually is a great song, could save their set in my eyes. I don't think I've ever felt more bored during a concert than when I was watching Funeral's meaningless movement around the stage. Their set was uninnovative, they used similar annoying lights as Killswitch Engage, they didn't move around much..it was just plain boring. The most overrated band in the UK at the moment? Yes plz. [4]

Overall, the event disappointed me. I was expecting alot of 8'ers and 9'ers for the bands playing tonight, but all of them, with the exception of Story Of The Year, failed miserably tonight. Everyone just seemed to want to finish up their sets and go home. The passion was missing, and there wasn't enough Chaos involved. Another thing is, that when you gather together fans of as different genres as today, you'll never have everyone into all of the bands. It's a shame, because the atmoshpere will (and did) lack by great depths.

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Date: 14. November 2005

Venue: Carling Academy Brixton, London, UK

Bands: Reggie And The Full Effect, Story Of The Year, Rise Against, Killswitch Engage, The Used, Funeral For A Friend

Intermission bands: Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, The Fallout Theory, Bleed The Dream

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