The cool thing about attending a show at the beginning of a tour and a show at the end of the same tour is seeing the differences. The feelings of nervousness mixed with an excitement for the unknown fill the air at an opening show. And by the end of the tour, regardless of how much time they have spent on the road, the band members are exuding infinite amounts of confidence.
I was lucky enough to attend the opening show of the 2013 Glamour Kills Tour in Jacksonville, as well as the second to last show in Orlando. The biggest difference between the two shows was the absence of Man Overboard in Orlando. The New Jersey rockers had to drop out of the tour early to head to Australia for Warped Tour. With the tour being down one band, a lot of questions arose. Questions like “Would another band take their place?” and “Would the setlists for the three remaining bands be longer?”
The first band to perform, Stages & Stereos, were able to answer both of those questions. Seeing as they were first on stage, it was obvious Man Overboard had not been replaced with a local opener. Stages & Stereos are a group of guys who, every time I’ve seen them perform, leave their hearts on the stage. They are passion driven and undeniably talented musicians. But this night, at the House of Blues, it was different. I have never seen them perform in such a manner before. They had grown leaps and bounds in just a short two-month time period. They owned the stage and proved that they were more than worthy of being on this tour. They wowed the crowd with tracks off their two newest EPs, but surprised everyone when they threw their set back to 2008 with the song “Can’t Say Goodbye,” a personal favorite of mine, and thus showing each band would add songs to their setlists. The crowd was tame and aloof at the beginning of their set, but as they finished each song, I watched their fanbase grow and grow.
The standout group of the evening was, hands down, Cartel. I had discussed with my friends earlier in the day that the first time I ever heard a song by Cartel was at the House of Blues in Orlando while a band was setting up, about 4 years prior. So it’s always cool to see a band play at the exact same venue in which you discovered them. Their setlist changed drastically from the first show. They added more songs, and changed up the order. The best part of their performance was when they slowed down and played the emotion charged track “The Minstrel’s Prayer.” This was the song that played over the speakers 4 years earlier in the exact same venue I was standing in at that moment. Will Pugh, Cartel lead vocalist, stated that this was the first time they had played this track the entire tour. The song opens with an intense drum line, and the first time the sticks hit the drums, the whole venue went silent. As Pugh sang, the crowd remained silent and still. You could hear each lyric echoing through the House of Blues; no one made a sound. It was beautiful. I always look for “the moment” at every show I go to, and this performance was definitely “the moment.” You can check out the video at the end of this post.
As Cartel was tearing down, the curtains closed on the stage while Mayday Parade set up. When the curtains opened, a small piano was on stage, and sitting on the bench was Derek Sanders. He began playing the opening keys to “Ghosts” and the whole crowd went wild. I am never disappointed with the crowd at a MP show. They are always beyond enthusiastic and scream back every single word to the five talented guys on stage. The oddest part of the evening came during their set. Their second song, “Jamie All Over,” includes Stages & Stereos lead vocalist Daniel Lancaster. Well, on the opening night, Lancaster came out and finished the song, so that’s what I was expecting to happen this time around. That’s not at all what happened. When the song was coming to a close, a man ran out on stage in boxer short and a cropped Stages & Stereos shirt. I initially thought it was Lancaster, because the vocals sounded just like him. However, it was not Lancaster, but Donnie Webb, Stages & Stereos’ drummer. As a prank, Webb ran on stage in Lancaster’s place, and Lancaster hid offstage singing. It was a great moment, and only one you’d find in a setting like the Glamour Kills Tour. I could see the crowd light up and freak out every time they played a song off their newest album Monsters in the Closet.
This tour was easily one of the best I attended all year, but considering the line-up, it was difficult for it not to be. Be sure to purchase a CD or buy concert tickets from any of the bands’ website, and look out for future tour dates.
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