Exactly one year ago, I had the privilege to see Senses Fail perform their album Still Searching in its entirety on their Quince Años Tour. With that night being one of the most memorable concerts I have ever been to, it was impossible to pass up the opportunity to see them play an array of songs within their extensive discography.
Household started out the night by playing five songs from their newest release, Everything a River Should Be. While their sound is a little different compared to the other bands, you could tell that they were sparking some interest in a few members of the crowd. Have Mercy also played a short set that included songs from their newest album, Make The Best of It. The band ultimately closed with their most popular song, “Let’s Talk About Your Hair”. Meanwhile, Reggie and The Full Effect played a few extra songs—with the lead vocalist James Dewees making plenty of jokes. I was unfamiliar with the band’s music, but what stood out the most was their use of synthesizers and how many crowd members were clearly enjoying their set.
When the clock struck 9:30 PM, Senses Fail immediately set the atmosphere of a great concert as they opened with long-time fan-favorite “Family Tradition”. The setlist overall consisted of a perfect mix between older and newer songs. Personally, it was a joy to hear “Bloody Romance” live since this was my first time seeing the band play any songs from their 2002 EP. I also really enjoyed their performance of “New Year’s Eve”—my favorite track from their fourth album, The Fire. Other older fan-favorites from the main set included songs like “You’re Cute When You Scream”, “Lady in a Blue Dress”,”, “Calling All Cars”, “The Priest and the Matador”, “Buried A Lie”, and of course, “Can’t Be Saved”.
One thing that I really appreciated about this show is how the crowd gave the new songs as much love as they did to the old. Based on my experience, when a band plays new songs at a concert, only around 70% of the crowd or less get really into it. Luckily, this wasn’t the case for Senses Fail! When playing songs from their latest release, If There Is A Light, It Will Find You, about 90% of the crowd were clearly enjoying it. Instead of the typical “play your old stuff!” mentality, everyone definitely displayed a “hell yeah, new stuff!” attitude. Songs played from the new album included singles “New Jersey Makes, the World Takes”, “Double Cross”, and “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket”. Lead vocalist Buddy Nielsen touched on how personal and meaningful the album is to him, especially when playing “Elevator to the Gallows”—a song about his wife almost not surviving during childbirth.
The encore consisted of three songs, beginning with long-time adored “One Eight Seven”. Following was the very fun and catchy “Rum Is for Drinking, Not for Burning” and then of course the band ended the night with their most popular song, “Bite to Break Skin”. I don’t think I will ever get tired of the screaming toward the end of the song: Bite to break skin/Don’t give the secret/My stoic face/Beaten with passion/The phoenix will die/Inside the fire storm/I am the son/So follow my footsteps.
With the combination of Buddy’s extremely impressive screaming vocals, several moshpits, and the band’s overall performance, these are just a few reasons why Senses Fail is a band I plan on seeing again and again.