In 2003, Canadian post-hardcore band Silverstein released their first studio album, When Broken Is Easily Fixed. Today, they celebrate the 15th anniversary of the debut record with a 1.5 hour-long set across North America, dedicating the first half to playing the entire album from beginning-to-end, and the second half to their greatest hits.
Prior to Silverstein taking the stage, the up and coming band Capstan and the re-emerging As Cities Burn set the scene for a night of emo/post-hardcore. However, the touch of nostalgia didn’t truly kick in until Silverstein’s long-time friends Hawthorne Heights greeted the crowd with a backdrop that read “I USED TO LISTEN TO HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS IN HIGHSCHOOL”, making everyone in the room think “Same.”
Finally, it was the moment everyone had been waiting for. The ceiling lights dimmed, and the crowd started cheering as Silverstein walked onto the stage. The very first seconds of “Smashed Into Pieces” immediately led the room to reciting the lyrics. What was most memorable about their entrance, however, was the perfect timing between the end of the song and the reveal of the backdrop, which featured the cover art of the album.
When it was time for the band to play “November”, vocalist Shane Told joked how one way Chicago is a second home to them is that Chicago’s November weather is exactly like Canada’s, where the band is originally from. He also revealed that it had been about a decade since the band had actually listened to their debut in its entirety and only recently did they realize the amount of violin and piano scattered throughout the album. Of course, the live performances of songs like “Hear Me Out” and “Wish I Could Forget You” wouldn’t be the same without their softer string and percussion counterparts. Luckily, Mike Tompa of First Ghost and Deadwinter fulfilled that role. Following the last song of the album, the title track “When Broken Is Easily Fixed” (in which the lead singer of Capstan joined in on the band’s performance), Silverstein surprised their fans by ending the first half of their set with bonus tracks “Friends In Fall River” and “Forever and a Day”.
After a quick intermission, the backdrop suddenly changed to the artwork of their most recent studio album, Dead Reflection. The band changed gears from their early-2000s metalcore persona to the recent and upbeat track, “The Afterglow”. Other songs of the set included fan favorites such as “Smile In Your Sleep”, “California”, and “Massachusetts”. The band closed their Greatest Hits set with “Discovering The Waterfront”, but ultimately surprised the audience with an encore. Earlier this year, Silverstein released an acoustic version of their song “Aquamarine”. I honestly never admired the lyrics as much as I do now after hearing it live. The show ended with Silverstein’s classic closer, “My Heroine”—first starting out acoustic, and ending with the full band playing.
I don’t think I have ever seen a band live whose backing vocals were as prominent as Silverstein’s. Their distinguishable clarity played a huge part in replicating the original studio tracks. With the band’s stage persona and the crowd’s energy, no wonder I found this night to be the best concert of the year.