Rise Against, The Used and Senses Fail brought mid-2000s "Warped Tour" vibes to Cleveland on Wednesday by performing a mixed variety of songs you used to illegally download off LimeWire and some new ones you may have never heard before.
Written and captured by Mollie Crowe
Since the beginning of the year, I've been fortunate to be in the photo pit for many of the bands I grew up with. These were the ones who inspired me to go against the grain and take on the world, while also providing the soundtrack to the many miles that led me to where I am today. Both Siren Song of the Counter Culture by Rise Against and The Used's In Love and Death were two albums that left a mark on me and were frequently in rotation when I first got my driver's license. In my opinion, they're among some of the greatest albums of that era, along with Let It Enfold You by Senses Fail. The mid-2000s music culture/scene (haircuts with a deep side parts or the swoopy emo bangs, shopping for CDs and band tees at Hot Topic, wearing studded belts with skinny jeans and 20lbs. black eyeliner, etc.) defined a generation and helped lay the groundwork in defining me. Which means that nights like these take me back to memories of Warped Tour (RIP) at Tower City Amphitheatre (also RIP).
As luck would have it, we were graced with a beautiful summer evening and everyone was in great spirits. And in a sea of cargo shorts with baseball hats and flip flops, and Old Skool Vans with black Dickies and band tees, it was refreshing to run into a familiar face. My friend Zach Hurst of Cleveland-based Quiet Zoo was there for the show with a friend when we randomly bumped into one another. I think the Universe knew I was feeling a little nervous because chatting with him helped me catch my breath. Sometimes those little moments are all it takes to bring you back to reality when you feel like you're losing yourself or lost in your head, ya know?
During golden hour, Senses Fail started the evening off by performing fan-favorites such as "Calling All Cars," "Rum Is for Drinking, Not for Burning," "Can't Be Saved," and "Buried A Lie." With the beautiful Cleveland skyline on the horizon and boat passengers waving as they floated by, it was as picturesque as fun to listen to a line-up of amazing throwbacks. But then Senses Fail blew everyone's minds with an epic finale mash-up of "Down With The Sickness/Break Stuff/Bulls On Parade."
Throughout The Used's set, lead vocalist Bert McCracken would pause and smile, as the boom of the crowd singing along was louder than him. The Used appropriately started with "Maybe Memories," the first track on their self-titled album, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. But the highlight of my night was easily hearing "All That I've Got" and singing it along with everyone in the audience, knowing how deep that song can hit for its fans.
Rise Against is one of those bands that you know they're going to put on a good show no matter what. They're respected and humbled, two things that don't always go hand-in-hand with being in a band. But, maybe because they fall into the niche genre known as "melodic hardcore punk," they can pave the way with rockstar etiquette. During their performance of "Ready To Fall," a fan was injured in the pit so the band took a 5-minute break to ensure paramedics could reach them and get them the care they needed. In the midst of Netflix's new documentary on Woodstock '99, it could seem like heavier rock shows are all about beating the crap out of each other and destroying property but I can assure you, Rise Against and the fans they drew were proof that most of us are there for the music and all that matters is singing until you've got nothing left to say.