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The Devil Wears Prada/A Day to Remember/Sky Eats Airplane/Emarosa Live Review

by Mark Hensch

Pontiac's Clutch Cargo's is more crowded than I have ever seen it. Its two floors are jam-packed with fans eager for catchy, cathartic metalcore, and tonight's bill has it in spades. Body space becomes a premium as more punters flood in, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the show sells out before the first sound check.

Taking the stage after all this initial hoopla is Lexington, Kentucky's Emarosa. Missing the majority of their set thanks to a traffic jam, I arrive late and catch their last song or two. Though I was impressed by their earnest performance, I felt like the band was an odd opener. Sure, their brand of dreamy, melodic hardcore sounded crystal-clear, but at the end of the day music this soothing is not what typically pumps up crowds for upcoming acts. Maybe these guys will be sandwiched between two hyperactive bands the next time around and people will eat it up like a Chinese buffet.

Next in line was Fort Worth, Texas' Sky Eats Airplane. Given how kinetic, catchy, and crushing their 2008 self-titled effort is, I had high hopes for their live show. Though the band delivered an undoubtedly spastic set, it was more form than substance with the guitars sounding like digital mush and frontman Jerry Roush frequently making vocal improvisations which did not mesh with the rest of the band. Despite this, songs like "Long Walks on Short Bridges" and "Numbers" careened into eardrums with the right mix of melody and mania. "Disconnected," meanwhile, surged with bristling electricity which crackled over the entire floor, drawing out the first sizable audience participation for the night. Wrapping things up was the schizophrenic rocker "Alias," the likes of which proved that Sky Eats Airplane were handing out more treats than tricks with the time they had.

Following this was Ocala, Florida's A Day to Remember, whom delivered the evening's crowning performance. Armed with a clear sonic attack, the band proceeded with a fun, energetic set full of songs which had people hopping like locusts. Kicking things off with the gnarly "The Downfall of Us All," ADTR led a bevy of venue sing-alongs and serious-if-gentle mosh pits. Along the way old favorites like "Speak of the Devil," "The Danger in Starting a Fire" and "The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle" also reared their heads, proving the band has always been a bright-eyed dose of poppy, straightforward hardcore. When one adds new cuts like "Welcome to the Family," "Mr. Highway's Thinking about the End" and "I'm Made of Wax, Larry, What are you Made of?" it becomes apparent that ADTR's sugar is still sweet.

Last but not least was The Devil Wears Prada. Ever since seeing them in the fall of 2006, I am still confused by this band's popularity. Even after another gig, I have yet to understand it. Much like they did back in the day, Prada plays a stale version of metalcore replete with singing and cold, watery keyboard runs. The band's stage presence was slick and stylish, but too mechanical in its totality for me to see it as authentic. Songs like "Goats on a Boat," "Dez Moines" and the likes sounded forced, the guitars buried beneath the listless, limp-dicked keys. When turning such a formula into a rinse and repeat affair, the end result was one uninspiring finale.

Though the show was decent overall, none of the acts would have converted me as a fan if I had been going in blind. If one forgives sloppy, playful musicianship for a good time, however, the end result is a solid if unremarkable tour worth checking out on a lazy evening. Show up to this if you feel like some carefree ear candy.

Check out Emarosa

heck out Sky Eats Airplane

Check out A Day to Remember

Check out The Devil Wears Prada

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