Pierce the Veil are a four piece band from San Diego, California with a career spanning almost ten years. This isn’t a Wikipage though so if you want facts and details then I suggest you should Google them. I found them around 5 years ago in the midst of the Pop Goes Punk era of albums where small bands would cover big pop songs. On one of the albums the song “Just The Way You are” by Bruno Mars was covered by a band I had never heard of and I decided to listen to it. I wasn’t overly impressed by them and, well, that was the end of that for a while. I then discovered the band a year later again once they released their third studio album, Collide With the Sky. The popular song “King for a Day” was everywhere.
To cut the story short I ended up becoming a huge fan of their music, travelling to new countries and attending many of their shows. In turn I began to build a relationship with the band and they now treat me like an old friend, which is extremely flattering for me. Their latest album release, Misadventures, encouraged me to travel to America to see the band and helped me make lifelong friends.
Their latest EU/UK tour just came to a close in Dublin this week and I was lucky to be there, well actually all the UK shows plus both Dublin dates and their first date of the tour that started in Paris at the end of October. The final show in Dublin marked my fortieth show for the band and was a huge celebration for me. The band also presented me with a card that congratulated me on my fortieth show that was made by my friend!
In Belfast though, I was lucky enough to be able to photograph them and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. Pierce the Veil were the band that got me into music photography and gave me the courage and confidence to go to college and learn more every day about the talents I have as a photographer. They never fail to give me the backup and encouragement that I need to continue working towards my goals in life.
As for the shows, well I’ve seen them many times before and I always thought they put on an excellent performance but this tour was different. Their first opening act, Creeper, are a band I had seen before but I really wasn’t digging them at the time. By the third date of the tour I was beginning to change my opinion of them and opened my heart to their music. At first glance they look like they rolled out of a My Chemical Romance fan meet-up circa 2004. Lead singer Will Gould fashions a leather jacket and tight jeans on stage and a mop of longish black hair; very Gerard Way. But that doesn’t have any bearing on their music. Actually in some ways you can hear an influence of MCR in the melodies and rich guitar riffs that fuse the songs together. Ian Miles on guitar and backup vocal has a lot of energy for the gothic rock group from Southampton, making them stand out just a little bit more than the average rock band these days.
The addition of Hannah Greenwood on keyboard and backup vocals makes for a very interesting and different twist on modern music as usually females within the music industry are thrust into the spotlight. She, however, is elegantly placed to the side and her talents shine through, mixing her vocals with Will’s to make beautiful harmonies. One thing I will comment on is that they know how to get a crowd going and in my opinion are one of the next big bands to come out of the UK.
Letlive are a band I think that everyone should see live at least once in their life because it’s an experience to say the least. Jason Butler has more energy than a 3 year old hyped up on sugar on Christmas morning, making the show a complete and utter chaotic mess of adrenaline filled madness. At one point during the show in Glasgow my friend turned to me and said, “Well I’m ready for the drum kit to be launched over our heads now.” And if that doesn’t explain how messy and insane it was, watching Jason roll himself up in a carpet and throw it into the crowd should surely give you the visual of how that one went down.
All in all though, once he calmed down a little, Jason became the frontman to steal our hearts. His speeches about equality and how women make the world go round had most people in tears, or near enough to it. On the last date of the tour in Dublin, he dedicated the final song to Hannah from Creeper, to support her being a woman in the music industry and to show care for her if she ever needed it. He spoke proudly of his heritage to Glasgow and how much he loves being in the UK in general. The one thing he always mentioned that got people riled and ready to go was the US election, which would always grant a “Fuck Donald Trump” chant from the crowd. In my opinion it makes a difference to hear someone with a large platform talk about serious issues at shows, that’s why I wanted to make a point of mentioning it.
As for their music, the songs are a fusion of post hardcore and experimental rock. Something that I feel works a lot better than one may think. The guitars are fast, racing against the vocals in each song. I specifically liked their final song “Good Mourning, America” as the main riff leading into the chorus is extremely catchy. The band themselves have a lot to offer the music industry and It is surprising they are not very well known yet. Letlive is a full experience to enjoy.
Pierce the Veil are a band I’ve watched take the stage a good few times in my life but on this tour, they blew me away. From the lighting effects to their stage set up. While the stage was being prepared for the show to start, a curtain would fall from the ceiling to conceal the setup. As the show would begin an animation would play of the band as if they were in a rocket ship fighting their way through the solar system and they would crash land in the city that the show was on. To me, that was an extremely interesting touch for the band and I liked it. The curtain would fall and the stage would have a crashed rocket ship on either end of the drum kit and the band would bust out the windows in spacesuits. It’s the minor details that made this stand out for me.
The show kicked off with the opening single “Dive In” from their new album, Misadventures. The song starts off slow with the lights down low and then it picks up in time for the confetti cannon to blow out thousands of pieces of red paper into the air and fall down into the crowd like colourful rain. I am a sucker for confetti. Jump forward a few songs and they played “Texas is Forever”, the first song from the new album to be presented to us. The song though, shows the capable skills that Mike Fuentes has on drums though as they claim it to be the fastest song they’ve ever written.
The first half of the show is mainly new songs, kicking it off fast and keeping the energy up high. “Floral and Fading” is a song I’ll never tire of hearing live, simple because it’s a song you can get down and dance to with your best friends. My favourite part though is when the whole crowd screams “Tony!” as Tony Perry breaks into his guitar solo. For the first three shows of the tour they played an acoustic song, “Kissing In Cars” but it was oddly cut from the fourth show on . Although it left the set without any form of acoustic song, it didn’t really seem to be a song that was overly missed. The set then jumped into an older song, “Hell Above”. This is a fan favourite and shows off the range that Vic Fuentes can produce with his vocals. It has been noted that his voice is strange yet well fitted for the lyrical style.
PTV are another band that are famous for their good vibes and speeches on stage, one that caught my attention on this tour was one for “The Divine Zero”. He spoke about living your dreams and to not have to wait until you “grow up” to chase your dreams. I think that’s such an important message for young people, especially those who seek acceptance and safety at these shows as it gives them a sense of hope. For me, as I stood there with my camera in hand the words hit home to me so hard, hearing my favourite band talk about following your heart and doing what you love really made me tear up.
Jason Butler from Letlive was featured on the song “Tangled in the Great Escape” and so he came out every night and they performed it with him. I never really liked it but for some reason I was swayed upon the first live hearing. Jason made the meaning behind the song personally strong. The song is about helping a friend through a hard time or relapse what they have experienced. Song are more often centred around love/romance so to see song dedicated to friendship is more relateable.
The band wrote a song dedicated to people involved in the Paris attacks last year and I decided to go to the Paris show of the tour to see the song being played in the city where it all happened so that I could pay my respects. We were all so shaken by the events, especially in the music scene and so it meant a lot to me that I got to go to the show and have those three minutes to think of those who lost their lives that night. The song though, makes me think of my best friends and how we would look out for each other no matter what. Music has made me find the best people in the world and as cliché as that sounds, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Another thing to be noted about PTV shows is that they’re not such a bass heavy band, although Jaime Preciado is very much a key player within the band he doesn’t have the hardest job when it comes to playing his bass. He mostly focuses his energy on backing vocals and moving around the stage. If you want a lot of fan interaction, go to Jaime’s side of the stage. He knows how to party. Especially when encore “King for a Day” kicks in and he jumps into the crowd.
Whilst I may be slightly biased in this review, I do highly encourage you to go and see PTV. Even if you’re not that into the band in general, they always put the effort into making the show fun for everyone. I can tell you this, they are some very hard working guys who deserve the world.
All photos by Roisin Stewart.