Hollywood Undead @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (3/10/2009)

Logo - Hollywood Undead

Artist: Hollywood Undead
Venue: Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Senses Fail, Haste The Day, Brokencyde
Date: 3/10/2009
Label: Octone Records

The Hollywood Undead is a group that while around for a couple of years, seem to have made their biggest stride in the few months that led up to tonight’s fun. The show would be at The Fillmore and feature a wide genre scoping assortment of openers which included Brokencyde, Haste The Day and Senses Fail. Out of the lot of them I had only seen Haste The Day before when they toured at this same venue a little over a year or so ago with From Autumn To Ashes. At the time I was not much for the Screamo-Metalcore vibe at all, but had grown a little more used to it since that time and was interested in seeing how the group had changed since that initial time. My overall curiosity would be to see just what the fuss was over these masked men called the Hollywood Undead. Here is how the event went down at the sold out Fillmore NY in case you missed it.

Brokencyde: My friend and I arrived during the bands second song and I had to admit that I was immediately disinterested by what they were doing. I had heard the bands name from an issue of Metal Edge magazine which labeled them as one of the worst bands in Metal and to be honest there was not much Metal going on for this set. It was like being at one of the MTV amateur hours where the up and comers do their thing for applause or prizes. I wasn’t into it, and yet the partial crowd seemed to like them. I guess there is something for everyone out there. I am not sure what the future holds for a group like Brokencyde since Emo meets Rap meets Pop is rather a hard sell these days. Calling it “Crunk Core” might be unique in some sense but fortunately their set was short and Haste The Day was coming up next. Folks who did like this kind of thing should watch for the group’s album “I’m Not A Fan But The Kids Like It” which can be ordered from them via their MySpace.

brokencyde, brokencyde live photos
Brokencyde Live by Ken Pierce (2009)

Haste The Day: I caught this band once before when they were touring with From Autumn To Ashes and Maylene and the Sons Of Disaster who are also Christian Metalcore bands and tonight I had to say that they impressed me from the first note. It was a very energetic set as soon as the band hit the stage. The Solid State Records artist would be continuing to support their latest release “Dreamer” and for some reason they seemed tighter and more together than I remembered that last gig being. It might have just been me, but in any case I felt that they also impressed this obviously very young crowd. I didn’t capture their set list this evening and didn’t even see one to copy from my spot during the show but am fairly certain that it focused on the newer material. As Christians their lead singer made sure to mention that the main reason that they were here tonight was to spread the word of Jesus Christ and that if anyone had questions to ask them about this that they would be at the merchandise booth and available to do so. It reminded me of how Stryper did their thing and I give them credit for standing tall in their beliefs by also not demeaning those who might not have agreed with them. I will plan on looking into their recent album and would definitely catch them perform again based on how strong they went over at this show. Senses Fail was coming up and as mentioned would be somewhat new to me.

Senses Fail: Coming out as the direct support for the Hollywood Undead was the very energetic and melodic Senses Fail and while the name was not new to me, the bands music and live show sure were as I had previously mentioned. They are fronted by Buddy Neilsen who surely knows how to work a crowd and their most recently completed album is “Life Is Not A Waiting Room” which comes care of Vagrant Records. It was interesting stuff to see delivered live and their drummer was using a drum kit that lit up much like the one I saw some months ago when Dillinger Escape Plan played. Six of the bands extensive seventeen song set list came from their new album which I would find out later by looking it up and that to me allowed for a reasonable amount of attention to be paid on their other two albums. There was a lot of jumping around on the stage and of course from the audience who really were eating this stuff up. I was happy for them and think that the group was feeding off the energy and positive vibe that was being shot back at them. They are well known to many from Warped Tour appearance and will most likely make those rounds again. Good work on keeping the energy level high this evening guys and assuring that the headlining band would need to be on the top of their game after this set.

Hollywood Undead: I have to admit that my original interest in the Hollywood Undead show came from this same issue of Metal Edge which had the tagline on the cover of “Hollywood Undead: The Worst Band In America” and oddly enough this would also be the last issue of said magazine. The writer of the piece bore the same surname as me but there’s no relation and this article was totally dead on serious about its view of the group. Morbid curiosity set in and here I was to see just what the fuss, complaints and issues would be about the group. They hit the stage to a completely packed Fillmore NY and that is something like 1200 people when it comes down to it, so they are doing right in some peoples eyes and as their opening number of “Undead” began I felt that labeling the worst band in America might have been a little unfair, as the only band member was a drummer and the rest of them were either rapping or playing sampling machines. At one point a couple of the guys had guitars slung around their shoulders but I wasn’t seeing as much blistering play as I would have expected. This is a Rap Rock or Rap Metal band that seemed to be using samples of some classic Metal riffs while they did their thing and by the way, they do all of this while sporting masks.

hollywood undead, hollywood undead live photos
Hollywood Undead by Ken Pierce (2009)

Some have said “oh it’s a Slipknot bite” but in all honesty the masks of the Hollywood Undead reminded me more of those guys in the Dance Crew of Jabbawokeez who I caught late one night on MTV while channel surfing. During the introduction to what they do portion of the set the band was very, very in the face of the crowd. Some of the audience members even sported masks of their own and I had to say that I admired the details and work that they put into them. They group was supporting their debut CD entitled “Swan Songs” which as you know refers to ones final act and that was an interesting choice of titles to say the least. It wasn’t my thing I must admit but the sold out venue was telling me that I was in the minority here this evening. The crowd sure loved them and was eating up every word that the band said. I’ve never been much for the whole Rap meets Rock or Metal thing and while I got a kick out of when it was done by Anthrax so many years ago, I felt that the whole scene for that ended in the late nineties. Yes bands like Linkin Park and Rage Against The Machine broke barriers in this kind of genre during their earliest years but there was nothing ground breaking about what was happening here as the group sang about “Bitches” and “Pimpin’”. The visuals were rather in your face though as the guys climbed atop the amps that led up to the balcony and did their swaying and rhyming from up there much to the pleasure of the fans on that side of the room. The guys in TDEP did this as well but their lead singer literally propelled himself up there like a rocket and it was far more unnerving than this display. This was like something out of a Rap video.

hollywood undead, hollywood undead live photos
Hollywood Undead by Ken Pierce (2009)

It seemed that about during the fifth song that the masks came off and by doing so they had really lost me because it made it seem like less of their image and more like a gimmick. KISS, Slipknot and Mushroomhead all keep their faces masked during their performances and this adds to and builds the mystique of a project like this whether it be Rap or Rock and Roll or Metal. I felt that by doing this they showed that the covered faces were nothing special to them in the end and essentially used as just a prop. It bothered me because I know how hard bands work at crafting an image that puts a lasting visual in your head and by doing so for only a few tunes you come off not as genuine to your fans. By my calculation they seemed to play a good eleven numbers from their “Swan Songs” CD over the course of their fifteen song set. With the album being their debut I am guessing that the other tracks are bonus tunes that are available on a certain configuration of the CD.

hollywood undead, hollywood undead live photos
Hollywood Undead by Ken Pierce (2009)

In the end this was still an interesting night with the best visuals going to the Hollywood Undead but the best music going to Senses Fail and the best in your face vibe coming from Haste The Day. As far as the first opener, sorry, it didn’t work at all. Clearly though this was a show that appealed to a particular group of audience demographic as while I rode the train home I met a group of fans who were absolutely raving about what they had just seen. I showed them some of the photos we snared and they liked them but were curious as to how I had not been floored by the overall performance and left unimpressed. They told me that I “just didn’t get it” and while they might be correct as far as this band goes, they have a lot of musical adventuring ahead of them in their lives to do for me to hold a grudge against the statement. Perhaps going forward the guys in Hollywood Undead will make something a little bolder happen with this project or perhaps this tour will be the swan song for them like their album lets you believe.

Full Brokencyde Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/brokencyde-live-photos-fillmore-at-irving-plaza-3102009/
Full Haste The Day Photo Gallery:
Full Senses Fail Photo Gallery:
Full Hollywood Undead Photo Gallery: https://piercingmetal.com/hollywood-undead-live-photos-fillmore-at-irving-plaza-3102009/

Senses Fail Set List:
1. Intro
2. Lungs Like Gallows
3. Four Years
4. Cute When You Scream
5. Rum Is For Drinking
6. Calling All Cards
7. Blackout
8. * sample *
9. Family Tradition
10. Wolves At The Door
11. Garden State
12. Bite To Break Skin
13. Buried A Lie
14. Sick Or Sane
15. Matrini Kiss
16. * sample *
17. Can’t Be Saved

Hollywood Undead Set List:
1. Undead
2. Sell Your Soul
3. Bottle N A Fun
4. Dead In Ditches
5. Pimpin’
6. – solo –
7. Bitches
8. California
9. Los Angeles
10. Black Dahlia
11. Pain
12. City
13. Young
14. Everywhere I Go
15. Number 5

The fans of Hollywood Undead put some work into their own presentation before they came to the show.  We snapped a couple of photos of the ones in the front against the barricade.

A Hollywood Undead Diehard

I liked that the fans were getting “suited up” in some sense to be in better spirit for the group that they enjoyed so much.  It makes the show different to watch from the bands point of view as well.

Diehard Hollywood Undead Fan #2

I liked both masks, but leaned to the overall design of this one a little more.

Official Website: http://site.hollywoodundead.com/
Official Website: http://www.sensesfail.com
Official Website: http://www.hastetheday.com
Official Website: http://www.myspace.com/brokencyde

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