On March 10, 2017, Senses Fail came to House of Blues Orlando to celebrate their 15th year anniversary and playing their entire 2006 album “Still Searching” in full. I remember how good that show was as I had the opportunity to cover and review it. You can read that review here. And now just under a year later, Senses Fail was returning to House of Blues Orlando once again, this time to celebrate the release of their 7th full-length album ‘If There Is Light, It Will Find You’. A very solid crowd filled the House of Blues and the crowd was very excited for the show to get started.
First up was Household, a trio from Minneapolis, MN. They formed back in 2013 and had been considered for a while as a hardcore band and also had more members. But, with their latest album, ‘Everything a River Should Be’, they slowed things down and transitioned more into a rock/emo sound, per vocalist and bassist, Joshua Gilbert. Along with Nathanael Olson (guitar) and Matthew Anthony (drums) they were happy to kick off the show.
They started off with “Away” from ‘Everything a River Should Be’. Though it has a good pace for a rock sound, Joshua’s vocals do make it slip into that emo side he mentions. The song is thoughtful and chilling at the same time. They followed up with “Scared To Be” also from their new album. This song had an interesting mix starting off really slow before getting into a solid rock groove and then slipping back into a slow pace. It was impressive to see how easily they transitioned their sound. As their set continued, the crowd started to get into them more, and by the end of the set, the crowd was cheering for them loudly. Joshua invited the crowd to come visit him at the merch booth after they left the stage. Their set also included “Far From Me” and “Dark Matter” also from their latest album.
Next up was the rock band from Baltimore, MD called Have Mercy. Formed in 2009 it wouldn’t be until 2013 when they would release their first debut album titled “The Earth Pushed Back”. The next year they would release their second full album “A Place of Our Own”. Their most current album is “Make the Best of It”, which was released in 2017. Have Mercy is Brian Swindle (vocals, guitar), Nate Gleason (guitar), Britain Weyant (bass), Ryan Harris (guitar), and Luke Smartnick (drums).
They started off with “Hell” from their first album. It’s a slower paced song getting the crowd into a mellow mood. Brian sings it with such feeling it’ll give you goosebumps. They followed up with “Coexist” from “Make the Best of It”. This song was slightly faster and had more of a rock ballad sound and then picked up in the chorus to more of a solid rock song. Nate, Britain, and Ryan all play hard on stage during their performance, bouncing, jumping, and headbanging. Have Mercy put on a good show on stage with energy, enthusiasm, and solid music. The crowd appreciated their performance with cheers and applause. Their set also included “Good Christian Man” and “Let’s Talk About Your Hair”.
Reggie and The Full Effect took the stage next. The rock band from Kansas City, MO was formed in 1998 by James Dewees who was the keyboardist for The Get Up Kids. The band released five studio albums between 1998 and 2008 before heading off on a final tour and calling it quits. In 2013, James managed a successful Kickstarter for Reggie and the Full Effect’s sixth album titled ‘No Country For Old Musicians’ and went on tour in 2014 to support the record. The band released their seventh album ’41’ on February 23, 2018 through Pure Noise Records. Reggie and the Full Effect are James Dewees (vocals, keyboards), Jeramiah Pauly (lead guitar), Lance Claypool (rhythm guitar), Vincent Caito (bass guitar), and Michael Hansen (drums).
They opened with “Congratulation Smack and Katie” from their 2003 album ‘Under The Tray’. The song has a fast-paced beat with James mixing between playing the keyboard and singing. The crowd was grooving along with the song appreciating the performance. They followed up with “Karate School” from their latest album ’41’. This song was much heavier in sound. I loved the guitar and bass riff to this song. They went back to their first album ‘Greatest Hits 1984-1987’ with “Girl Why’d You Run Away?” The House of Blues fans were bouncing on the floor as Reggie and the Full Effect played on. The band’s energy invigorated the fans and cheered them on. When they were finished the band received a huge ovation from the crowd. Their set also included “Take Me Home, Please” and “Get Well Soon”.
Finally, the band everyone was waiting for, Senses Fail, was ready to take the stage. The hardcore band from Ridgewood, NJ formed in 2002. They recently celebrated their 15th anniversary in 2017 and have produced seven studio albums. Their most recent album was released on February 16, 2018, titled “If There Is Light, It Will Find You”. The album goes back more to their rock origins with much brighter tones than former albums. Senses Fail has gone through a few lineup changes with Buddy Nielsen as the only original member. Senses Fail are Buddy Nielsen (vocals), Gavin Caswell (guitar), Greg Styliades (bass), Steve Carey (drums) and Jason Milbank (guitar).
Unlike the bright lighting of the other bands, Senses Fail dimmed the lights and came out with darker lighting and a tremendous roar from the crowd. They opened with “Family Tradition” from the 2008 album ‘Life Is Not a Waiting Room’. It’s a slower song from some of the songs I’m used to hearing from them. Though it is brilliantly written and filled with emotion. They followed with a much faster-paced song titled “New Jersey Makes, The World Takes” of their latest album. It has a great cadence and chorus that had the entire crowd singing along with them. Next up was “Free Fall Without a Parachute” from the 2002 album “From the Depths of Dreams”.
There are so many things I love about seeing Senses Fail live. First, their energy on stage is off the charts. They are constantly active on stage, pacing, moving, jumping, and Buddy loves to swing his microphone out and then catch it again. Second, Buddy is brutally honest. He openly talks about issues and problems he’s dealt with in his life and shares how he’s dealt with those in the hopes others can learn from his mistakes. “If There Is Light, It Will Find You” was written completely by Buddy and it takes you through a journey of the ups and downs of his life. He just doesn’t say things to get a reaction from the crowd, he says it because he means it. And the Senses Fail fans know and love that about him. Finally, their music is invigorating and if you listen to the lyrics you’ll easily find songs that speak directly to you.
Senses Fail went all out on this show playing a huge set of 18 songs, many from the new album including “Double Cross”, “Elevator to the Gallows”, “First Breath, Last Breath”, and “Gold Jacket, Green Jacket…” Some of the other songs played that night were “Lady in a Blue Dress”, “Calling All Cars”, “New Year’s Eve”, “Bonecrusher”, “Negative Space”, and “Can’t Be Saved”. They encored with three songs including “One Eight Seven” from ‘From Depths of Dreams’, “Rum is for Drinking, Not for Burning”, and “Bite to Break Skin” both from ‘Let It Enfold You’.
Overall, the bands put on solid performances, but Senses Fail truly stole the show. If you get the chance to see them during their tour, do yourself a favor and go. Senses Fail never disappoints on making a concert worth every penny you paid to see them.