December 4, 2013
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Andy Upton
The Devil Wears Prada
Screaming For Vengeance At The Dallas HOB
Being relatively new to the Metal-core (or melodic hardcore) concert scene, I was not quite prepared for the continued screaming and rapid fire drum beat that exuded from each band at The Devil Wears Prada concert at the Dallas, Texas House of Blues. Also, I have never seen so many stretched earlobes gathered in one place, but the late teen/early twenty crowd was sporting quite a few gauges. Still today, it is funny that random crowd surfing gets everyone so amped up at a live performance.
The opening three bands: Texas in July, Volumes and The Ghost Inside, all played strong, short sets that leaned heavy on the screaming and over jumping. A very nondescript beginning to the nights music, but got harder (and better) from one band to the next. I would say that The Ghost Inside showed the most talent and refinement, could be the next band to take a bigger step on national scene. Their lead singer, Jonathan Vigil, looks like the frat boy next door but his powerful voice quickly dispelled that theory. Super sweet and quiet while talking to the crowd = very angry and loud when singing his songs.
I spoke to a few die-hard fans before The Devil Wears Prada came on. The overwhelming theme that I picked up on is that TDWP have very deep lyrics and are very loyal to their followers. As they took the stage in support of their recent release, 8:18, hundreds of amateur videographers began filming the band. I'm sure that half of those were uploaded to YouTube within a few minutes of the shows end. Lights down and a pre-recorded female voice speaking to the audience gave way to singer Mike Hranica's growling voice followed by the rest of the band's full assault on their instruments. The sound was heavy on synthesizers by touring keyboardist Jonathan Gerring and the twin guitar attack of Chris Rubey and Jeremy DePoyster. The rhythm section of bassist Andy Trick and drummer Daniel Williams balanced out the sound.
Lead singer Hranica was a blurry ball of energy flying all over the stage. In fact, the band members not up on risers stayed out on the fringes of the stage to allow plenty of room for Mike to do whatever he wanted. I'd say his voice is a mix of angst-driven screams combined with some deep guttural growls. Most of the lyrics were undecipherable by me but not to the throngs of fans slamming around the floor. The crowd simply loved it - banging their heads and singing right along to songs such as "Outnumbered" off of the Zombie EP and "Louder Than Thunder" from With Roots Above and Branches Below LP. For me, the latter song was the highlight of the show. Hranica strapped on a guitar and DePoyster took over the singing duties for this long drawn-out number. His vocals were much cleaner and understandable than Hranica's and with so emotion.
Later they took a small foray into some songs from their new disc 8:18 including the title track and another new song that seemed to lose their fan base. At the end of the show, The Devil Wears Prada barely had left the stage before the fans were screaming for more. They obliged with "Dead Throne" and "Mammoth," off of their 2011 Dead Throne disc.
As I tried to collect my thoughts at the end of the show, my mind kept reflecting back on the over abundance of screaming and pounding loud music. A lot of the songs sound similar and followed the same path to conclusion = screaming start, followed by rising the sound up to a crescendo... and then a quiet lull and a very strong punch to the face. A few highlights were seeing the front row fans in the balcony dancing so hard I thought they were about to come over the rail. All in all, the show was a great microcosm of the Metal-core scene and it looks like The Devil Wears Prada is a great representation for this genre of music.