What’s so fascinating about being in a room with bands in the vein of Counterparts is their ability to transcend you, even while shouting lyrics and blasting the guitars louder than ever.
Thing is that melodic hardcore is a particular way of making music and it’s not something anyone does properly but when they do –oh boy – it’s marvelous! It gives you the chills and it’s captivating. So captivating and when they’re done, you only feel overwhelmed and empty but in a positive way. Oddly, that’s a music that is angry enough to help you proceed to taking all the bad stuff out of your soul, for an hour or two, or an entire evening. It’s great because the cathartic project doesn’t only involve the artists / writers / performers but it also applies to the listener. And you know it’s good, when 80% of the words you hear speak to you, and end up flowing into your veins.
I’m not even exaggerating or trying to grace the reality, I’m speaking of experience and that’s mostly what brought me into listening to that type of music, because you find a strange comfort in it.
Capsize, for instance are the kind of band that makes you feel like you are not alone in his world. But this is something everyone says about music, because everyone relates, more or less to any kind of lyrics, but for my part, it mostly works when it’s written and executed the way Capsize would do. Full of anger and despair, their frustrations are yours. Their sadness is yours, their hopes are yours. The difference between you and them is probably that they know how to express it, they know how to make it sound and it’s awfully accurate. Listen to This Song Made My Think of You or Calming, Crippling or Numb if you want to know what we’re talking about. Want to dig deeper? Go check out all of their debut LP ‘The Angst In My Veins’ and even ‘Live A Burden, Die A Curse’ (2013 EP)
On stage, they’re all extremely involved in what they’re doing and even embodying their words to an extent that is deeply touching. Despite not always facing the most enthusiastic crowds that are not always easy to win over (hello Paris), these guys don’t lose track. They are probably one of the bands that tour the most (nearly) worldwide right now. Only Europe, this tour with Counterparts marks their third in a year, with numerous tours in the USA, Australia and even Asia in between. They never stop, but that’s also how they build their identity and how they give a purpose to their music, which is sharing something for real.
Counterparts are in a similar perspective, only maybe sounding a little less pained and desperate. They’re however aggravated but willing to go through all of the mixed feelings they endure.
In the recent years that they’ve been active internationally, we could witness their growth, through countless tours supporting some of the best (and most popular) bands of our generation, such as Being As An Ocean, Architects or Every Time I Die. It has never been easy for them to gain popularity in Europe, and things went slowly, but definitely surely. They often got assigned with opening slots, which isn’t really ideal, knowing that often people would arrive later, or drink beers or just be stuck in the queue because doors opened late.
The Canadians never gave up and always delivered their best on stage, winning over a few people each time and making their older fans happy. But ever since ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ has been released, Counterparts are making a huge step forward, showing confidence and an artistic maturity that comes to top years of experience. Even Counterparts know how to tickle your scars, help you elevate and shout what’s wrong. Recently their performances have improved a lot and this last tour – which was their first headliner in Europe – was impressing. The band has released a killer record, but the live renditions of the songs are even better, with various moods and states of mind, and a lively atmosphere that keeps you focused so you can never, ever get bored. Maybe they weren’t headlining an arena, but people were definitely here for them, and only the fact that they headlined a successful show in Paris shows that we’re talking about a band that is on the right path, because this is already something! With performances like these, Counterparts highlight that dedication, hard work and perseverance are the key to success.
Sounding slightly different, Senses Fail were also part of this bill and we found this a little bit odd, in the first place, seeing Counterparts headlining over them. Don’t take us wrong, Senses Fail have been active for over a decade now and many of us grew up listening to them. We all do remember them back to when “emo” was a thing, with their other angsty, “emo” counterparts such as Silverstein (with whom they’ll be headlining in North America next month.) Back then, their songs dealt with evil aspects of life but the music itself was lighter and softer in the ears than what they do today. Calling All Cars, for instance fit completely with the other bands of their generation, like Taking Back Sunday and such. Senses Fail‘s music, however, always had a purpose and it’s still the same to this day. As a band, they’ve always been driven by spirituality, acting positively toward social issues and helping out each other, as humans.
Their new album, ‘Pull The Thorns From your Heart’, however holds something new and obviously marks a change in Senses Fail‘s formula. The purpose is still the same, of course, but the means are different. It sounds stronger, angrier and more daring. And that’s because it is stronger. A lot of things change in the course of life, and what happened recently is that frontman Buddy Nielsen had came out as queer, nearly a year ago. Why are we talking about this now? Because it is important. As he says, many of the bad things that happen in this world, in different levels, from bad behaviors to self destruction, or violence come from “people not feeling loved, people not feeling included, people not feeling part of a group”, while there is a lot of things we can give to these people as a community. Nielsen speaks from experience, as not allowing himself to be happy with who he really is for most of his life, led him into doing regrettable things. Now, being able to finally be in tune with himself, allowed him, and the band to speak out about all of these aspects, we should all pay attention to, in the first place. The way they do it is extremely honest and often blunt, which undeniably speaks to a lot of people, to a certain extent.
In Europe, we do not get to see Senses Fail this much, but they’ve been fairly well received, from day 1 and from what we could see, people were indeed shaken by the eleven songs the band had to offer on this tour, Lady In a Blue Dress, Bonecrusher and heartfelt closing Bite To Break Skin being included.
Overall, I’m pretty sure I’m far from being the only one who would love being able to enjoy line ups like this one more often, for numerous reasons. Its quality, obviously and also the opportunity it offers, to get rid of fears and tension. Maybe this still sounds strange to some, but that’s exactly the kind of bands, and music -by extent- that make you feel a little less lonely. It makes you feel home.
Full set of photos will be released next, in the meantime, you can enjoy the above video recap!
Special thanks to Gaëlle Pitrel for her collaboration.