Friday, June 5, 2015

Ronnie Radke's Three-Ring Circus Brings Down The House of Blues in Chicago


I drove into the city on May 29 with my friend and very low expectations for the show we were about to see. Several months ago, I bought Falling In Reverse tickets on a whim, but as we approached one of Chicago's most beautiful venues, I was starting to regret my decision. Considering the sheer amount of people who said "I'm sorry" when I told them I was going to a Falling In Reverse show paired with the reputation they have (ahem, kicking people out and throwing mic stands), I was a bit concerned that I was wasting my money. The show started later than I thought it did, leaving my friend and I squished together in a hot room for two hours. However, I tried to keep a smile on my face, and when the opening band Ghost Town came on I breathed a sigh of relief.

Ghost Town had great sound quality and gave an entertaining performance, but no one really knew their music so the crowd experience wasn't very exciting. Ghost Town's blend of rock and electronic pop was refreshing; Falling In Reverse picked a good opener. Next up was Falling in Reverse themselves performing the entirety of "Dying is Your Latest Fashion," a feat that would require a lot of stamina considering they would turn around afterwards and play a normal hour long set. Finally hearing "Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliche" live (pardon the cliche) made my heart jump for joy, "The Webs We Weave" was an absolutely magical opening statement, and their performance of "The Day I Left The Womb" was just as emotional and heartfelt as the song deserves.

Never to be outdone - even by themselves - Falling In Reverse hopped back onstage after their musical trip down memory lane, this time in front of a circus tent backdrop decorated with flashing strings of lights. They opened with "Chemical Prisoner," which features one of their best guitar solos, technically complex and full of beautiful runs. From the start, it was clear that the pit was pretty intense, and the show had a minimal number of twelve-year-olds in attendance unlike what I was prepared for. "Rolling Stone" was one of the most memorable songs, the band giving it their all as the audience tried to keep up with the constant switching between rap, pop and metalcore. During the breakdown before the final chorus, the audience went absolutely wild, and many - myself included - dove into the pit.
Ronnie Radke performing on the Three-Ring Circus - source

A particularly memorable moment occurred when singer Ronnie Radke introduced a song by splitting the crowd down the middle and saying, "If you brought an infant or a toddler tonight, I want you to throw them right in the middle of that pit, this is the heaviest song you'll ever hear." I was immediately filled with buzzing nerves, but I barely had time to process my fear before the band launched into "Bad Girls Club," complete with neon colored strobe lights. I danced my ass off during that song, 80's club style, and probably made a complete fool of myself. The best part was that I didn't care at all, and no one else did either. I fell in love with "Guillotine IV (The Final Chapter)" that night (which I highly recommend you check out, it's gnarly), and had an amazing time jamming to "Alone" even though it's a total guilty pleasure song. Ronnie's energy captivated the crowd that night and brought us all together. As I found out, a Falling in Reverse show is the only place you can mosh, dance like you're in the club, and get the experience of a rap concert all in one.

From the moment Ronnie started a sentence with, "I am very, very aware....", fans erupted with screams and streamers flew through the air as Falling In Reverse launched into their final song, "Just Like You." Audience members put their arms around each other and swayed back and forth, and in that moment I realized the true bonding power of music, even if it's not the best or most meaningful music. I walked in to House of Blues that night with the bar set very low, and I left covered in streamers, with several new friends and the memories of the most amazing night I'd had in a long time. Well done, Falling In Reverse - people can say what they want, but you really know how to put on a damn good show.

Watch Falling In Reverse's full set on Yahoo! Live here.