Live Music Review: Blindside in Hollywood
I had the immense pleasure of attending a Blindside concert on December 6th at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. Blindside is a Swedish hardcore band, and one of my favorite bands of all time. I’ve written a brief history of the band in my Old Music Tuesday series, here. I also shared a song for Halloween called King of the Closet, here.
I was very excited to see Blindside play. I’d seen them before a couple times, but the last time was in 2001. They had since released 4 LPs and and EP and I hadn’t heard any of that material in a live setting before. The tour was to commemorate their mainstream debut, 2002’s Silence, so they played that album in full. Typically, I’m not a huge fan of watching an album being played as I prefer the surprise of not knowing what comes next. However, sometimes it works and this was one of those times.
I attended the concert alone, expecting to make friends. I did! Most of the night before and between sets, I chatted with two young guys who drove down from Santa Maria, California. (That’s about a two hour drive, one way.) We talked about bands we liked, artwork, playing instruments, the Paris shooting, and Scott Weiland’s untimely (but totally predictable) death. I don’t mean to be a morbid guy; it just happens. I hope they didn’t mind; they seemed cool about going wherever the conversation organically lead us.
Hearts Like Lions
The opener was Long Beach’s Hearts Like Lions, whom I’d never heard. They’re a Tooth & Nail Records’ signing from Long Beach, California. My two young friends were more excited to see them than Blindside, so I was expecting good things.
They didn’t disappoint. The band reminded me of a post-hardcore band called As Cities Burn. The music was indie rock with a post-hardcore flavor to it. The singer did most of the talking between songs, but the bass player stole the show. He had the most energy, by far, and was bouncing around the stage the entire set. His movement sort of reminded me of Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I’ve embedded a music video, below, so you can get an idea of their music and their live show. You can see hints of the bassist bopping around, and the rest of the video is scenes of the band touring the west coast of the USA. I actually recognize quite a few of the locations as I used to drive up and down I-5 several times a year for my old job.
Setlist: (I can’t find it; if you have it, please contact me!)
Sound: ★★★ out of 5
Energy: ★★★★½ out of 5
Live Performance: ★★★★ out of 5
Overall: ★★★½ out of 5
Before Blindside took the stage, the lights were lowered and the Star Wars theme was blasted over the sound system. The crowd went nuts. I think there’s a Star Wars movie coming out this week or something. I dunno; haven’t really seen anything about it. I’m joking, of course.
The crowd went nuts when the band took the stage, and the band was all smiles. Blindside is one of the few bands to keep its original lineup for more than a decade. These four guys love playing music together and you could see it in the opening seconds of the set, before a single note was played.
As I mentioned, the band played the album Silence in full. The song Pitiful got the best response, and the song Time Will Change Your Heart sparked the biggest pit. (I’ve embedded the video for Pitiful below.) The closer was the title track, an acoustic song. It was a treat to see Simon play the acoustic guitar. Christian (the vocalist) told us he’d never done it live before this tour.
Blindside played an encore set of newer songs, which I personally enjoyed more than the first set. They played three songs off of their follow-up to Silence, 2004’s About a Burning Fire, as well as a techno-influenced track off 2005’s The Great Depression and a brand new song called Grave Digger. My Alibi is the techno-hardcore track and was probably my favorite song of the night. The theater turned into a Euro dance club for about a minute and Christian busted out his trademark tai-chi inspired dance moves. I was happy to hear Hooray, It’s L.A. It’s not my favorite song, but it’s very fitting given the location. Christian mentioned they hadn’t rehearsed it, but they didn’t mess it up as far as I can tell. I thought they might, as Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins) plays guitar on the album.
The craziest pit of the night was for the closing song, About a Burning Fire. It seemed to me that everyone in the theater was involved and singing along. It was the perfect cap to an excellent performance. Blindside’s still got it after all these years. If you like melodic hardcore music, go see them while you still can!
Setlist: Caught a Glimpse | Pitiful | Sleepwalking | Cute Boring Love | The Endings | You Can Hide It | Thought Like Flames | Time Will Change Your Heart | Painting | Midnight | Coming Back to Life | She Shut Your Eyes | Silence
Encore Set: Eye of the Storm | Grave Digger | My Alibi | Hooray, It’s L.A. | About a Burning Fire
Setlist: ★★★★ out of 5
Sound: ★★★★½ out of 5
Energy: ★★★★★ out of 5
Live Performance: ★★★★★ out of 5
Overall: ★★★★½ out of 5
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