Venue – The Palladium
Location – Worcester, MA
Date – December 15th, 2017
Lineup – Vanna, Eighteen Visions, Knocked Loose, Like Pacific, Lions Lions, On Broken Wings, End, Sharptooth & others.
There are very few bands to have built up such a loyal fanbase in the last twelve years as Vanna have. They themselves told me they believe it to just be mostly luck, but after seeing them a dozen times over the course of their career, after meeting them on several occasions, and even getting to interview Davey once, I would have to respectfully disagree. And on April 28th after the fairly heartbreaking news that Letlive were calling it quits, Vanna announced they were calling it a day as well. But luckily not before one final tour. And once I found out they would be putting on a final show in their home state of Massachusetts, I knew I’d have to make the trip up for it. Add in an absolutely stellar lineup of their closest friends. Bands such as Knocked Loose, End, Like Pacific, Kublai Khan, Sharptooth etc. And even the addition of the recently reformed Eighteen Visions, which Davey himself said he thought would never happen. All in all, I don’t think anyone knew exactly just what surprises they were in for.
Unfortunately I was unable to make it in for the first couple bands, and I ended up missing out on seeing Currents, Sharptooth, and Roseview. On top of that it was also incredibly slam packed upstairs, so i was only able to catch a minute of so of the On Broken Wings and End sets, both of which sounded great as I would’ve expected.
The first full set of the night I managed to catch were Lions Lions, the band whom I was definitely the least familiar with. And despite being on of the first few bands early on to play the stage, the energy they gave off showed they could hold their own. It was also a nice treat to see Brandon Davis (Vanna’s original drummer) on stage again for the first time in years.
I would be lying if I said that I was much of a fan of pop punk in general, but there’s always been something to me that’s stood out about Like Pacific. Maybe it’s the slight metallic tone they give out, or the sense of musicianship plus technicality that I seldom find in the genre. Whatever it is, they always put on a great performance. And this time was no different, they wasted absolutely no time getting the crowd up and going and fully immersed in the show.
I’m not entirely certain what it is about Knocked Loose, I’ve just never been able to make myself a fan. I tried several times, went to see them at Warped Tour, as well as given “Laugh Tracks” a chance on several occasions. Nothing ever stuck with me. With that being said, the band absolutely blew away any and all expectations this night. I’m not sure what had changed from seeing them back in July on Warped and seeing them now, but everything sounded fuller. The band leveled the crowd, showing off their peculiar blend of melody and crushing hooks. And even despite them being a support band for the evening, they performed themselves like headliners. After tonight, there’s no doubt in my mind that this band will be huge one day.
Even though it was evident that we were all here for what would come after, I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t equally as anxious and anticipating getting to finally witness Eighteen Visions in person. “Until The Ink Runs Out” is a monumental record for the modern age of metalcore bands, as well as my own taste. One of the things I instantly and continuously noticed throughout their set, was just how devastatingly aggressive their breakdowns truly were. And coming from someone who is incredibly picky about breakdowns, I was never at any point ready for their set to end. And I have to say that being from Florida, the coolest part of their set was seeing Josh James performing after joining them fully as the second guitarist. If you get the chance to go see Eighteen Visions perform in the coming months, I recommend you not pass it up.
After twelve bands, and roughly five hours of music on two stages, it was finally time to see Vanna off. And without wasting a moment of time, the band surprisingly busted right into ‘The Few And The Far Between’. About four songs in came the first surprise of the set, with Lauren Kashan of Sharptooth joining Vanna on stage for a guest spot on ‘Year Of The Rat’. One of the two coolest things of the entire night came at about halfway through the set, when Davey sat down and invited the original lineup of the band to come on stage to perform a handful of songs from the ‘Curses’ and ‘A New Hope’ records. And as a longtime fan of the band, having waited roughly a decade to hear some of those songs live, much less with the original lineup, was an experience I won’t soon forget. And after just over an hour into the set, Davey addressed the crowd on the importance of the song ‘Digging’. Saying that while it was the first time in writing a song where he was truly able to open up and “be myself” with anyone through his music, that it was also a song he wrote for the band’s fans. Trying, and failing to hold back tears, he addressed the crowd by saying that it was they who changed him and saved his life. The next thing to happen is without a doubt the highlight of the entire year for live music; Davey once more invited all three past singers Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis, Joe Bragel, as well as original drummer Brandon Davis back on stage for a performance of ‘I am The Wind, You Are The Feather’. And at the end of it all, and having given up on trying to hold back any tears, Davey once more addresses crowd; Thanking his bandmates, family, and fans for saving his life. And appropriately enough, the band starts into an encore performance of ‘Flower’, with Davey bringing out his wife to dance with during the acoustic outro. And with a final bow and group photo with the crowd, the band bid everyone with “This isn’t goodbye, it’s just see you later. Thank you all, goodnight.”.
RIP Vanna: 2004-2017
1)The Few And The Far Petween
2)The Lost Art Of Staying Alive
3)The Toxic Pretender
4)Year Of The Rat (feat. Lauren Kashan of Sharptooth)
6)Void (feat. Eric Gross)
8)Trashmouth (feat. Chris Preece)
9)Let’s Have An Earthquake (feat. Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis)
10)We Ate The Horse You Rode In On (feat. Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis, Joe Bragel, Brandon Davis)
11)Dead Language For A Dying Lady (feat. Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis, Joe Bragel, Brandon Davis)
12)The Alarm (feat. Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis, Brandon Davis)
13)Safe To Say (feat. Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis)
16)Piss Up A Rope (feat. Eric Gross)
18)I Am The Wind, You Are The Feather (feat. Chris Preece, Evan Pharmakis, Joe Bragel, Brandon Davis)