We arrived at around 6:50 or 7 o'clock and the first band, Bear vs. Shark, was already at the final two songs of their set. I had heard a couple songs by them before and was pretty eager to see what they had to offer, having enjoyed all the material I heard. Bear Vs. Shark gets into their music, at they rock out pretty well. They rarely made mistakes, and their live show sounds just as good as their recorded material. I like their singer. Very solid two songs. I wish I had seen more.
I remember someone introduced me to Haste a little over a year ago, but I hadn't heard much about them since then. Their singer has a scream that resembles Davey Havok's earlier years (which I think is a plus), and a decent singing voice as well. I really wanted them to play "Meridian Summer", mainly because of the breakdown were the singers scream "bastard!", but my prayers went unanswered. Haste puts on a decent show, but after awhile they begin to sound repetetive. Their initial metal riffs and shouts begin to wear on you after awhile. They played a set that Haste fans would probably enjoy...I guess.
Being a huge Braid fan, I was familiar with some of Hey Mercedes' work. They definetly bring their records to life in their live show. I always thought that Hey Mercedes seemed a little dull in the studio. Live shows are almost always better than recorded material, and Hey Mercedes' innner child of rock came out. They were going nuts all over the stage, and they sound great live. The high point for me was when they broke out into "Bells", a song that I just can't seem to get sick of. While Hey Mercedes seemed to be fine on the small stage at the Northstar Bar, I think their live act would be more fitting in a larger arena. They seem to have a very commanding aura and definetly had the largest crowd of the night. Hey Mercedes seems to be universally appealing; people of all types were in the crowd for their set. The most surprising aspect of the people in the crowd was the large amount of people that seemed to be in their 30's and even older. They seem to have tapped into the older audience. Hey Mercedes kept the energy up their entire set, and didn't miss a note along the way.
When headliners, Hopesfall, took the stage, people were ready to rock out. There is something epic about Hopesfall's music. Like, some bands are capable of making their music seem much larger than the band itself. For instance, Hey Mercedes creates tunes that are serious, fun, and creative, and guides the listener in with their sheer energy. Hopesfall has a different kind of energy - the kind that boils up and explodes out into you like a supernova. Their music is equally as brutal as it is soothing and inviting. They launched into their set with a great intensity. While I thought that their albums were not recorded as well as they should have been, their live show was crystal clear and oozing with passion. The combination of one guitar shredding away in a distorted frenzy and the other guitar gliding through echoing melodies is near deadly, and very awesome. "Of The Clouds" and "April Left With Silence" were the hight points of the set. They also played an awesome new song that they didn't mention any title to, but its good to see that Hopesfall is still crafting some awesome songs. They closed without any vocal problems, the singer was able scream and sing the entire set without much problem.
If you can get to this show I would recommend it. Show up on time, because Bear Vs. Shark is a band with some seriously good sounds, and should be higher up on the set list. Watch out for them in the future. If you're a fan of Hopesfall, I would definetly try to get out to see this show. There was nothing that completely blew me away or crushed my expectations (they were already pretty high for Hopesfall), but it was a good show overall.