Underoath conquers Cleveland

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On Wednesday, I got the immense privilege to see and shoot the almighty Underoath at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland, OH. And for most people reading this, I could literally just say that and that could be the end of the review because, well, it’s Underoath. Underoath defined and inspired our music scene. But I promise that I’ll say more.

Even at soundcheck, casually performing snippets of songs for fans, you could feel emotions were already running high amongst fans there for VIP. It was a situation I never imagined seeing again, as Underoath has been one of my all time favorite bands plus one of the few bands responsible for inspiring to get me involved in the scene and shooting.

The anticipation kept growing and growing until it filled the sold out theatre and Underoath took the stage to perform, what I think, are their best known albums, They’re Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line.

Finally, everything I could have ever wanted and hoped for was happening on this stage. It was already such a surreal feeling to be on the other side of the barricade shooting; the last time I’d seen Underoath was at their farewell tour in Toronto screaming their lyrics back from the front row the entire time. If you ever thought that the guys were getting old or that this would be nowhere as good as the Underoath heydays of years ago, banish that thought from your mind right now. Because that is the furthest thing from the truth, this group of five guys is back and, dare I say, better than ever?

With some bands taking a while to build their energy on stage, vocalist Spencer Chamberlain and company started raging right from the get go as they launched into ‘Young and Aspiring’ then into one of my favorites off of Chasing Safety, ‘A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White’. Synth player Chris Dudley’s spirit fingers were back in full force as well as guitarist Tim McTague’s constant insanity on stage. I’ve always said it’s the power of the beard.

Chamberlain will always be one of my favorite vocalists to watch perform or capture images of because it’s obvious how much of himself he puts into each performance. And, of course, seeing drummer Aaron Gillespie back behind the kit playing Underoath songs is almost as exciting as being a little kid during Christmas.

After ripping through They’re Only Chasing Safety, the band took a brief break as a short video interlude played on the projection screen above, only to come back and destroy our expectations with their rendition of Define the Great Line. Even a few days later, I’m still blown away by how they were able to keep up the energy for roughly one and a half to two hours without waning.

Underoath is back and better than ever. Their passion and energy never left, it’s finally back in the best sort of form. If you have the chance to catch their Rebirth tour, drop everything and proceed past (down, set) go to get as close as you can to the barricade and scream the lyrics back in their faces as loud as you can.

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