Senses, Don’t Fail me Now:

Concerts are meant to be for more than just music – they’re experiences. For many bands, recordings don’t do justice for their live performances. Tonight, Assembly Hall features the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour, with bands that put their emotion into high energy performances with little to no dependence on lighting or special stage effects. “It’s emotional because we don’t bullshit. There are no fireworks or anything – we just play music like we did in our basement,” said Buddy Nielsen, singer/songwriter for Senses Fail, while describing their live show.

Along with Senses Fail, six other bands will be playing, including headliners The Used and 30 Seconds to Mars. The Taste of Chaos tour offers melodic breakdowns, screamy choruses and alternative rock acts with dynamic, well-known front men.

Senses Fail formed about five years ago in New Jersey, and began recording their first full-length record, Let It Enfold You, when Nielsen was only 19 years old. It’s been nearly two years since that release, and now, at the age of 23, Nielsen and the band put out their latest album, Still Searching. Released in October of 2006, the record reflects how the band has grown, matured and improved.

“Growing up, I think the music got better, lyrics got better, production got better, everything got a little bit better. We got it more right,” said Nielsen.

The band has been on tour for eight to nine months a year since the release of Let It Enfold You. “You mature in every way possible, especially going on tour, [and] getting to see all these places,” he explained. “You grow up a lot quicker, and it reflects in your music.” Nielsen’s voice has become more powerful and mature over time, and the production of their newest record has improved, too – Still Searching has a deeper, stronger sound.

“Lyrically, the record has a mood of anxiety and tension, and represents a dark part of my life,” Nielsen said. “The lyrics deal with the subjects of anxiety, depression, faith and questioning a lot of things, [such as] people around me and relationships.”

Senses Fail hope by performing and making records to, “be just more than some people playing music in a rock band and to make some sort of difference,” said Nielsen.

One of the headliners, The Used, is a four-piece from Utah who have traveled rough roads with the release of two records and regular touring. Bert McCracken, the lead singer, keeps the albums transitioning throughout with upbeat, slow and intense songs.

Their music discusses difficult trials – such as substance abuse – that McCracken has gone through in his life, and his attempts at recovery. The band has almost broken up as a result of McCracken’s lifestyle, and their experiences with the tension they’ve gone through make very strong records. McCracken’s instability, mixed with talented musicians produces an energetic, sincere and highly entertaining live performance. Expect
a new record from the band later this year.

Co-headliner 30 Seconds to Mars is an alternative rock band from Los Angeles that is best known for their frontman, Jared Leto. While he is currently a vocalist and guitarist, Leto is also an actor known for participation in movies such as Fight Club, Girl Interrupted, American Pyscho and most notably for his starring role in Requiem for a Dream. The band released their first album in 2002, but became more popular with their latest release, A Beautiful Lie. The album contains MTV and radio features like “From Yesterday,” “The Kill” and “Attack.” Surprisingly, the music is good, considering many actors who cross into the music field fail miserably.

Saosin, an opening act, has been a band in the making for many years. After touring vigorously amidst talk of releasing a full-length record, the band kept fans waiting for about three years before releasing their self-titled debut album. Their music has been categorized as post-hardcore, screamo and rock, with a live act that has built
a fanbase and name for a band who didn’t always have a full-length album.

Emerging artist Chiodos formed outside of Flint, Mich. while the band members were still in high school. Their latest record, All’s Well That Ends Well, mixes styles from influences such as Saves the Day, Queen and At The Drive In. Their songs clash piano, hard guitar riffs, pop-punk and varying vocals from harmonious to screaming. How they work so many styles into a song is questionable but it works.

A newer Victory Records band, Aiden, is a five piece Seattle-based band that is influenced by punk, post hardcore and goth. They categorize themselves as “horror rock,” a term that describes their energy and dark lyrics, along with a horror influence. For example – their band name came from the movie The Ring. Their music is loud, the vocals are high-pitched with occasional screaming, and there will be enough makeup on stage to go around.

Lesser-known Evaline is from Turlock, CA. Their first release, Postpartum Modesty, A Portrait of Skin, is a six-track EP that came out in June 2006 on Warner Brothers Records. The songs are melodic, with instruments from the basic guitar, drums, and bass to others like keyboards, synthesizers and viola. Evaline plan to release their first full-length album this upcoming summer.

Make sure to check out these artists on the Rockstar Taste of Chaos tour at Assembly Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.75 with a $3 UIUC student discount.

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