On a Saturday night in late January, as the temperature had finally (and unfortunately) fallen to where it typically is in the midwest this time of the year, long-time supporters of Silverstein arrived at Varsity Theatre for their anniversary tour.
For this tour, Silverstein is playing the entirety of their 2003 album When Broken is Easily Fixed, as well as a greatest hits section. For hardcore fans, the concept is so full of perfection and variety that it was incapable of being disappointing.
Florida based Capstan was confident and explosive, taking to the stage with a gusto that shook the cold air from the room. They recently signed to Fearless Records and released a new music video for their song “Before the Sun.” I’m a big fan because it gives off massive throwback A Day to Remember vibes. It’s very similar to their Homesick era.
I loved how genuinely grateful Capstan seemed to be there. Admitting that creates a heartwarming vulnerability and humanizes the experience of a show. Who doesn’t like to see people working toward a goal, becoming increasingly successful, and enjoying every minute of it?
Capstan closed their set with “Wax Poetic,” which was different sonically than what they had played most of the night. The first section of the song sounded closer to the new age pop-punk that blew up around 2014 (think Knuckle Puck). They pulled off this changeup well. It made for a great addition to their set and a strong, memorable closer.
As Cities Burn
Next was Nashville’s As Cities Burn. They were energetic as all get out, which was definitely enjoyable.
Oddly, frontman Tj Bonnette didn’t come on stage for quite some time. Seriously, he showed up about 3/4 of the way into their opening song, and that’s no exaggeration. Weird flex, but okay.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty standard for the frontman to come on last, and to be fair none of his screams started until about that point anyway. It was odd that he just wasn’t there for a while.
Though it was strange, this tactic proved to be effective. Bonnette brought a new zest to their performance and breathed new life into it.
I particularly enjoyed “2020 AD” because it had the most interesting switch up in rhythm, which kept me engaged and on my toes. It also had a slight My Chemical Romance (R.I.P) vibe, especially in the chorus.
Hawthorne Heights has been on my radar for years. It seemed like people were always talking about them.
I was excited to see what they had to bring to the already outstanding show and they didn’t disappoint. They had a wonderful balance in sound and were fun and upbeat! I especially enjoyed “Saying Goodbye.” It was a definite high point and had the crowd jumping around and singing along enthusiastically.
It was also the perfect way to bring the energy back up after playing the more heartwarming “Bring You Back,” during which they reached out and asked fans to raise their phone flashlights in honor of those in our lives who we’ve lost too soon. They also gave a special shoutout to many lost band members in the scene, making for a powerful and meaningful moment.
As expected, the high point of their set was “Ohio is for Lovers,” an absolute staple in the scene. Everyone belted out the lyrics like they were in a group of their best friends. If you haven’t experienced that, you probably should.
The nostalgia lived on. Hawthorne Heights was fantastic.
As mentioned, Silverstein going through their album When Broken is Easily Fixed, as well as a greatest hits portion, made for a monumental and memorable night for hardcore fans. They surely felt grateful and spoiled.
Their set kicked off with a robotic voice filling the Varsity, which perfectly fit with the album art of When Broken is Easily Fixed. The voice then announced the albums opening track, “Smashed into Pieces.”
The first thing I noticed when the band took the stage was that bassist Billy Hamilton intentionally sprinted towards the back of the stage and flopped on his back while still playing along and smiling. This really set the tone for the rest of the evening!
Silverstein clearly have a blast when they’re on stage. Each member beams ear to ear and soaks up the energy from the crowd, only to continuously give it back at ten times the velocity.
It felt good to see Silverstein live after listening to them so much back in high school. It was clear that everyone else around me was enjoying the nostalgia too as they danced, sang, jumped, and waved their arms in the air throughout the night.
I loved finally getting to hear some of my old favorites live, especially “Smile in Your Sleep.” I remember that I had the crude mechanical style remix version of the song on repeat when I was younger (hey, we all make mistakes) and it felt so much better to hear the refined version in person.
Silverstein’s sound was entirely in balance. They sounded eons better in real time than they ever did on record.
Of course, they closed out the night with their most popular song, “My Heroine,” which was just as powerful and full of angst as I remember it being when I overplayed it in high school. There was a true moment of solidarity among the crowd as we screamed back the words as loud as we could, reflecting on the night that we had shared.
If you’re going to do an anniversary tour, do it like Silverstein did: loud, emotional, and packed with nostalgia that is backed by a continual vigor. Well done!
When Broken is Easily Fixed:
1) Smashed into Pieces
2) Red Light Pledge
3) Giving Up
5) Last Days of Summer
6) Bleeds No More
7) Hear Me Out
8) The Weak and the Wounded
9) Wish I Could Forget You
10) When Broken Is Easily Fixed
11) The Afterglow
12) Smile in Your Sleep
13) Call It Karma
16) Texas Mickey
18) Lost Positives
19) Discovering the Waterfront
21) My Heroine