Fans lost shoes and hats — and in a few cases, blood and consciousness — as pop-punk band The Story So Far hit the Upstate Concert Hall on May 20 with one of the most beautifully chaotic shows so far this year.
The energy that filled the room was remarkable — people were constantly moving, crowd-surfing, stage-diving and moshing. This was a night that was made by the fans, but as much energy as they gave, the musicians gave right back. Even the performers made note: the show was exceptional. The Story So Far frontman Parker Cannon said towards the end of their set, “This is the best show of this tour. I’m serious.”
The night started out on a bit of a mellow note, with a softer-sounding band, Souvenirs. Then the venue really started to light up when Terror took the stage. Not even a minute into their first song, fans were crowd surfing in droves to get to the stage, and opening up insanely large mosh pits. The band’s frontman, Scott Vogel, was the most energetic and interactive performer of the night; he even shared the mic four times with fans who crowd-surfed to the front. The audience lit up and cheered as Vogel stopped to say, “This isn’t our show, this is your show.”
Next up was Four Year Strong. The best part about their performance was their facial expressions. Once they finished performing their final song, fan favorite “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer),” you could see the crowd was ready for the band they had been waiting all night for, The Story So Far.
When you go to see a hardcore band perform, there is the expectation of excessive movement in the audience. When I say that fans were being lifted up to crowd surf in droves, I mean it. There were points where so many fans were stage diving, that they would be jumping on top of one another, on top of the crowd. In such a scenario, injuries are almost inevitable — if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, you will get hurt.
Cheri Grisafe was one of the unlucky few who fell victim to the energy and activity inside the venue. “I was in the front row against the stage,” she said. “A crowd surfer went to run on stage and his knee hit me in the face.” Grisafe was taken out of the crowd, and directed backstage to see the venue’s EMT, in tears with a badly broken nose. Once given ice for her nose, she continued to watch the show from backstage, showing just how much dedication the fans of this genre can have to see their favorite band perform. “I’m watching the show regardless of if I’ve broken my nose or not,” Grisafe said.
Unfortunately, she was not the only one left with injuries. One young woman was knocked unconscious by a stage-diving fan. The group of fans surrounding her immediately noticed, made a large protective circle around her, and screamed to security personnel for help. Luckily, the EMT was able to bring the young woman around, and she was then carried outside of the venue.
The bloodshed revives the ongoing debate of whether this type of activity should be allowed at shows in this genre. One of the fans involved in the melee, Keegan Graziane of Rotterdam, gave some insight as to why it happens. When asked why he decided to fling himself off the stage onto the writhing crowd in front of him after seeing the injuries that night, he said: “I was in the moment. I wanted to be a part of that moment as much as possible, and had so much energy because I’ve waited so long to see [The Story So Far].”
THE MAIN EVENT
Many others in the audience were just as eager to see the headliners. Within seconds of the five-piece band from Walnut Creek, California, stepping out on stage, the audience made more noise than they had the entire night. During their opening song, “Things I Can’t Change,” Cannon did a stage dive onto the crowd with his microphone, and shared it around with fans who sang along.
Slightly disappointing in comparison was the performance of the rest of the band. Bassist Kelen Capener seemed to be the only one with as much vibrance as Cannon on stage. All members played their instruments impressively, but not at the same level as Capener or Cannon.
The crowd however, seemed to fill that void with an excessive amount of activity during the fourth song of the set — “Quicksand,” a fan favorite that provoked arguably the biggest display of intensity, strength and energy from the crowd.
The band’s new self-titled album was released May 19, the day before the show. Yet, instead of bombarding the audience with all new material, most of their set came from their 2014 release “What You Don’t See.” They did play some songs from their new album, and some from their first full-length release, “Under Soil and Dirt.”
The Story So Far is one of the biggest bands in the pop-punk scene right now, and their performance at the almost sold-out show left lots of happy fans. The majority left with smiles on their faces, and lots of sweat — their own and their fellow fans’ — on their clothing.