Wednesday at the Fillmore, Pierce the Veil accompanied by DeathbyRomy, Don broco, and The Used had punks of all ages shaking in their combat boots (I counted 87 pairs, including my own). This was the second leg of their Creative Control Tour, and all four groups were very eager to deliver every era of punk to NOLA.
DeathbyRomy is exactly what you would imagine a cool-girl-punk band to be. The crowd was immediately in love with her, and as she got warmed up to being onstage, so did the crowd's energy. Romy and her band were having as much fun as girls at a slumber party singing into a hairbrush, while still screaming about killing people. Romy showed off her vocal range the most with "Hollow," starting out with angelic melodies that turn into a chaotic and head banging growl. Her guitarist and bassist were also shredding like there was no tomorrow for Romy's screamer hit, "The Day I Die" to close out. For their first ever tour, DeathbyRomy was a great energy boost to get the crowd fired up.
Next came Don broco prancing onstage, and I don't know what had the audience more entranced: lead singer Rob Damiani's guttural growl that sounded like it came from a man fifty years older than him, or his magnificent mullet. Don broco managed to combine every generation of rock into one set. Imagine 80's hair metal meets 2000s pop punk, if you even can. Damiani coupled with drummer Matt Donnelly's harmonies had the whole crowd swooning. Between their sound and their look, Don Broco is the lovechild of The Cure and any nerd and/or jock in a John Hughes movie. Their fan favorite was "Bruce Willis," where they opened the moshpit and had the crowd chanting "yippie ki yay, motherfucker!"
The final opener was The Used, which were the kindest, angriest sounding group of men surrounded by pink roses. Lead vocalist Bert McCracken delivered the most quintessential pop punk emo voice imaginable, complete with beautiful background screams from bassist Jeph Howard. They engaged their fired up audience with an entire cataclysm of repeated "fuck you!" chants and middle fingers. McCracken then made sure everyone was happy and smiling and boasted that they had been a strong-running emo band for 23 years. And he seemed just as in love with his audience as if it were his first show ever. He opened up the mosh pit for his "pop punk Shakespeare sililoquy," in which he recited Macbeth and immediately broke into a good scream, because punk rock. While only about seven people were participating in the mosh, the rest of the crowd were completely head over heels for The Used.
The moment the punks had all been waiting for: Pierce the Veil hoisted their giant white veil over the stage (no, to my sore disappointment, they did not pierce it). After a few teaser riffs and a few drum beats, the veil fell and out came Vic Fuentes himself. Guitarist Tony Perry was enjoying himself in his theatrical frolicking onstage, and swinging his guitar around his neck by the strap, terrifying us all. But they brought the fire, and smoke, literally. And confetti. The bouncing crowd had the floor shaking hard under their combat boots. The highlight of the show was when Fuentes brought up Jessica, a lucky girl he selected from the audience to serenade. "I'm overwhelmed and shocked. It was the best moment of my life," she told me in tears. One of the most iconic emo bands definitely gave NOLA what they promised: "the best night of your fuckin' life!"
*All photos by Sarah Douglas.