Pierce The Veil and Sum 41 kicked off the stacked We Will Detonate! Tour with two back to back shows in Denver at The Ogden Theatre over the weekend. With a busy month of shows ahead of them, it seemed that every band on the bill was ready to pull out all of the stops for the opening night of tour, and despite a few small snags along the way, the show was a success.
Starting off the show was indie/pop duo, Chapel, and although concert-goers were still trickling in through the doors when they went on (the show started only half an hour after doors instead of the usual hour, so the venue wasn’t quite full yet) Carter Hardin & Kortney Grinwis were determined to start the show off on the right foot, and in that regard, their performance was a success. It was apparent that many of the fans - especially those up on the barricade, camping out for the perfect spot for the headliners - were not familiar with Chapel’s music, but by the end of their dreamy set, much of the crowd was bobbing their heads along.
Coming strong right out of the gate was the second band of the night, Emarosa. Having seen them quite a few times in the past, I knew to expect vocalist Bradley Walden’s wild stage antics, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. Before he even sang the first note of their opening song, “Sure,” Walden was off of the stage and running along the barricade to greet surprised fans. Throughout the performance, he was on and off the stage multiple times, making the trek through the crowd to sing at soundboard before later climbing atop a fan’s shoulders. But more impressive than Walden’s usual stage antics was the band’s sound. Compared to the last time I caught the band at the Vans Warped Tour last summer, it seemed like they’ve taken things up a notch once more. Musically, the band sounded more solid than ever, especially for it only being the first date of tour, and Walden’s vocals sounded flawless. By the time they closed out their set, I was left wondering how Sum 41 and Pierce The Veil were going to one up it, but hopeful for another couple of hours of great music.
And of course, Sum 41 didn’t disappoint. Much like Walden, vocalist Deryck Whibley seemed to be more on top of his game than ever. With a high altitude that many singers seem to struggle with, Denver is a difficult city to kick off a month long tour. These bands didn’t have a few weeks worth of dates to warm up or prepare themselves for a grueling hour long set, but Sum 41 seemed to pull it off effortlessly. Throughout the night, they bombarded fans with hit after hit, and it didn’t take long to get the crowd going. About halfway through their set, the band unleashed giant inflatable balls for the crowd to throw around, making the show feel more like a festival and less like a mid-April headliner. The band closed out their set with their massive hit, “Fat Lip,” much to the enjoyment of fans, and by the time they left the stage, it was to chants of, “One more song!” despite the fact that they weren’t headlining.
After Sum 41, it was apparent that quite a few fans were leaving for the evening, but thankfully the venue didn’t clear out too much. The wait between sets was a bit long, though, and as soon as the curtain dropped and Pierce The Veil took the stage, it was apparent why. It seemed that the band pulled out all of the stops for this tour. In addition to the white curtain used to build suspense, there was “TNT,” which a masked figure used to set off colorful streamers, kicking off the set with a literal bang. The stage setup was intricate, with the obvious “We Will Detonate!” theme playing into the look, and for a first show, things seemed to go well. There were a few shaky moments production-wise, but as far as sound goes, Pierce The Veil were right on par with the rest of the bands that night, opening with “Texas Is Forever” playing fan favorite song, “Yeah Boy and Doll Face.” The band also surprised fans with a cover of Julia Michaels’ “Issues” and a quick, clever mashup of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” and their own “Floral And Fading.”
Although The Ogden Theatre wasn’t quite sold-out for the first night of tour, this show served as a perfect warm-up for the following sold-out show and next month of tour dates. Sum 41 and Pierce The Veil might seem like an unlikely duo, but the show proved to be a success, bringing together fans of all ages for a night of great music.