By Thursday evening last Nov. 13, a line of eager fans, happily enduring the cold weather, wrapped around local San Antonio music venue- Korova.
“It’s freezing, but totally worth it!” a young girl wearing her navy blue Real Friends sweater shouted.
Baltimore, MD natives, Have Mercy, opened the show around 7:15 pm. Lead vocalist, Brian Swindle, warmed the crowd up with his strong, raspy vocals and powerful music from their new album, “A Place of Our Own.”
“Brian, will you marry me?!” an excited fan screamed.
“I mean we need to go on a date, and I would have to ask my parents…” Brian responded sending laughter through the already hyped crowd.
The energy immediately shifted from mellow swaying to constant crowd surfing and outrageous mosh pits when hardcore Portland, ME band, Cruel Hand, took the stage. Chris Linkovich, lead vocalist, heightened the crowd’s energy with his demanding stage presence. “This stage is your stage too, so get up here,” Linkovich announced, providing an invitation for stage dives and fans to share the microphone. The majority of the venue was a massive mosh pit, and escape was futile.
Performing a mix of old favorites as well as new music from their recently released album “The Negatives,” Cruel Hand delivered a high-energy show to prepare the audience for the next band.
The lights dimmed, and bodies rushed towards the stage, packing each other in as closely as possible. The pop punk icons from Wrehxham, Wales and Neck Deep emerged and took complete control of the venue.
Ben Barlow, lead vocalist, and Fil Thorpe-Evans— bass, commanded everyone’s attention with their engaging banter. Even though the atmosphere was calmer than the previous band, Neck Deep was equally as entertaining. Looking to the left and right, one could see die-hard fans screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs with their fists in the air. Crowd surfers came from all directions, diving into every section of the audience.
As Neck Deep preformed “Damsel in Distress,” a song from their latest album, fans exploded into a frenzy. “She’s a witch, she’s a mess, she’s a waste of time. Damsel in distress on a steep decline,” fans shouted while their feet left the ground. As Neck Deep wrapped their set up, the crowd once again crowed around the stage as closely as they could for the headliners of the night.
Piling on top of each other, the audience went crazy when Real Friends slowly came on stage. Dan Lambton, lead vocalist; Kyle Fasel, bass; Dave Knox, lead guitar; Eric Haines, guitar, and Brian Blake, drums, were greeted with screams and declarations of adoration. Even though crowd surfing and stage diving took place, the audience was so into the bands set that this didn’t seem to even bother them. During choruses like, “I’ve got this lonely night, and Jimmy Eat World. I never had you, and you told me I never did,” Lambton lowered his mic into the crowd because fans were singing so loudly that his voice couldn’t be heard. “All I have are thoughts of me, back when I was 18 and my boney knees,” Lambton smiled at the crowd while voices sang in his place.
“Every time we come to Texas, you guys show us that everything really is bigger here,” Lambton said.
Real Friends exited the stage, and the traditional, “One more song, one more song,” chant began. Lambton came back out and stated, “Umm, so ya’ll are going to yell at me now?” His ability to converse with the crowd made the show even more memorable. “For this last song, everyone has to turn their phones off,” Lambton requested. “I don’t want you guys to rely on your phones to remember this.”
As the show came to and end, the crowd raced to the merch tables. As people were leaving the Korova, a chant of, “I know I’ve got loose ends leaving me to spend so many nights driving down dead ends. I guess I’m looking for something more than this.”
Catch Have Mercy, Cruel Hand, Neck Deep and Real Friends as they continue their Fall 2014 tour. For tour dates, click here.