Senses Fail, Reggie and the Full Effect, Have Mercy, and Household Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD – 3/10/18     

Sometimes, the perfect collection of bands come together to give audiences a show that takes them on a ride and make the evening a truly cohesive experience. The energy in the room ebbs and flows as the night goes on and the audience really gets tapped into what is happening on stage instead of just observing it. That is precisely what I witnessed when Senses Fail brought Reggie and the Full Effect, Have Mercy, and Household to Baltimore Soundstage – and it was beautiful, to say the least.     Kicking off the evening was Household, a four piece rock outfit hailing from Minneapolis, MN. With a slightly subdued vibe on stage, moody lyrics, and slightly alt-rock influenced sound, they started the crowd off with just enough to get them buzzing. The bands set had its own ups and downs, energy-wise, and was engaging and entertaining from beginning to end. Fans loosened up, started moving, and by the time they left the stage, everyone in the venue knew that they were in for a fantastic night.     The show continued in that direction when hometown favorites, Have Mercy, took the stage. From the moment they came on, everything was kicked up a notch. Singer Brian Swindle was met with an enthusiastic room full of people singing his lyrics right back to him. People were dancing, a small pit started to form, some fans crowd surfing. It truly was an amazing sight watching a band come back to a hometown crowd and have their energy onstage be given back two-fold by the fans. However, I was unprepared for the spectacle that was to follow.     Reggie and the Full Effect came on stage and were firing on all cylinders right from the start. No intro, no yelling at the crowd to build some hype - they just walked onstage and delivered a sonic right hook to get everyone’s attention. It’s as if they felt the energy of the crowd during Have Mercy and decided that they wanted to make the crowd feel lame. They were issuing a challenge to see if the crowd could match their energy. I can say, without a doubt, that the fans rose to the occasion. My favorite parts of watching this set were frontman, James Dewees, and bass player, Vincent Caito. Dewees was captivating and passionate in his vocal performances, upping the energy level in the room all while be planted to one spot next to his keyboard. Caito was all over the stage and was really a sight to be hold. Headbanging, dancing around on stage, interacting with the other band members and the fans throughout the set - it was hard to keep my attention away from him for more than a few seconds at a time.     By the time Senses Fail came on, the energy in the room was electric. Fans were chomping at the bit to see their headliner, and they did not disappoint. Everything about the Senses Fail set took everything to a new level. The light design was crazier, the sound mix was bigger, the crowd was moving more, and the band absolutely killed every aspect of their set. Singer Buddy Nielsen is an absolutely madman onstage. I actually felt like I needed to keep my head on a swivel while shooting photos down front. There were a couple close calls between he and I where I could’ve caught an elbow or a microphone to the head! Overall, everything about their set was exactly what I would have expected out of a band that’s been doing this as long as they have. Senses Fail are a well-oiled machine and it was an absolute pleasure to see them after all these years.

Michael Phillips