Jamie Rhoden, lead singer and guitarist of Title Flight, on Sunday, March 15, 2015, at The Glass House in Pomona, Calif. (Evan Solano/Living Out Loud LA)
“I’m not trying to save the world, I’m not trying to be famous. I am just trying to figure out my place in this world,” said Title Fight singer/guitarist Jamie Rhoden before the band started into their latest single, “Rose of Sharon.”
It is only mid-March and it is safe to say that Title Fight have released one of the best albums of the year. Anyone who argues against that should have been in Pomona, Calif. on Sunday, March 15, 2015, as the band dominated a sold out performance at the Glass House.
Being a band that has always never followed conventional hardcore standards, the Pennsylvania post-hardcore stalwarts made sure to bring a well-rounded bill on their headlining run that would cater to fans of the band’s new shoegaze sound and the hardcore fan base that Title Fight have cultivated over the years.
North Texas’ Power Trip made an impact right out the gate setting the evening off and didnt shying away from being the odd-man-out on the heavily indie/shoegaze bill. The band swung for the fences and went straight for the throat as they pummeled the crowd with a barrage of monstrous breakdowns and break neck riffs.
The Dallas five-piece have put their hometown on the map in a way not seen since four “Cowboys From Hell” took the metal scene by storm nearly 20 years ago.
Singer Riley Cayle set the bar for the evening’s energy level as he commanded the stage like a demented David Lee Roth, high-kicking across the room and jumping head first into the crowd as the band ripped through songs like “Crossbreaker” and “Murderers Row.”
Power Trip is a frenzied blend of metal and hardcore, who relish in writing slamming riffs rather than break musical boundaries or reinvent the wheel and the crowd made note of it as they banged their heads and demolished each other in the pit. Sometimes it is not about changing the game but how well you play it and in that regard, Power Trip proved why they are one of the leading metallic hardcore acts who really stand out in a scene that can suffer from over-saturation.
The surprise of the evening came with Tampa’s Merchandise whose blend of noise, shoegaze and post punk was a refreshing change of pace from Power Trip’s unbridled performance.
I was never fortunate to see The Smiths perform live, but if I had I am sure it would be close to how seeing Merchandise was.
Evoking the spirit of Johnny Marr, the experimental guitarist of The Smiths, Dave Vassalotti really worked his guitar and pedals, providing much of the soundscapes that set Merchandise apart.
The group draws heavily from late-80s college and alternative rock, similar to bands like R.E.M. and The Cult. Although the crowd was more subdued, the band definitely stole the show.
Vocalist Carson Cox, wearing his best “Morrissey circa 1985” ensemble, crooned and swayed across the stage just like Manchester’s most “charming man.”
Most of the band’s set consisted of tracks from their 4AD debut album, After The End, with songs like “Telephone” and “Enemy.” They are an exciting and unique band that fans of late 80s post punk will be able to get behind.
The evening was all about Title Fight and even during the sound check, the room began to grow anxious with anticipation.
As the lights dimmed and the opening riffs began to play over the PA, the crowd was already in a frenzy.
As the band started their set with the power punch combination of “Murder Your Memory” and “Numb, But I Still Feel It,” the crowd became a swarming mass of bodies and crowd surfing all the while screaming every lyric back at Rhoden and Russin.
Their set consisted of songs mainly from Hyperview and Floral Green and even with the vast difference in both albums’ sound, nothing felt out of place. The band played crowd favorites such “Leaf” and “Like A Ritual,” and ended with “Secret Society”
Title Fight have been active since they were starting high school and have since gone on to become of the most revered bands in the current hardcore community.
Like the song, Title Fight shows have become something “like a ritual” themselves and their fan base is some of the most passionate and boisterous fans in heavy music that relate to the bands music and use it to help define them.
Rhoden may question his place in this world, but it was evident last night that Title Fight belongs up on the stage.