This won't be your usual review. There's a list of reasons why, but we'll be merciful and keep it short. A JfH team attended the October 30th Lancaster, PA, show in full intentions to review the tour. A wrench was tossed into the mix and we scored an interview with Project 86 frontman Andrew Schwab. The problem was it was during Pillar's set. This makes reviewing the show a little difficult. Luckily, Jess Vander Loop, also part of the JfH team, was attending the November 1st show in Maryland two days later. Jess graciously agreed to cover her experiences. The first half of this review will cover October 30th, written by Kevin while Jess will cover the second gig... -- John DiBiase
October 30, 2004, LMHS Fine Arts Center
We drove out to Lancaster with all intentions and purposes to see Project 86 and Pillar. For me this was the first time I was able to see Project live. Most of the times I'd planned on seeing them, Satan intervened. Subseven opened up the set with some songs off of their EP. Falling Up came on after them and I was impressed by the fact that these new artists, mostly teens really, had the stage presence they had and such an ability to get the crowd into it. They got the crowd really loose for Project, which is a good sign for young bands. During Falling Up, the evening's emcee came on-stage and stopped the show. I'll explain more later on. You could definitely feel the energy in the air...
Project 86 came on with lead vocalist Andrew Schwab displaying skeleton face paint, which I'm sure surprised quite a few people. They opened up with "Spy Hunter" from Songs To Burn Your Bridges By. You could definitely tell that quite a few people were there to see Project. Andrew has the best stage presence I've ever seen and people were definitely responding to it. They then went into "Me Against Me" with the audience raising their fists in the air in unison. They then played "One Armed Man (Play On)" off of Drawing Black Lines. At this point, the crowd was pretty riled up - mostly because Project is so aggressive and passionate. So Mr. Mood Killer (aka the emcee) comes out again and almost entirely stops the show, which completely kills the mood and drains the energy. Due to a lot of action in the crowd directly in front of the stage of audience members pushing and jumping and going relatively crazy, the emcee insisted on the crowd spreading out and moving back. With a rather stunned and bewildered audience staring back in disbelief, it seemed forever before the concert resumed. Ten minutes later, when Project was allowed to come back on, all the people who moved back just rushed up front again. Luckily, Schwab has no trouble getting the crowd back into their set. They then played "Breakdown in 3/4," "Safe Haven," which one of my favorites off of Songs To Burn... (along with "Solace"), and "Breakneck Speed". At this point, I'm amazed that the show hasn't been stopped again. "Little Green Men," the only song they played off of their third record Truthless Heroes was next and, I will declare now for all the world to read that Randy Torres is the sickest guitar player I've ever seen. The way his hand plays with ease on the guitar riff is incredible. The end of this song goes straight into "Stein's Theme" for a mighty finish. As the set came to a close, they stopped playing the song prematurely for Andrew to address the audience and insist that it had been one of the best shows of his life, besides this year's Purple Door, and how the crowd seemed to understand him. They played the last few choruses with intense ferocity and walked off the stage to chants of "ONE MORE SONG!!", which were answered by the house lights coming on and the stage crew getting ready for Pillar.
Now this is my disclaimer from a disheartened fan. This isn't about the bands or the music. All that was good. My complaint is directed to WJTL and LMHS. I've never liked this venue. For starters, the room has pews. Secondly, there's an auditorium like 300 feet from there. This is a rock show. Now, WJTL, don't book a rock show and stop the rock show. When does the opportunity to make money overshadow common sense? If you're gonna book a rock show, then have it somewhere else. The people up front in the pit know what they're doing for the most part. Those that don't know what they're doing don't go in the pit. But don't book a show in a horrible venue when you know something might happen... Here's Jess's take on the show two days later in a different venue... -- Kevin Chamberlin, 11/1/04
November 1, 2004, Recher Theatre
Everyone I've met up with has been anxious about Pillar's Where Do We Go From Here Tour, featuring Pillar, Project 86, Falling Up and Subseven, and I now know why. I had been looking forward to this show ever since I had the privilege of seeing Pillar at Creation Festival this year and found out that they had decided to come through the Baltimore, Maryland area. Arriving at the Recher Theater early with my friends, the atmosphere was almost intolerably exciting.
Starting off the night was Subseven, who took the stage with an understandablly short set considering the variety of bands performing during the night. Subseven was perceived as an energetic young band ready to have fun. From Wes jumping around the stage to the awesome sense of worship, it was a very productive way to start a concert on the right note. Following Subseven was the rising band Falling Up, who also had a short set consisting of about five songs or so. Falling Up was amazing live and kept the spirits up while the crowd anticipated Project 86 and Pillar. Falling Up surprised the audience when the lead singer, Jessy, performed a perfectly executed back-flip in the middle of the stage. Tailing Falling Up came the notorious Project 86, whose set ended with the crowd pushed up against the stage, and not just in anticipation for Pillar. I would say this set was the most insane during the whole night. There was a lot of moshing and shoving up in the pit, where those fortunate few got to experience Andrew Schwabb's random act of crowd surfing. Despite that, the set list and performance were insuperable, keeping the crowded room of Recher Theater awake. But of course, the main band always has their ways of surmounting the opening bands.
And now for the main band of the night... This show was probably one of the best Pillar shows I've ever attended. The lighting for the opening bands blew me away, so just envision how they were for Pillar. I haven't seen lighting like that for awhile, starting with the infamous blue you think of as you imagine Pillar's newest CD cover. Their set list was also perfectly chosen, starting off the show with "Fireproof". With a 13 song set list, Pillar kept the energy in the room at an all-time high. All four members of the band played with a sense of excellence and perfection. Everyone had an amazing time during this show, especially those many who decided to crowd surf during the middle of the set. I don't recall any technical problems at all, so basically this show was one you shouldn't have missed.
Pillar performed songs from both Fireproof and Where Do We Go From Here (see related album reviews), with an equal amount of songs from both albums. To the audience's thrill, they also performed their rendition of U2's "Sunday, Bloody Sunday." The set list included songs ranging from "Frontline" and "Simply" to "Echelon." By the end of the show, the crowd was chanting either "One more song," "Encore," or "In God We Trust." After about a minute of rest, Pillar returned to the stage to perform "Indivisible" and lastly, and randomly might I add, the Foo Fighter's "There Goes My Hero."
This show was one of Pillar's better ones, and definitely a highlight of the Where Do We Go From Here Tour. Pillar even proved to be an awesome band by hanging around afterwards to meet and greet their many fans and sign those random objects some in the crowd were excited about snatching. Those who I attended the show with couldn't express how awesome they thought the show was. And I can say that I will never forget the chanting of "In God We Trust" from this exceptional show. -- Jess Vander Loop, 11/2/04
Project 86 Set List
01. Spy Hunter
02. Me Against Me
03. One Armed Man (Play On)
04. Breakdown In 3/4
05. Breakneck Speed
06. Little Green Men
07. Stein's Theme
Pillar Set List
02. A Shame
03. Underneath It All
04. Let It Out
06. Further From Myself
08. Sunday, Bloody Sunday
09. Behind Closed Doors
13. Bring Me Down
15. There Goes My Hero
Project 86 (11/1/04)
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