Tell No Tales:
Tell No Tales was the opening act for the Palisades headlining tour at Mr. Smalls Funhouse Theater on December 20, 2017. This was the first of two local bands from the near city Morgantown, West Virginia, and they weren’t afraid to get the crowd moving. From their very first selection, this band drew the audience in with their hard, characteristically metal sound. As they bounced through their set, the band presented a solid stage presence with strong comfortability throughout the ensemble. Speaking in terms of the music they provided, the vocals, mainly, utilized the aggressive vocal technique; however, the vocalist worked in a spectrum of vocal inflections to provide different dimensions through his screaming passages. The instrumental music provided by the band was generally symmetrical and fairly balanced: their sound resonates with a lot of other metal artists already established in the scene. Overall, the band put on a solid performance, especially for an opening act, and they were able to wake the crowd up, which is important for a concert opener.
Next up was another Morgantown native: Ivory Coast. This band shocked the audience slightly, for the charisma of the members of the band before the set was very lighthearted, so when the band fell in full force with a heavy metal sound, it was a shock (but a good one to have). This band had a fantastic stage presence, they knew how to work every inch of the small stage provided, and they were aware of what each member of the ensemble was going to produce, visually speaking. Just like the previous act, the band wasn’t afraid to get to the crowd moving, which was a nice progression as the set kept moving forward. The vocalist utilized both clean and harsher vocals, which was nice for the audience because neither Blindwish nor Palisades is an overly “heavy” band, so having brief “breathing” moments helped some audience members relate to their music more. The musical material presented was intriguing and was composed with typical metal riffs and breakdowns. The one aspect of their set that was smart and interesting to the audience was the progression of musical intensity; meaning, the band started off their set with songs that had a balanced ratio of clean to aggressive vocals, but as the set pushed forward, the band’s selections grew heavier and heavier. Overall, their set was pleasing and engaging.
Next up was Blindwish, a band from Dallas, Texas that was recently signed to Rise Records: where they put out their debut album “Good Excuses” earlier this year. With that being said, Blindwish already had a fan connection with some of the audience members, which helped to turn up the volume through their first song, “After Midnight”. As the set was progressing, the band emphasized how they loved when people sang along with them and help them have a fantastic time; thus, the band played one of the ultimate throwback songs “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” by My Chemical Romance. After this cover, the audience was ready to go, and the band kept that energy going until they decided to play one of their acoustics tracks off the new album; however, after that selection, the band came back swinging with even more energy than before. The band had a wonderful stage presence, and the audience could tell they were well aware of the aesthetic of their music and band, for they were all on the same page throughout every work performed. Every song they performed, other than the cover song, was off their debut album, and these tracks provided a fresh sound to the audience. Also, it is noteworthy that all of the songs sound significantly better in person because the band really grinds in on the nuances of their music. Overall, the band gave it 1000%, and the crowd was loving every second of it. This band will likely take off with their blend of fantastic music and stage presence.
The band that everyone was waiting for: Palisades. Palisades threw down, to put it bluntly. The notion of the set was that the band was going to play their self-titled album (released early 2017) in full with some older songs thrown in afterwards. However, the band played about half of the album, and then suddenly shifted to the introduction of the song “Bad Girls”. From there, the band included a middle interlude of all their older songs that resonate at a higher volume with the audience. When they did so, they transitioned into one after another with small electronic interludes that intertwined each song. In this middle interlude, the band performed the older selection “Outcasts”, which was a strong throwback for the band to add to this set. After this middle section, the band faded back to play the remainder of the album. They stressed that they don’t come back out for encores because they give it everything they have on their last song, so they skipped “Let Down” in the full album run through to save that for the final selection of the night. There wasn’t a moment during their set when the audience wasn’t engaged, Palisades provided their alternative, dancing vibe throughout every song, where they participated just as much as the audience. It was admirable, from an audience member’s standpoint, one can tell that they were all having a great time performing their music, and you could see the emotion of the band members on the hard-hitting works. Towards the middle of their set, there was an altercation in the crowd, and the band cut the end of the song “Bad Girls” short to help evacuate the problem from the crowd, stressing that at a Palisades show there is no hurting: everyone is to help one another and have a fantastic time. Though this put a kink in the groove momentarily, the band handled the situation extremely well, and they jumped right back into their energetic set. Overall, over the years Palisades has grown significantly musically and in live-performance scenarios. The band always involves every single audience member, whether they know their music or not. During this tour, it is easy to see that the band has solidified their sound, their goal as a band, and their musical presentation of all of that.
Overall, I would give this concert a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I am giving this concert such a score for several reasons. The first is that I was unaware that there was going to be local bands playing, but both bands came out and crushed it as they got the audience involved; also, it was cool to see my hometown music scene represented in Pittsburgh. The second reason is that in both Blindwish’s and Palisades’ set they gave it 10000%, which let to every audience member having a fantastic time. Finally, when just looking back to Palisades’ set last night, as an audience member you were able to forget about everything else that might be going on in your life and just have a good time, and that is the making of a fantastic concert. Furthermore, do yourself a favor and go to a Palisades show: Nicely done!