It has been a heavy few months in my world for music. With the lead singer of one of my favorite teenage-era bands passing away and several bands breaking up, if not taking an indefinite, vague break, the music industry has lost some great ones.
I would like to start this post by stating the obvious: a life lost is way more horrible than a band breaking up and my heart goes out to anyone effected by the death of Kyle Pavone.
I have been a fan of We Came as Romans since about 2011, seeing them live for the first time with my brother Ryan in 2012 and meeting them then as well. At that meeting, I had the guitarist and lyricist Joshua write out some of their words for me which I got tattooed in 2013. Although I’m not a fan of the style/ placing now and will probably get a cover-up of the same words in different writing, I don’t regret it.
16ish-year-old me and WCAR bassist, Lou
16ish-year-old me and Kyle
Also in 2013, I won an eBay bid to go bowling for charity with the band amidst their Warped Tour run. Although Kyle wasn’t there, I had a great time with the band and Ryan, even if I did only score 40 points, landing me a horse’s ass trophy. At the end of the night, Ryan and I were chatting with (then) drummer Eric and singer Dave when they gave us guest list for Warped Tour the following week. At Warped Tour, we saw a few bands, including We Came as Romans, and went to their signing. They all greeted us excitedly and Kyle was left confused as he hadn’t met us before and had no idea why his bandmates were happy to see us, I’ll never forget the look on his face.
Since then, I haven’t been following We Came as Romans as closely. I don’t actively dislike them, I’ve just drifted towards other bands more. I was gobsmacked when I heard the news about Kyle a few months ago. Obviously, with the chance I got to spend time with them so personally and my tattoo, the band and its members will always mean a lot to me. What a tragic loss.
The bowling gang! Back: Andy (bassist), Dave (vocals), my brother Ryan, me, Joshua (guitarist), Lou (guitarist), Kiki (crew memeber), Eric (drums)
Now, on to the less serious losses. The hardest hitting one was Arcane Roots. I’ve seen them live three times: first when the opened for Enter Shikari in 2016 at Alexandra Palace. For myself and a lot of fans, that show will be immortalized as Enter Shikari’s best performance ever and I’m so glad I was there (especially since it was all recorded onto an album). I was also what seemed like one of the only ones who knew Arcane Roots at the time. I knew about half the songs they played that night thanks to my friend Ryan who showed me “If Nothing Breaks, Nothing Moves” to get me into them.
The second time I saw them live was a headliner show in Brighton in 2017 with Diego. They played a great set, but I had to be careful as I just got my nipples pierced a day or two prior and was still really sensitive.
I bought tickets to see them live for a third time in late July in Tunbridge Wells (of all places), but their show had to be rescheduled because there was a big England World Cup match on for that night and they were afraid nobody would go to their show. The show was rescheduled to early September.
During that time, they announced their break-up. I was heartbroken, but feeling lucky that the Tunbridge Wells show would be their last, full rock performance. Meaning, they were heading to a few final festivals to play a short set as well as one final small tour playing their more mellow, electronic work. The show was good, but if I must say, not as good as the Brighton show. It was very emotional for the fans as well as the band. However, the band seems like they will be doing their own music, with the lead singer Andrew Groves already having a few shows opening up for massive Scottish band Biffy Clyro under his belt. I am excited to see their new work, even if it won’t be together as Arcane Roots.
Although I never got a chance to get hugely into them, Minus the Bear have also broken up recently. They are often my go-to chill music and their self-titled is one of my top ten “perfect” albums. I was one the edge of seeing them twice: once in Brighton and once in Phoenix. Moral of the story? If you’re on the fence about going to a gig and money isn’t much of a problem: do it. Make it work.
Last but not least: Creeper. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around what happened that night, but here it goes.
I only started listening to them recently and like them quite a bit. With Minus the Bear breaking up making me extra cautious not to miss bands if I can help it and not many gigs this season, I got tickets to their show in Camden, London at KOKO on November 1st.
First of all, the venue was fantastic. It was like a theater with all the seats ripped out for a GA pit at on the ground floor and comfortable sofas on the upper levels. I opted for a spot on the top level as I was feeling a bit ill, but that didn’t stop me from having a great time. Their energy is amazing and they sounded phenomenal.
I told myself I would leave halfway through the encore to beat the crowds to the coat check and get a reasonable train home. Plus, their typical closing song isn’t my favorite of theirs. As they were wrapping up the set, the lead singer said something along the lines of, “This is our last song of the night, and last song ever.” I thought surely I misheard and headed for the coat check.
But heading down and seeing the looks on peoples’ faces and murmurs in the crowd, something wasn’t right. I was starting to think perhaps I did hear correctly and the band was breaking up. I waited through the last song to get an obscured view of a video montage they played of them on tour as they hung up their iconic jackets, ending with a black screen that said, “even eternity ends” (a call back to their most recent album Eternity in Your Arms) before the house lights abruptly came up again.
Photo credit: Jenn Five
After desperately scouring Twitter for answers, a lot of people think that this is just a publicity stunt and they will come back re-branded with new music at some point in the next few years. Their “brand” is a large part of their on-stage presence and music sound, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with next, but I hope to hear more from (now ex-) Creeper musicians.