UNDEROATH is a band that might ring some bells if you’ve been anywhere near the metal world since the late 90s; 1997 to be exact. But, just as volatile as soulmates meeting at Warped Tour, so are growing pains with bands. With line-up changes that ended with the only original member left, drummer/singer AARON GILLESPIE, the band leaving in 2012. Fast forward to 2018 and the band is back together along with AARON rejoining the band as well as releasing a record back in April of this year.
Confused yet? Don’t be, because I’m here to tell you, the past is in the past for a reason. And while of course, we can learn from what went on back then, the relevancy for the past for UNDEROATH is that it got them to where they are now.
Where I saw them was on the River Casino Stage at ROCKLAHOMA 2018. Standing in the pit waiting to shoot the first 3, I noticed extra men in the yellow shirts stroll into the pit area. I felt like I was in a forest of yellow-topped trees since all of the security dudes towered over me. I wasn’t complaining though. There were several times when one or two of these guys saved me from having my bell rung by a rouge foot or upper torso as they came flying over the barriers from crowd surfing.
Not having heard UNDEROATH since probably around 2003, it was like watching a new band for me. I had zero expectations and knew nothing about what they were about to deliver to thousands of screaming and HOT AF fans on that Sunday.
I thought they had opened the door to a clown car because as the band entered the stage, members just continued to appear! Six in total, UNDEROATH made no waste of time and after filing in as the last person to be onstage touched the mic, boom it started.
Seriously, I felt like I had just been shot out of one of those super-fast water slides at the big water parks, you know? Not the pansy slides that look all like a mini water slide at Hurricane Harbor, but they just give you one hellacious plastic burn to the thigh as you attempt to go down. You know the ones I’m talking about. This was way better than a water slide burn, I’m talking full on, giant slide and water action now! And just when you think you’ve got a couple of minutes left going down the slide, whamo – you’re shot out of that canal fast AF, splashing into the pool, only to find your suit has been ganked up your booty and the boob pad from the top of your suit is stuck to the side of your face like a baby octopus to its mother!
This entire scene that I just described is what the first minute of UNDEROATH’s set felt like. They brought it with the first song and it did not stop until they were done. This band has the energy and stamina of 15-year-olds running track and while I am not as familiar with this band as I wanted to be after their set, I could tell that they were all having fun doing what they were doing. For me, it didn’t matter who came and went in the revolving door that shuffles band members in and out of bands. I didn’t know any of their songs, didn’t know any names of the band members but it didn’t stop me from having one helluva time in the pit and then in the audience watching.
Their songs are catchy and will surprise you with some pretty tricky tempos and all kinds of sounds made by those 6 musicians. UNDEROATH is definitely on my short list of records to buy and to watch out when they come back through Dallas on tour.
Check them out on socials and look for their latest record, “Erase Me” from Fearless Records.
All photos © Cherri Bird / S. Birk Fowler