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Underoath Says Farewell To Chicago (And Everyone Else)

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 24, 2013 8:00PM


It's always tragic when a band outgrows its own genre—especially when that band was highly influential in putting that genre on the map. In Underoath's case, their breakup was preemptive. After a decade and a half together the Floridian hardcore act decided to call it quits, as frontman Spencer Chamberlain explained last Sunday night at the Metro, "while we still love doing what we do—before we dig this thing into the ground."

Underoath's move was bold, respectable and understandable. In 2006, whether or not it was widely recognized, Underoath's album Define the Great Line helped transform the hardcore/metal/"screamo" scene, discouraging further glorified power chords and marrying the genre with metal influences—ones that lent to more complex and intricate song structure. But, as Chamberlain confirmed on Sunday, once he and the other members hit the age of 30 the same style began to lose its appeal.

While the members of Underoath's hearts may not be in the band's future anymore, the songs from the their past still sounded just as passionate as they ever had last night. The set relied heavily on highly instrumental tracks and segueways—"Emergency Broadcast," "Casting Such a Thin Shadow"—further implying that their musical desires have always outweighed the desire of the genre's more lyrically-focused fan base.

One of the faults with Underoath's live performance—and there are few—is that their set lists typically lack a sense of surprise. Performances of songs like "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door" and "Paper Lung" were obvious choices, leaving little room for less frequently played surprises that you'd think would be included in a retrospective farewell performance. The only unexpected inclusion Sunday was their first commercial single, the uncharacteristically poppy "Reinventing Your Exit," a song that's been all but retired since 2005.

The night's performance concluded with encore performances of fan favorites "A Boy Brushed Red" and "Writing on the Walls," the second of which struck an especially emotional chord as it was performed while members descended upon the front rows of the sold out crowd to reach out to the for high fives and handshakes.

So many bands in almost every style of music make the poor decision of going through the motions of producing music without passion late into their careers. Whether or not you ever took notice of Underoath, it's incredibly refreshing to watch a band exit the game with so much dignity and respect still in tact. Still, it goes without saying that they'll be missed by this writer and the rest of their Chicago fan base that helped them sell out the Metro in a mere 24 hours.

By: Katie Karpowicz