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Silverstein and Hawthorne Heights Celebrate 15 Years with a Rowdy Show at Gas Monkey

Silverstein performed Thursday night in Dallas.EXPAND
Silverstein performed Thursday night in Dallas.
Chelsey Norris

Album anniversary tours are becoming more and more popular, and we’re not mad about it. It’s no secret that the rise of streaming has changed the way we listen to music. You can skip around from song to song and artist to artist at will, which has its advantages, but remember when you’d just pop that new CD into your car and listen to the whole thing straight down? Those were the days.

Silverstein was sure to let fans know in advance that they’d perform two sets during this anniversary tour: their debut album When Broken is Easily Fixed, followed by a second set of their greatest hits. And with the addition of supporting groups Hawthorne Heights, As Cities Burn and Capstan, Thursday night at Gas Monkey Bar & Grill promised to be a good time.

And it did not disappoint. What seemed like hundreds of rowdy fans were crammed into the tiny outdoor pavilion, creating a vibe reminiscent of Warped Tour.

Orlando-based punk rockers Capstan got the night started with a fun, high-energy performance. That is, after working through some mic issues during their first two songs. The group has gotten tons of buzz lately – having joined the last run of Warped Tour and recently signed to Fearless Records. They performed their newest song “Stars Before the Sun,” which they’ve said was inspired by Clarence Darrow’s saying: “‘When we fully understand the brevity of life, its fleeting joys and unavoidable pains; when we accept the facts that all men and women are approaching an inevitable doom: the consciousness of it should make us more kindly and considerate of each other.”

Next up was As Cities Burn. The Nashville natives have been on the scene since 2002, but they’ve been through some ups and downs since, including a hiatus from 2009 to 2011. Now they’re back to touring and making new music, dropping their latest track “2020 AD” earlier this month. Their sound seems to straddle the (very wide) line between metal and prog-rock, which came off as a bit convoluted. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, though. There was plenty of jumping around and moshing, and we even spotted several fans sporting ACB merch.

Everyone loves Hawthorne Heights, and how could you not? With their adorably self-deprecating tag line “I used to listen to Hawthorne Heights in high school” proudly displayed on the backdrop, lead singer JT Woodruff exclaimed, “We love everything about this place!” before beginning their set. He reminded us to “just have a good time and forget about all the bad stuff out there,” and reminisced on the connection they’ve built with fans over the past 15 years. Their set was a nice mix of new and old Hawthorne Heights, and they made sure to end with a bang – asking us to get loud and sing along to their biggest hit, “Ohio is for Lovers.”

After a set changeover that seemed to take an eternity, the headliners made their entrance with plenty of fanfare. Frontman Shane Told’s signature hair was perfectly coiffed for all the head-banging and hair-flips one could stand. The opening track was of course “Smashed into Pieces,” the first track on When Broken is Easily Fixed, and we were instantly taken back to 2003. Except there were smoke cannons and tons of lighting effects. And dare we say, Silverstein actually sounded better during this live performance than they do on that record. Told gave a shout-out to the first time the band came through Dallas – it was 2004 on tour with Hawthorne Heights, no less. He recalled that they had a sign on the merch table asking to crash on a fan’s couch for the night.

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“I’m sure you guys have your own memories of these songs,” he shared.

Head-banging, moshing, crowd-surfing and plenty of screaming along ensued as they played the complete record. Following a brief intermission, the guys came back out and played another 30-minute set that included some of their other hits – “Smile in Your Sleep,” “The Afterglow” and more.

It’s hard to imagine a better pairing than Silverstein and Hawthorne Heights. Both are pioneers of the emo/post-hardcore scene, and they show no sign of stopping.

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