It’s been a while, right? Six years, in fact, since Pierce the Veil last played a UK stage. But, with their new album – The Jaws of Life – mere months away, the legendary emo quartet made their long-awaited comeback to prove they still had it. And they pulled out all the stops.
Pierce the Veil strutted onto the stage of O2 Forum Kentish Town to the first two tracks of their legendary 2012 album, Collide with the Sky – May These Noises Startle You In Your Sleep and Hell Above. As soon as that first twangy intro hit in the latter, the room exploded. Fans have obviously been dying to see this incredible group play again, and it was absolutely palpable.
Singer Vic Fuentes’ voice, a decade after these tracks were released, somehow built on his performance even more. After another decade of experience and vocal flexibility, this is the best the 30-something star has ever sounded.
Pierce the Veil soon launched into their new song, Pass the Nirvana, an explosive demonstration of how they have always – and still do – lead their genre with a unique sound that cannot be replicated. Considering it was likely the second time the band had ever played the track in the UK, it went down a treat. Their sold-out show absolutely devoured this new morsel of their upcoming album.
It also proved a point for Pierce the Veil. After experiencing Pass the Nirvana play out in real-time nobody could ever say the band relies on their old material to get by. Sure, there’s a lot of nostalgia in their music and their fandom, but this is a peek into their future. And they know it, as well. Vic couldn’t stop grinning through the track, because he knew it was worth screaming about. The same went for Emergency Contact, another hit from their upcoming fifth studio album. While a lot slower and more reserved, it showed off the fluidity of the singer’s voice, as well as the poetic flourish within the band’s lyrics that have been everpresent since their 2007 debut.
Of course, some of the band’s classic bangers – such as the unbelievable Caraphernalia – completely brought the house down. There are few bands in the world that could pull off such an over-the-top and titanic sound with so many vocal changes and nuances, but PTV – again – built a perfect house for themselves and settled in it. This was also a particularly tight demonstration of drummer Loniel Robinson’s creativity and stamina. While he may not have written these songs, he elevated them in a new way. He dropped hints of his own personality and became a true member of the band.
Fewer songs during the night had a bigger reaction than Hold On Till May, a melodious sonnet that gave the band room to stand back and see almost 2,500 people taking over their own set in front of them. Die-hard fans’ voices overshadowed Vic and the team’s instruments, and Pierce the Veil looked as if they themselves couldn’t believe it.
Vic rounded off the encore with an acoustic version of Stained Glass Eyes and Colorful Tears (which allowed him to prove again that, yes, he still had more in him and he was willing to use it), before going into King for a Day. The generation-defining song is still as good as it was when it was released, and perhaps even more poignant in some ways as the energy crisis looms.
The crowd could have dissected another hour of songs, but in a way, it wasn’t about them. Pierce the Veil looked like they hit the stage with something to prove; it’s easy to imagine why. As mentioned, they have not been in the UK for six years, and their comeback tour sold out in minutes. This is also the first string of shows with a new drummer, and a new album to promote at the same time. Vic also dropped in that he’s expecting the birth of his first child in February, as well. There was likely a lot of pressure on the band from various different angles. With this in mind, Vic, guitarist Tony Perry and bassist Jaime Preciado performed with every ounce of energy and finesse they had – and it paid off. It was as if the room felt their passion and longing to show how they, and their music, are still worth our time.
Ultimately, they succeeded. Pierce the Veil were a triumph. They put on one of the best shows of the year, welcomed everyone back into their family, and, likely, whet appetites for the release of their new album, which will hit on February 10, 2023.
And if Pierce the Veil returns to the UK in 2023, I don’t doubt they’ll sell out another tour in minutes.
Pierce the Veil are on tour now. Get tickets here.
Pierce the Veil’s new album, The Jaws of Life, hits store shelves on February 10, 2023.