United Nations Performs On The West Coast For The First Time, Delighting Post-Hardcore Fans

Posted: November 11, 2014 in Events, Music, Orange County, Punk Rock
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Many music fans have some sort of “music checklist” – an intangible list of music acts that they would like to see live. Last week, I finally had the opportunity to cross off one of the top lines of my list: seeing United Nations perform live. They started their west coast tour in Los Angeles, then went on to perform in Orange County before heading north up the coast. I opted to attend their Orange County show at The Observatory’s Constellation Room, which got overshadowed by a larger band performing in the main room, causing massive parking overflows and other crowd problems. Undaunted, I charged on in to bask in the glory of the United Nations.

Sick Feeling opened up the night with their post-hardcore set. Based out of New York, Sick Feeling best reminded me of two bands meshed into one. Their instrumentals reminded me of the strange, trance-like chords of At The Drive-In, or even The Mars Volta. The vocals straight up reminded me of the raw power of traditional Converge. Put together, you have what the band describes as simply Chaos.

Up next, we have Silver Snakes. Hailing from Los Angeles, Silver Snakes took the crowd on a journey away from the night’s post-hardcore theme. They certainly do not have the intense screams that the other bands do. The powerful yet emotional vocals give way to a greater melodic sound, allowing the audience to enjoy more of the instrumental performance and soak in the true musical prowess of Silver Snakes. I find it difficult to compare Silver Snakes to any one band – while they understand how to perform gracefully with true transitions, I cannot see them stand toe-to-toe with well-known bands of their genre. Placed on a bill with lesser known bands, Silver Snakes can kill it as a headliner. But when Silver Snakes performs with a “buzz” worthy band such as United Nations, they unfortunately fit the spot of the band right before the headliner.

At last, the moment I had craved for over a decade had finally arrived. With United Nations about to take the stage, high school memories of seeing vocalist Geoff Rickly perform with Thursday flooded my mind, fueling my passion to lose myself to the music once it started. Though a pit never truly started, I would have gone nuts if it did. United Nations hit the stage with engines blazing, going from silence to blasting the decibels through the roof in a matter of seconds. Although they bear little resemblance to Thursday, I still cherished this like a Thursday show, just with a greater emphasis on the hardcore aspect of the music. Who needs transitions when your songs leave people breathless? They used some of their transitions to briefly mention politics, but then reminded us that Election Day had already passed, so they had little left to say. United Nations followed their set list to a tee and stuck around after the show for a meet & greet instead of playing an encore.

I finally can say that I have successfully seen the lead singer of my favorite band perform once again. Now that I have marked that off my music checklist, the only lines remaining above that require two bands to reunite: Thursday and Minor Threat. I would like to thank Geoff Rickly for mingling with the audience for most of the night and for his modesty. Now that I have met my musical hero, I can safely say that I have accomplished a great feat of my life.

Miss out on the United Nations on the west coast? Their tour still has a few days left, and they will play their final west coast show of this tour this Saturday in San Diego. Make sure you do not miss this!

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