Concert review: Underoath at The Ritz Ybor

The Ritz was packed and I was soaked and shivering from waiting in the endless line outside in the rain. Not a great way to start the night, but I knew it would be worth it.

As the people poured in, I slowly pushed my way closer and closer to the stage. I was generally frightened for my life during Emery and August Burns Red (it must've been so obvious that I do NOT go to hardcore shows very often). People were crowd surfing over my head and punching me in the back. I decided this was not the place for a 125-pound girl and got the hell out of there before I got seriously injured. All of this led up to one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Before my impatience got the best of me, the lights went down and Underoath took the stage, one by one (how classy of them). Some crazy video clamored on the big screen behind the stage, and then Aaron blasted a four-count, and kicked off the show. Have you ever seen the film, 300? You know the scene where they get all pumped up and then go running into battle like bats out of hell? Yeah, picture that but with a bunch of kids in t-shirts and jeans swarming towards the stage. At that point, standing in the very back, I looked towards the heavens and silently mouthed "Thank You Jesus for getting me out of there." I saw shoes flying and water bottles exploding; sheer madness.

They played a lot of songs from their newest album, Lost in the Sound of Seperation (released September 2008), but they didn't leave us old school fans out to dry. They played plenty of oldies from They're Only Chasing Safety and Define the Great Line. In fact, they played my two very favorite songs in the whole wide WORLD (well, at least Underoath songs): "Young and Aspiring" and "In Regards to Myself." Both seemed to be crowd favorites because everyone went effing nuts. Spencer didn't even have to sing half the song, he would just hold out the microphone and let us handle it. I think my favorite part of seeing Underoath live is getting to watch Aaron on drums. He is so freaking good! He gets so into every move, he really draws me in. And I seriously do not know how he can manage to sing (in the right key) AND play those complex drum beats. I was thoroughly impressed.

I definitely want to make seeing Underoath a pre-Thanksgiving Day tradition, because boy was I hungry the next day. I probably burned close to 800 calories that night, and I lost my voice! Come home again soon, Underoath. We love you!

This past Wednesday, November 25, I kick-started my Thanksgiving break with a little Underoath at The Ritz in Ybor. [Photo by Mike Wilson.]

If you've ever worried about the number of calories you consume on Turkey Day, try going out to a hardcore show the night before your holiday gorge and jumping in the pit. I don't recommend it for pregnant women or anyone with back, neck, or head injuries. For the rest, prepared to be thrown around like a hot potato, scream your head off, and soak your clothes through with sweat.

People from around here get excited about Underoath. These Tampa natives were among the first hardcore bands of the mid-90s to make it big from the area and we're like the proud parents who watched them grow into their own. It all started in 1997, when they came together at church and decided to start a band. Back then, hardcore music was still underground, especially in the Christian rock world. Maybe that's why Underoath made it — they started a music revolution that later inspired bands like August Burns Red (on tour with Underoath right now) and St. Pete natives Oceana (I actually ran into bassist Jack Burns at the show). I have been an avid fan of these boys since 2004 (the year They're Only Chasing Safety came out on Tooth & Nail's rock label, Solid State Records). Can you believe I'd never seen them perform live until Wednesday night? I don't know how I stayed away for so long! I mean, I have seen The Almost (the side project of Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie) three times, and they haven't even been around that long! But now my Underoath cherry has been popped and I want more!

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