What do you get when you merge hardcore with electronic music? Well, to be honest you get I See Stars or something close to it I would imagine. The band has been on the road for the majority of 2013; starting the year off touring with a small headlining run, a full summer on Warped Tour and now a co-headline tour with The Word Alive that has been called the “Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here Tour.” Also joining the band on the road for this current tour run are Crown the Empire, Day Shell and Palisades.
I See Stars have essentially become alumni of the Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, PA now that they have played numerous shows there over the past few years. Though the venue has a had a troubling year and it looks like the end might be in sight for them, I See Stars still managed to completely sell out the venue. Actually, I want to point out that I See Stars not only sold out their Allentown show but they also sold out New York City, Michigan, and Virginia. In a music industry that is struggling to fill venues for any genre it is no small feat for a band to pull this off. A lot of the band’s new found success can be tied to their recent release, “New Demons,” which was both a critical and commercial success for the band. The album builds on the sound that they created with their previous album, “Digital Renegade,” and takes it in both a more matured and perfected direction.
With this in mind it was no surprise to me (or the fans) that the setlist that night was mostly comprised of songs from those two albums. In fact the band actually opened their set with “Ten Thousand Feet,” a huge fan favorite “New Demons.” Having covered countless shows at the Crocodile Rock Cafe I have seen what a sold out crowd looks like there and I can comfortably say that the crowd last Saturday was not sold-out…..it was OVERSOLD! As I looked out over the pit from up front near the stage all you could see where people’s bodies press up against one another like sardines and nearly every single one of them had an I See Stars shirt on. By the time the band started their third song, “Digital Renegade,” crowd surfers were coming up the barricade by the dozens and security couldn’t even catch them all. Devin Oliver actually was grabbing onto their hands as they came over and keeping them from hitting their heads on anything in the process.
The band’s 11 song set kept the crowd going nonstop with moshing and surfing, so much so that security was overwhelmed the entire time. They even got back up in the barricade and they still couldn’t keep up with all the crowd surfers. I See Stars have a very dedicated fan-base in the Allentown area, partially due to the fact that they have played here so often. Having seen the band multiple times on the Vans Warped Tour this summer I knew it was going to be a wild night but neither date I covered the band on Warped Tour came close to this one. The band sounded great, Devin Oliver was on point with the clean vocals and Zachary Johnson’s screaming was coming through the speakers so crisply that it was unbelievable to hear. The only real complaint with the set was the lighting. The band has a lot of money invested in awesome backlights that are timed to go along with the music but for some reason they played with no front lighting. As a photographer this was frustrating because it made my job next to impossible but I noticed that fans towards the middle and back of the crowd couldn’t even see the stage at all. I know you come to a concert mostly to hear the music and have a good time but being able to see what is going on up there is always a plus too!
After the set I had the chance to sit down with Devin Oliver to talk about the chaos that just took place downstairs, the new album, Warped Tour, and how much he probably needed to take a shower after that high energy set. Enjoy the Sight of Sound Magazine exclusive interview below in full :