During this time of year people seem to get stressed with studying for finals, finding that perfect gift, and avoiding being sick. On Deceber 19th in New York City, a few hundred fans forgot all of that and took the time to relax and witness some amazing bands. Appropriately decorated for the holidays, Highline Ballroom would become home to the “How Valencia Stole Christmas” tour for it’s last night.
Kicking off the show was a group of scene legends that go by the name of Terrible Things. Made up of Andy Jackson (Hot Rod Circuit), Fred Mascherino (The Color Fred), Josh Eppard (Coheed and Cambria) and Brian Weaver; the band’s talent shined playing tracks off their debut self-titled release. Starting with the song that shares the same name as both the band and album title then slowing it down with “Lullaby”, it was clear the band was capable of playing a varied range of music. Going through the set it seemed almost effortless as Fred and Andy perfectly exchanged vocals with one another. Though many in the audience were not familiar with Terrible Things, the songs had them nodding along. The greatest response came during single “Revolution” as Fred hoped to captivate the newcomers by having them sing the chorus back to him. Closing the set off with “The Arsonist’s Wife”, a strong performance was had and this band shouldn’t be in an opening slot for much longer.
After having a rough year of losing members, their record being pushed back after becoming label-less, and cancelled tours; Mercy Mercedes let this all subside as the band came out with high energy and a positive attitude. Playing an even mix of both new and old songs, singer Nate Smith belted out poppy lyrics while guitarist $B-Real$ counteracted with blaring guitar solos. Having the crowd at the band’s focus the whole time, tracks like “Get It Darlin” and “Believe It” got the audience dancing and most known song “The Perfect Scene” had everyone singing along.
With her raspy voice and tough-girl attitude, Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter commanded the stage as soon as she stepped foot onto it. “Parker” and “Hush” shined through and a cover of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” seemed to perk the audience up. During one song the band demanded fist pumping out of the crowd, due to the relative proximity of the Jersey Shore to NYC. The set relied heavily on songs off recent release Truth Or Dare which had charted 23rd on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
The time everyone was waiting for had finally arrived as Valencia took the stage to a roar of cheers. The band opened with “Consider Me Dead” and then shifted into “Where Did You Go?”. Despite reports of vocalist Shane Henderson being sick, he seemed very lively as he ran around the stage making eye contact with every person in the room. Continuing on, the setlist consisted mainly of songs from 2010’s Dancing With A Ghost and 2008’s We All Need A Reason To Believe.
Thanking the audience for being so great, Shane said “We were going to play one more, but I’m having so much fun let’s play a couple more”.
The band then proceeded to play oldie “Away We Go”, which resulted in an enormous audience reaction and sing-a-long. For “Stop Searching” the members of the other bands on tour came out to join in on vocals. Since this was a Christmas tour, the band also covered “Father Christmas” by The Kinks, which Valencia had also just released a video for. Valencia then played “Holiday”, which received a strong reaction and slowed things down with “I Still Need You Around”, which Shane stated was about his mother.
After that the band walked off stage, but the lights remained dimmed and chanting from the audience ensued. The band broke into new song “Pieces” and the closed with crowd favorite “The Space Between”.
As the night ended, band members walked around eager to meet fans and put a nice ending to this diverse tour.