By Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
Something that is not done with much acclaim in the rock industry lately is the idea of concept albums. Albums that have a central theme and story weaved through them to create a greater experience for the listener when sticking their headphones in. One band that is taking that idea to a new level is Starset, who just released their third and newest concept album Divisions. Set in a fictional dystopian future where the public are being mind controlled by technology. To combat this, Starset set off on their Divisions Tour and setting up demonstrations at every stop to break their captive audience free from the mind control. Bringing with them on these demonstrations was Palisades, Hyde, and A Brilliant Lie (who I unfortunately missed). Walking into the venue there was a couple giant TV’s setup from our supposed brain washers, informing us about the pleasantries that were to take place. It was time to break free.
The first band I got to see is a megastar in Japan and has a very dedicated fan base in the States. That would be the one and only Hyde. I got to see him earlier this year sell out 1720 by himself, so it was a little strange seeing him play so early on the bill. None the less, Hyde brought his black lights and neon paint the citizens of LA to give them a show. Coming out as almost a visual kei style Joker wearing a phantom of the opera mask, Hyde got his set started with “Who’s Gonna Save Us.” Surrounding himself with 4 panels of black lights, his neon reactive contacts popped so brightly making him look like a madman. Even though he was the second band to perform, Hyde commands the stage with such charisma that his dedicated fan base turned out in droves filling the venue screaming and singing along to every song with such passion. you could have sworn he was headlining. Playing through songs mostly off his latest album Anti like, “Fake Divine,” “Sick,” “Another Moment,” and his latest single “Mad Qualia.” Hyde is always a joy to watch and puts on a phenomenal show for the fans. Even jumping into the crowd at one point to let them sing right up next to him.
Full Hyde gallery below:
Up next was the New Jersey boys Palisades, who we got to see earlier this year with Nothing More. While watching this set something seemed different than the last time. I later learned that lead singer Louis Miceli had to miss this tour due to some health issues, and bassist Brandon Elgar was filling in on lead vocal duties. Though Elgar had a lot of energy and ferocity in his voice, the show did seem different to me. But I was in the minority there as the crowd was eating Palisades up and loving Elgar as the temporary front man. Guitarists Xavier Adames and Matthew Marshall were perfect on their respective axes. Slaying the solos and pumping up the crowd with the melodies. Drummer Aaron kept the beats steady and heavy, giving the patrons a solid rhythm to head bang to. Playing through songs like “Shed My Skin,” “Through Hell,” “Fragile Bones,” and “Ways to Disappear.” But it was when Palisades got to their last two songs “Let Down” and “Erase the Pain,” that was when the crowd lost it. Reaching over the barricade to try and touch the musicians they adore, Palisades ended on a high note. And I must admit, Elgar won me over with those last two songs. Though I do wish Miceli a speedy recovery, so he can rejoin the band soon.
Full Palisades gallery below:
As a white curtain draped over the stage, the overture of “A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FUTURE” played over the PA. All of a sudden the imagery of the band was projected onto the white curtain. As the music swelled, more people were images of people walking up and standing behind the band were projected on the curtain as the demonstration has arrived. The curtain dropped as Starset hit the stage opening with “MANIFEST.” The band was formerly touring wearing makeshift spacesuits but have changed it up to a post-apocalyptic attire for the theme of their new album Divisions. Looking like Tusken Raiders from Star Wars mixed with Mad Max characters, Starset were there to create a whole theatre experience with their set. Lead singer Dustin Bates was the only one not wearing the futuristic goggles of the group, instead opting for black grease paint smeared across his eyes. Guitarist Brock Richards finds a way to blend futuristic sounding guitar tones with heavy hard rock riffs creating melodies that help transport you to the world of Starset. While bassist Ron DeChant and drummer Luke Holland blend together beats that keep the fans grooving and swaying throughout the show. For being a hard rock band, the boys of Starset are backed by a Cellist Mariko Muranaka Friend and violin/keyboardist Siobhán Cronin who help round out the alternative rock sound they create in each record. Performing songs off all three albums like “Monster,” “WHERE THE SKIES END,” “TELEKINETIC,” “TRIALS,” and performing a beast of a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” Starset was there to set free the minds of people enslaved by technology.
Halfway through the set, the band ran off the stage to go for a quick intermission while a pre-recorded video played. The video had a Pleasantville feel to it, as an animated head talked about how we are going to be better off submitting to the new order of technology. When the feed cut out and Matrix style code ran across the screen before a 2-minute timer came on. As the fans counted down the last 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…Starset came back on stage dawning their spacesuit attires from the previous concept album Vessels. Rocketing into “Carnivore” this was when the light show truly started. Fog machines were blasting up and out over the audience as we flew off with the band. With songs like “Bring it Down,” “OTHER WORLDS THAN THESE,” and “Unbecoming,” the fans were going crazy for the star studded band members. Going into their final song, the hit “My Demons” a laser light show shot across the stage and into the audience creating a spectacle most bands don’t even include in their more extravagant lighting rigs.
Full Starset gallery below:
Starset created an atmosphere that transported the citizens of LA out of this city, state, and world into another universe created and molded by Starset. The Regent Theatre was more than just a concert venue that night as the demonstration that was the Divisions Tour freed our minds from technology that was built to corrupt us. Hyde brought a black light show and passion that created even more diehard fans that night. While Palisades brought the heaviest set of the night, and got people head banging throughout the Regent. With Divisions just coming out a couple weeks ago and already charting in top 10 spots, we can only imagine how high Starset can fly from here.