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Pierce the Veil are back – review

It’s been a while, right? Six years, in fact, since Pierce the Veil last played a UK stage. But, with their new album, The Jaws of Life, just months away, the legendary emo quartet made their long-awaited return to prove they still had it. And they pulled out all the stops.

Pierce the Veil took the stage at the O2 Forum Kentish Town with the first two songs from their legendary 2012 album, Collide with the Sky – May These Noises Startle You In Your Sleep and Hell Above. As soon as the first buzzing intro hit the last, the room exploded. Obviously, the fans were dying to see this incredible group play again, and it was absolutely palpable.

Singer Vic Fuentes’ voice, a decade after the release of these tracks, somehow drew even more from his playing. After another decade of vocal experience and flexibility, this is the best the thirty-something star has ever sounded.

Pierce the Veil soon dropped their new song, Pass the Nirvana, an explosive demonstration of how they always, and still do, lead their genre with a unique sound that cannot be replicated. Considering it was probably the band’s second time playing the track in the UK, it was a treat. His sold-out show absolutely devoured this new bite from his forthcoming album.

It also turned out to be a point for Pierce the Veil. After experiencing Pass the Nirvana in real time, no one could say that the band depends on their old material to survive. Sure, there’s a lot of nostalgia in his music and his fandom, but this is a glimpse into his future. And they know it too. Vic couldn’t stop smiling through the track, because he knew it was worth screaming for. The same was true for Emergency Contact, another hit from his forthcoming fifth studio album. Though much slower and more reserved, it showcased the fluidity of the singer’s voice, as well as the poetic flourishing of the band’s lyrics that have been ever-present since their 2007 debut.

Of course, some of the band’s classic hits, like the incredible Caraphernalia, brought the house down completely. There are few bands in the world that can pull off such an exaggerated and titanic sound with so many vocal changes and nuances, but PTV, again, built a perfect house for them and settled into it. This was also a particularly close demonstration of drummer Loniel Robinson’s creativity and stamina. While he may not have written these songs, he elevated them in a new way. He dropped hints of his own personality on him and became a true member of the band.

Few songs overnight had a bigger reaction than Hold On Till May, a lilting sonnet that gave the band room to step back and watch nearly 2,500 people taking their own set in front of them. The voices of the die-hard fans overshadowed Vic and the team’s instruments, and Pierce the Veil seemed as if they themselves couldn’t believe it.

Vic finished off the encore with an acoustic version of Stained Glass Eyes and Colorful Tears (allowing him to prove again that, yes, he still had more in him and was willing to use it), before going into King for a Day. The song that defined the generation is still as good as when it was released, and perhaps even more poignant in some ways as the energy crisis looms.

The crowd could have dissected another hour of songs, but in a way, it wasn’t about them. Pierce the Veil looked like they came on stage with something to prove; it is easy to imagine why. As mentioned, they haven’t been to the UK for six years and their comeback tour sold out in minutes. This is also the first series of shows with a new drummer and a new album to promote at the same time. Vic also said that he too is expecting the birth of his first child in February. There was probably a lot of pressure on the band from several different angles. With this in mind, Vic, guitarist Tony Perry, and bassist Jaime Preciado performed with all the energy and finesse they had, and it paid off. It was as if the room felt their passion and longing to show how they and their music are still worth our time.

In the end, they got it. Pierce the Veil were a triumph. They put on one of the best shows of the year, welcoming everyone into their family, and probably working up an appetite for the release of their new album, out on February 10, 2023.

And if Pierce the Veil returns to the UK in 2023, I don’t doubt they’ll sell out for another tour in minutes.

Pierce the Veil are on tour now. Get tickets here.

Pierce the Veil’s new album, The Jaws of Life, will hit stores on February 10, 2023.



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