Pierce the Veil’s Misadventures at the Paradise

From somewhere in the crowd a girl yells out, “let’s rock and roll!” It’s 9:32 p.m. and the lights go down at the Paradise Rock Club — a full twelve minutes past the scheduled 9:20 set time, and another twelve minutes tacked onto the four years this audience has been waiting for San Diego, California’s post-hardcore heroes Pierce the Veil to release a new album. The intimate venue is packed from barricade to back wall, the sold-out show a sea of violet and neon green-tinted hair. Even the upper balcony standing room is, well, room-less. Impressive considering the concurrent twenty one pilots show at Agganis Arena just a few doors down. One thing is clear, though: this is the show to be at — the show to prove yourself as a punk rocker of the present age.

Amidst a deafening roar, Pierce the Veil — comprising vocalist and guitarist Vic Fuentes, bassist Jaime Preciado, drummer Mike Fuentes, and lead guitarist Tony Perry — take the tiny stage just an arm’s reach from the front row of the crowd. Without pause, that same crowd rushes forward, surely bruising those at the barricade, as the group launches into the first notes of “Dive In,” a track off their May-released Misadventures, this tour’s namesake. According to Fuentes this is the first and only tour on which they would play an album in full (followed by an encore of two earlier singles: “Bulls in the Bronx” and “King for a Day.”) Mid-song, a shock of red and white confetti erupts into a blizzard. This is blissful for both the band — who vow, “you can’t go wrong with Boston, baby” — and an audience who has long awaited this group’s resurgence.

And the resurgence is a pleasantly surprising one at that. The group has managed to craft an album, and thus a concert set, that remains true to the Pierce the Veil formula of ten years before: a hefty dose of throat-bloodied screaming, a measured adeptness at putting an anthemic spin on grave topics, and a pinch of the emo aesthetic. Fuentes still dons his quintessential Vans, cap, and vibrant shatter-paint Gibsons. Preciado is still as much of a character as ever — chaotically, dizzyingly, comedically spinning around the stage. Really all that’s changed is Tony Perry’s hair (now a short, clean cut far removed from his mullet days.) It’s with only the second song, “Texas is Forever” — displaying the fastest tempo at which the band has ever written — that the crowd-surfing begins. A blur of black skinny jeans and Hot Topic merch-clad limbs swim overhead. Every hand in the room is up in the air: whether out of enthusiasm or lack of room to hang them at one’s sides, I’ll never know.

One certainty is the reckless ambition required of a band like Pierce the Veil, one that can write a song about the Bataclan shooting (“Circles”) and make it an up-tempo radio hit. Fuentes and Preciado playfully weave around each other on a crystalline rainbow flecked stage. Or an anguished and torment-tinged song about the premature death of a loved one, such as “Gold Medal Ribbon,” during which Fuentes encourages the gleeful crowd to get up and dance (or mosh in this case) as beautiful and well-placed magenta and goldenrod geometrics pattern the walls. Or a one-month old album during whose performance the mic can already be passed into the crowd (Along with a pop of streamers. I really don’t envy the clean-up crew at this place.).

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t already know the ins and outs of each track, or that sixteen-year-old-me wouldn’t be all over the red and white varsity jacket peddled at the merch table. “Misadventures?” Not likely.