Tenth Row's Epic EP Release Show
Last week was an important one for Tenth Row.
The post-hardcore heavyweights made their triumphant return to live performance on Friday, celebrating the release of their much-anticipated debut EP Rest Well at The Masquerade after two years of inactivity following the passing of original lead vocalist Kevin Scheidt in 2016. (For more on that story, be sure to read my first article on the band's unexpected comeback.) Joining Tenth Row on the Purgatory stage were 3 outstanding fellow local bands, all of whom share a close bond with the show’s headliners – namely Stay Here, Blurry, and The Callous Daoboys.
To say that it was an unforgettable night would be an understatement.
Stay Here kicked things off with a tight, energetic opening set showcasing the driving guitar riffs and gripping, evocative melodies that have been earning the emo/alternative group a dedicated local following since the moment they first emerged in the Atlanta scene nearly two years ago. Following a performance of their newest single, “Piedmont” (which has quickly become a fan favorite), the band wrapped things up with an electrifying rendition of Underoath’s “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door”, dedicated to Kevin Scheidt and featuring Tenth Row’s Ian Riley as a guest vocalist.
Next up were Blurry, who rattled the walls of Purgatory with wave after wave of gritty, blaring, at times dense & atmospheric guitar, thunderous bass, and pounding drums. Living up to their name, the heavy alt-punk outfit (who recently entered their fourth year) seemed to conjure up a mesmerizing sonic haze from which no one in attendance could escape (not that they’d want to, anyway).
The third act of the night, The Callous Daoboys , wasted no time in reminding the audience what makes them one of the most talked about live bands in Atlanta. Frenetic and unhinged, the Daoboys set off an explosion of pure, unadulterated musical madness that quickly engulfed every soul in the room, and did so with the utmost skill and precision. The mathcore sextet even performed a brand new song - entitled “Flip Flops At a Funeral” - from their (currently untitled) forthcoming full-length studio album.
And then came Tenth Row.
As the band took to the stage, accompanied by the applause of performers and spectators alike, one couldn’t help but feel as if they were witnessing history in the making. After exchanging glances while guitarist Zak Washburn stirred up a whirlpool of screeching feedback, the quartet launched headlong into a powerful and emotionally charged run-through of Rest Well in its entirety, along with their first single, “Feeding”, and a brand new song entitled “Grieve”. Most of the audience seemed to know every word of every song from the band’s EP, and many of those in attendance made it a point to scream each lyric as loudly as possible, their voices joining in a glorious cacophony.
One of the highlights of Tenth Row’s set was, undoubtedly, the official debut of Jessica Michael as the band’s new lead vocalist. Hers was a riveting, game-changing performance; one that erased even the slightest doubt as to whether or not she (or anyone, for that matter) would be fully able to take up the mantle of her predecessor and lead Tenth Row boldly into the future. Passionate, aggressive, and charismatic, Michael was an instant hit with her audience, and proved herself more than capable of faithfully carrying on Kevin Scheidt’s legacy alongside the latter’s surviving bandmates.
As Tenth Row brought the show to its conclusion, it was clearly evident that the significance of what had just occurred was not lost on anyone – especially not those with whom the band had shared the stage that evening.
Reflecting on the group’s new start, Julian Chawla of Stay Here remarked, “It’s the coolest fucking thing. The record is amazing and so important, and it’s inspiring to see them overcome what they have.”
Blurry’s Tyler Sidney, visibly thrilled, said, “Yeah, it’s very cool. They’re such a big influence on us, and it’s really great to see them keep going.”
Carson Pace, the lead vocalist of The Callous Daoboys, expressed not only enthusiasm for the band’s return, but also for what the future holds for them; “It’s awesome that they’ve come back after Kevin’s passing. And I think I’m most excited about what’s next - what they do after this EP with Jess.”
One would be hard pressed to find a single person who attended the show that didn’t share such sentiments, recognizing the profound impact that Tenth Row’s return is sure to have on the local music scene. Here’s to a bright future for the band that’s been to the brink and back.
Long Live the Art Machine.
Photo Credit: Ariana Simon