With two summer long endeavors on the Vans Warped tour under their belts, the Florida based bandVersaEmerge head out on their first headlining tour two short months later. VersaEmerge released their first full-length album titled "Fixed At Zero" in late June, producing hundreds of new loyal vultures over the course of the past four months. Recently, they were featured on the hit television show "World Of Jenks", in which lead singer Sierra Kusterbeck was followed around by cameras during four dates of Warped Tour, unveiling some of her deepest secrets. Since then, swarms of new fans have been heading out to their nearest venue in order to catch a glimpse of what VersaEmerge is really about in an intimate performance on the Vultures Unite Tour.
The Paper Melody, a local band from Yuba City, CA, was given the wonderful opportunity to act as an opening band on this tour for the show at The Boardwalk in Orangevale, CA. Although they appear to be your typical four-piece band, The Paper Melody has something that is not common in the music industry. All four members sing on each track, creating a unique sound with as much power packed into it as possible. With this being said, they also put on one hell of a performance. Whether it be Jill slamming notes on her bass or Sean screaming into his mic while playing the drums, they got a crowd full of vultures to transform instantly into being interested in the music that they were pitching. Even with playing a very short set, The Paper Melody put on a live performance that was very powerful for a local band, gaining many more fans by the time the night was over.
Up next was Conditions, a five piece all male band from Richmond, VA. Playing mostly songs from their newest album “Fluorescent Youth” (2010), Conditions immediately grasped the attention of each teen and adult in the venue. Combining the sounds of hard rock and pop, Conditions come on stage full force in order to really create a wow factor for their audience. Not only did they do this, but also they were able to maintain this same feeling throughout their set list; eliminating any chance of boredom or for any person in the crowd to leave without being totally impressed by their music. Lead singer Brandon Roundtree traveled around from stage left to stage right in order to ensure that everyone listening was having a great time hearing their music, whether or not it be for the first time. Standing on wooden boxes pushed to the edge of the stage, Brandon was able to get even closer to the crowd than a lot of singers dare to do which made for a more intimate feeling between him and each individual; even the sweat off of his face was being dripped onto each new fan. Don’t get me wrong though, nobody was complaining. With the type of live performance Conditions puts on, there is no way to leave one of their shows being anything less than a fan. I, myself, have even found their newest album on repeat since I got home that night.
The Dangerous Summer is a unique four-piece band from Ellicott City, MD that produces an indie/rock sound to attract fans. Playing songs such as “Settle Down” and “Good Things”, they were able to get the crowd singing along to the chorus with little effort; knowing that they would leave the show with a few new fans. Lead singer and guitarist AJ Perdomo did an outstanding job at making eye contact with most individuals in the crowd in order to make sure everyone was really listening to the messages that he was singing about. In only a thirty minute set, The Dangerous Summer was able to captivate audience members in order to transform them into frequent listeners of their band. It was apparent through the way they were playing that they were giving it absolutely every ounce of energy they had in their bodies in hopes to gain new followers, and this is just what happened. After their set, I heard many murmurs around me discussing the band and how much they enjoyed their performance. Overall, they did an excellent job performing many great songs live for an audience of mostly new faces.
With a successful track record of two full length CDs and many successful tours, Anarbor was shown to be the better-known band when it came to openers for this tour. Coming from Phoenix, AZ, this pop-rock band made an everlasting impression on both old and new fans by performing hits from a combination of their newest albums. Between head slamming and movements into the crowd, Anarbor had each person in the venue completely locked on their performance and tuned out from the outside world. After about fifteen minutes of their set, lead singer Slade Echeverria entertained the crowd with humorous story of an event that happened on the drive to the venue the previous night, in which he accidently sipped on guitarist Mike Kitlas’ urine, thinking it was Coca Cola. Using this story as an ice breaker, the crowd felt instantly at ease and the connection grew even stronger between the four band members and each teenager packed in front of the stage. With a radiant stage presence that differed from the other three bands that performed before them, Anarbor blasted the venue with energy and high paced music in order to really make an impression not only on fans, but also on the adults that were in the bar area. Jumping in sync to every beat of the music, it was apparent that the audience was in love with the music that was ringing through their ears and the performance that was being put on in front of them. Although most people seemed to already know who Anarbor was before they took stage, I can guarantee you that they gained a few new dedicated listeners due to their impressively energetic and intimate performance.
Using three phases of the universe (space, sky, and forest) as a background for the album, the path for VersaEmerge's set was easily defined as these same three elements that many vultures have grown to love. Starting out with the single "Fixed At Zero", a passionate feeling of energy was shown through the crowd as they enjoyed their adventure through space. Instant eye locks and hand holding took place by Sierra, bassist Devin Ingelido, and guitarist Blake Harnage, making the crowd feel an instant friendship begin, continuing throughout their set. By the time the musical transition from space to sky occurred, each individual in the venue was completely zoned in to the cinematic presentation that was being delivered right in front of his or her eyes. During this phase, VersaEmerge played "Up There" which is a fan favorite due to its strong lyrical meaning. With fingers pointing towards the sky, every vulture, whether old or new, was singing full force with their eyes closed in order to truly understand what was going on around them. With the type of performance that VersaEmerge put on, it was impossible for anyone in The Boardwalk venue to be anything but in awe and speechless. The final stage, forest, came at a time that seemed to be too soon because everyone was so completely zoned in. "Lost Tree" was performed by surprise due to vulture request, which came as a total shock to most because it is not necessarily the type of song that is commonly performed at a live event. However, this was my personal favorite song of the entire concert. The way Sierra sang it was different than she had been singing the entire night; it was very obvious how deeply involved she is with this song. After the intense lyrical section of the song, Sierra moved to the back of the stage with unofficial drummer Chris Pollock where she hit the symbals in que, creating an even more spiritual vibe in the room. The journey through the forest was then over, and VersaEmerge exited through side stage after an amazing performance. However this was not the end. They returned full force with an old fan favorite titled "Clocks". Holding the mic out for fans all around to sing along, Sierra delivered a performance on this song that truly made the band go out with a bang. Whether it be crowd surfing on the vultures that stood front row or in synch head slamming while playing an instrument, VersaEmerge put on a performance that was none like I have ever seen from them before. I highly suggest each and every one of you to attend one of their shows in the future because I guarantee you it will be nothing like you have ever heard or seen before. Take an adventure through the three elements that have vultures all around the world raving about; give the escape that they provide a chance.