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Chevelle, Janus, Middle Class Rut; Hats Off To The Bull Tour 03-14-2012

Hats Off To the Bull Tour
March 14th, 2012
Sokol Auditorium
Omaha, Nebraska

Walking a few blocks from my car to the venue, I saw a Scalper sell two tickets for tonight’s show for 67 dollars a piece. Thus far, every show on Chevelle’s Hats Off to the Bull tour have sold out. Something that Pete Loeffler, Chevelle’s lead singer, admitted to us after the show, is “very rare. Especially an entire tour for us. Especially with today’s economy.” Packed from wall to wall, front to back. The show sold out two weeks before tonight’s show.

Janus used their time to whip the crowd into submission. Vocalist, David Scotney, climbed off stage several times during the band’s set, hopped up on the barricade and leaned into the crowd, mic in hand. And while it’s the norm to have a drummer hidden behind their kit, Johnny Salazar was just as energetic as bass player Alan Quitman and Guitarist Mike Tyranski. The band played lot of new material off their sophomore release, Nox Aeris. It’s great to see the crowd jamming out to tracks that the vast majority have never heard before. Scotney told the crowd that Numb, off of the band’s upcoming release, is one of the heaviest tracks on the new album and was beyond amazing to hear live. It’s rare that a crowd is given a chance to hear new music before an album is released, especially in a live setting. Janus ended their 1/2 hour set with Eyesore. One of two tracks played off of their first album and the song that got the best reaction out of the fans.

Middle Class Rut hit the stage after Janus. MCR has really grown as a band since the last time I saw them open for Filter.

Hammering into the crowd as only Chevelle can, the band opened their hour and a half long set with Antisaint. The crowd’s reaction was bombastic. I took the chance to look at the upper balcony during their second song of the evening, Letter From a Thief, and swear I could see the balcony vibrating from the constant assault of jumping bodies. It was during Same Old Trip that I noticed the barricades were starting to buckle and the number of crowd surfers diving into the pit was becoming a steady stream. The band took a short break to wipe the condensation off their gear. Sokol Auditorium is notorious for turning into a sauna if more that a few hundred people enter the building. Tonight’s show sold out with roughly three thousand.
“You guys really like it hot and sweaty, don’t ya,” Pete asked the crowd before dazzling us with a slowed down version of Closure. Stage lights flooded the venue, bathing the crowd in eery shades of green and purple. Pete’s throaty growls giving the track a more threatening undertone. Fans held thier places until the final verse and started bouncing in unity. They kept the momentum going, raised fists pumping, well into Jars. I heard more than one person around me talking about the amazing light show that Chevelle had brought with them on this tour. Forfeit, always a fan favorite to hear live, followed Jars and the crowd showed no sign of slowing. Neither did the band for that matter. It’s ironic that Forfeit always gets the bruisers in the crowd pumped up into a moshpit, because the track is about making fun of the douchebags who only go to shows to cause trouble. Yeah, I’m talking to you Mr Drunk Frat Boy who buys his beers six at a time. After the fans settled down, Pete pointed out the bra hanging from his mic, joking to bassist Dean Bernardini that Dean needed one too, and asking the crowd for “donations”. No one threw another on stage but it makes me wonder if guys have thrown their jockstraps on stage at Amy Lee when Evanescence performs.
The fans all raised their voices during Vitamin R and did an amazing job mirroring Pete’s vocals, except for the drunk guy standing next to me that was pumping his fists at irregular intervals.
It was almost creepy to see so many bodies seething during The Clincher. Sweat dripping off the ceiling and steam rising off of their drenched bodies.
Almost without warning, the stage flashed with brilliant rainbow lights. It was adorable to listen to the drunk idiots around me trying to sing along with I Get It, but the drunks redeemed themselves during the sing-a-long version of Send The Pain Below. After all these years, I still find it touching when the fans raise their lit lighters into the air during a tracks performance.
More brilliant stage light drenched the crowd as Pete, Sam and Dean plunged into Wonder What’s Next, Pete almost scolding the crowd while singing, “Yes I mind. It’s not your turn.”
Wasting no time with a long break before the encore we all knew would happen, Pete came back on stage and played the first half of The Red solo. Strumming his guitar, fans rasing more lighters and cell phones, their voices raised as one.
The band ended their 19 song set with their current singe, Face To the Floor. Pete thanked the crowd for helping make Chevelle history by selling out tonight’s show, which is the second to last of this tour.
Tonight wasn’t without it’s glitches though. This was one of the lamest crowds I’ve ever seen at Sokol Auditorium. The venue was packed with annoying, screaming teenage girls, and drunk frat boys. It wouldn’t be a show at Sokol without seeing some drunken douchebag being hauled out wearing handcuffs and we got to see this happen half a dozen times. Thankfully, the bands put on an amazing show and everyone I spoke with was blown away by the evenings show. One fan even went as far as to say that this was the best show they’ve ever seen Chevelle perform. As much as I adore the band, I would have to agree. Each time I see Chevelle seems to be better then the last.

Janus setlist;

In Flames
Six Letters Sent
Promise No One

Chevelle Setlist;

Letter From A Thief
Another Know It All
Hats Off To The Bull
Sleep Apnea
Same Old Trip
Vitamin R
The Clincher
Comfortable Liar
I Get It
Send The Pain Below
Wonder What’s Next

The Red
Face to the Floor

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