Atreyu, Fire, Takota and Die at the Bren

‘We are going to do this two more times. … Everybody go nuts. … If you aren’t standing, you are going to look like an asshole,’ said Craig Owens, singer of the hardcore band Chiodos as they played ‘The Words ‘Best Friend’ Becomes Redefined’ for the third time for the filming of their music video.
The Atreyu concert, with openers Takota, Chiodos and Every Time I Die at the Bren Center on Saturday Nov. 18, did not begin or end as painfully.
Orange County-based Takota performed a solid set of 1980s-inspired power pop with Bon Jovi-esque vocals. The high point of their set was when Brandon Saller, drummer for Atreyu, came out to sing with Takota.
Next up was Chiodos. The biggest mistake Chiodos made was using the theme from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ as their entrance music. This epic song sent shivers through my body as I pictured the apes in the film dancing around the black monolith. Chiodos came out dancing and making their best effort to live up to the song by blending roaring with extremely off-key singing.
However, their disjointed screaming hardcore songs entertained the crowd more than any other band, despite their having put us through the pain of listening to them play the same song three times.
Every Time I Die performed next. The band’s brand of hardcore was so severely lacking in creativity that it was difficult to differentiate between songs, but their head-banging and guitar-throwing was at least choreographed to an ear-piercing wall of noise.
Thousands screamed as Atreyu walked on stage accompanied by what sounded like a boxing match announcer. Atreyu had a light show, a four-foot-high drum riser, two platforms on each side of the stage, a wall of amplifiers and three bass drums.
Atreyu stormed through their set with fan favorites such as ‘Ain’t Love Grand’ and newer songs ‘Exs and Ohs’ and their power ballad ‘The Theft.’ Hearing these older and newer tunes back to back, the maturation of their sound was clear. The most recent songs have a more mainstream appeal, something a band like this strives for, without steering too far from their roots.
Without a doubt, the guitarists were the best part of the performance. Instead of jumping around like imbeciles, their concentration was on the intricate guitar solos, each complementing the other. It is difficult to find talent like this that is executed well. Still, it would have been nice if the guitar solos were not covered by the vocals.
Once they completed their set, the band returned in under a minute for their encore, a decision perhaps swayed by the fact that much of the crowd walked out before the encore. Atreyu played a mediocre cover of Bon Jovi’s ‘Living on a Prayer’ to the masses of kids leaving the Bren Center.