Rock Music Done Right – Flyleaf Owns the Town Ballroom

Flyleaf are quickly becoming one of the premier rock acts to catch in a live setting and their recent performance at the Town Ballroom was the perfect proof of that. I guess with Flyleaf, the third times a charm as the old saying goes, since this was the third time I have seen them (on the Family Values tour & arena show w/Three Days Grace), and it was without doubt the best I have seen them at yet. I was really, really interested in seeing them in a toned down setting – something out of an arena and away from a festival – and what I got was easily, easily the best live show I have seen on this young year of 2010.

Passionate, kinetic, raw, unbridled, chaotic – these are just some words that merely begin to do Flyleaf’s live show on this night justice. This show was absolutely everything you want to, and should expect to, see when you attend a rock show. Let’s really look at it as ‘Live Rock Show 101.’ Flyleaf literally put on a clinic that had the entire crowd eating of their hands the entire night (no, not literally – that would be kind of weird). It was the kind of show where only the drummer (James Culpepper) was stationary, because you know, he sort of has to be behind the drum kit, but his bandmates more than made up for it. Aside from the fact that guitarist Sameer Bhattacharya wore a hoodie that Pete Wentz probably has hanging in his closet, his guitar work was a big focal point of the show, whether soloing or just basically thrashing about. The tandem of bassist Pat Seals and guitarist Jared Hartmann kept the crowd thoroughly entertained, with Hartmann’s headbanging and perfectly timed jumps and Seals’ all-around maniacal presence. Seals’ was literally everywhere on stage – climbing on top of various speaker stacks and jumping off, on top of the drum riser and jumping off, jumping off the vanity box, etc. If you could find a moment where he was not airborne and entertaining, you are of a select few, because I sure as hell could not. And of course, singer Lacey Mosley was brilliant behind in the mic, clad in her trademark white lace dress, as she belted out word after word of songs that the crowd was singing right back to her.

The bands choice of songs was near perfect, well maybe closer than that, as they ripped through song after song that the crowd wanted to hear, starting with ‘Full Alive,’ before progressing through the night with heavy hitters, both old and new, like, ‘Beautiful Bride,’ ‘Cassie,’ ‘All Around Me,’ ‘Sorrow,’ ‘Again,’ ‘Chasm,’ ‘Missing,’ ‘the Kind,’ ‘Set Apart this Dream,’ ‘In the Dark’ and ‘Swept Away.’ Interestingly, and shockingly, enough, Flyleaf did not take the safe route and end with ‘I’m So Sick,’ yet tossed the hit track into the middle of the set, which ended confusingly with ‘Arise.’ Sure, this makes for a decent closing effort, but the band made no mention that this was going to be their final song, leading to the majority of the crowd staying in attendance until well after the house lights had come up. It didn’t take anything away from the rest of the show however, and it was nice to see the band actually no end with a single. I would have liked to see the band tackle a cover during the set, but I wasn’t complaining when they didn’t.

Flyleaf gave off a real old school rock show vibe that has recently fallen to the wayside, with bands nowadays seemingly more concerned with how their hair looks and how tight their jeans are than really trying to sell out and go for broke entertaining. This band made me feel that there is hope for rock shows yet, and hopefully these guys (and girl, can’t forget you Lacey), will not forget where Buffalo, NY is on the map the next time they hit the pavement for a tour.