The Chariot wsg Glass Cloud, Rebuker, Birds In Row & To The Wind
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m.
$12 advance, $14 doors
pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758
Fans of The Chariot will have one last chance to see the band live on its upcoming farewell tour, celebrating the end of 10 years as a band. It will play its final Michigan show in Grand Rapids late this October.
Newcomers to Atlanta-based band will find a music catalog often typified as southern-infused metalcore, aggressive punk and an often-challenged dash of what is known as mathcore. Call it what you may, but the sporadic samples of hillbilly rants or southern classics, interludes of banjo bits or female vocals, choir outbursts, squealing guitar feedback and more, imbued within the non-traditional structure of The Chariot's songs, have proven with every CD release that it's never certain what's around the corner for the band. The very nature of the break-up was unexpected. The announcement appeared very suddenly on the band's website following a full run on its self-proclaimed pinnacle, the Vans Warped Tour.
What can be expected from the band is a display of manic passion during live performances, led by music designed with an ambition for the live setting. The members' impromptu hyperactivity on stage has only occasionally put the band on bad terms with a venue.
"Obviously we've had our beef," said Josh Scogin, vocals. "In Australia, we got kicked out of a venue in Perth, but that was just a really old man who didn't know what he was doing."
"We've always been really good with the venues, "Scogin said. "A lot of them actually end up really liking us. A lot of security guards get really stoked because they're like, 'Man, you know I really enjoyed that,' instead of just standing around doing the same old, same old. I own a venue just outside of Atlanta [The 7 Venue], so I know how it is when someone comes in just to be disrespectful. I don't like that, and we don't ever wish that upon anybody."
Scogin is referring to a performance viewable on YouTube where guitarist Stephen Harrison took his guitar and played it in the venue's cafe annex. As a few fans leaked into the area, a bowl of pears was knocked on the floor, causing the venue staff to shut down the show. The majority of the video shows the band carrying on at an accommodating fan's house afterward, playing its music in the basement, through the windows and on the roof.
The last time The Chariot performed in Grand Rapids was at The Intersection this past March, during which Harrison climbed around on the venue's rafters. In the case of Bled Fest 2011 in Howell, Mich., Scogin commanded an entire high school gymnasium of fans to take the stage, effectively turning the Chariot into a supergroup.
"The Chariot is not a spectator sport," Scogin said. "If you're in the midst of it and you're playing a drum or you're jumping on stage with us, I feel like you'll leave there going, 'Oh, that was fun.' We've always tried to erase the line between the crowd as much as possible ... so for us, the whole goal, the whole mindset, is to never separate us from them because we are them."
This interaction between the band and crowd accentuates The Chariot's trademark "take-it-with-a-trainwreck" style. Nothing is premeditated, no set lists are made (barring the last Warped Tour), and every show ends up looking a little different. The final tour will be a culmination of what The Chariot has accomplished without deviating from the band's representation on stage.
"We're not doing anything extracurricular with crazy lights and all that stuff because that's not really what the Chariot is and that's not really what we've become," Scogin said. "I just want to be in the moment and soaking it all in because this is the last time we'll make these rounds. ... We're going to try and play more songs than we've ever played before, but what songs are they going to be? I have no idea, and we won't know until the minute we're in that set. I think that's such a magical thing for us because you don't know what's coming, and we don't either, so we're all in this together."
The tour will also serve for the fans and band alike to give their final goodbyes under waves of sweat and tears.
"It's probably just going to be one song and a bunch of us crying," Scogin said.