Flyleaf – Live at The Pageant

One hour before the doors of The Pageant open hundreds of people are already lined up to grab the best seats for Monday night’s show.  Once the doors open the crowd scurries to their favorite location in this general admission venue to stake their claim.  Local favorite Story of the Year and the headliner Flyleaf are scheduled to entertain.  The balcony is closed this evening so the Pageant crowds up early.  While waiting for the opening act I’m surprised that the nearby chatter is more about Story of the Year than Flyleaf. Prior to naming themselves Story of the Year this band’s beginnings started in 1995 as 67 North followed by the name Big Blue Monkey.  When this St. Louis group released their EP under the indie label Criterion Records in 2002 they changed their name to Story of the Year.  This was so they would not be confused with the Blues band already named Big Blue Monkey.  They definitely have a strong loyal following because when they take the stage the fans go crazy. Dan Marsala (vocals) and the gang storm the stage grinning from ear to ear.  You can tell they are happy to be back home performing in front of the people who have cherished them from the beginning.  They start the night with the song “The Antidote” off of their 2008 album The Black Swan. The pit begins doing its thing and to my surprise a good portion of the crowd is singing along with Dan.  Apparently St. Louis is as loyal to their bands as they are their baseball. It is difficult to classify this band.  Are they alternative rock, punk metal, post-hardcore?  I guess a fair sound comparison would be to My Chemical Romance.  Their sound is captivating.  The stage antics of guitarists Ryan Phillips, Phillip Sneed and bassist Adam Russell are well orchestrated using every inch of the stage.  At one point Philip Sneed lands a back flip off of a speaker while Adam Russell works his way through the crowd and ends up standing on the bar in the back of the room.  They obviously know how to work the crowd. As the night escalates, so does the rambunctiousness of the band and the fans.   After all this is the same band that was in a fist fight with the roadies of Godsmack.  They end the night with their most notable song “Until the Day I Die” off of their first album Page Avenue. You can’t describe the enigmatic feel in the room.  It was a culmination of an eight year following of their best selling single that filled the room with an aura of St. Louis pride.  It was a song sang verbatim by a loyal mass.  When it was over the crowd pleaded for more and Dan reassured them all that they would schedule another local show soon. For those of us who caught Flyleaf open up the main stage at Pointfest, we knew we were in store for a good show.  Flyleaf is a band made up of five Christians but doesn’t want to be defined as a Christian rock group.  Their songs are influenced by their faith but are ambiguous enough that they can tour with such metal groups as Disturbed, Stone Sour, Seether, and Avenged Sevenfold.  Flyleaf assembled in 2000 but crowd favorite Pat Seals did not join until 2002.  They released their first self titled album in 2005 with their first single “I’m So Sick” which was followed by “Fully Alive” and “All Around Me.”  Somehow this band is able to send a positive message in their metal-esque style of music.  The anticipation of the powerful vocals of 4’10” Lacey Mosley can be sensed with the repeated chant of the band’s name.  Flyleaf! Flyleaf! The lights dim, the roars encompass the room as Flyleaf begins the night with “In the Dark” but, something’s not right.  Lacey’s voice is drowned out by the band’s music.  Surely whoever is behind the sound board can hear this and will have it corrected by the next song.  “Beautiful Bride” is next on the setlist but still no adjustments.  This was the case for the entire evening with Flyleaf.  It was such a huge disappointment.  Lacey Mosley has arguably one of the best vocals in this chick rock era and to see it come from such a tiny frame is a truly amazing sight.  I’ve heard it.  I’ve seen it.  I became an instant fan at Poinfest but unfortunately it couldn’t be appreciated tonight. There were some bright spots for the night though.  Watching Lacey spin with her arms stretched out as she looks to the sky just makes your whole body smile.  Her positive messages in between songs were a refreshing change.  Her openness of her childhood and personal life make you feel like she is now a close personal friend.  Another highlight was the fearful sight of Pat Seals.  His evil eyes and dirty beard makes your soul cringe.  Couple that with his masterful bass playing and his energetic launches off of the speakers and you can’t help but be entertained.  Flyleaf is undeniably an amazing rock band.  I still believe they are a must see but they are in need of a new sound board operator so that their true talent can be heard and appreciated by the fans.

By Tom Sorcabal