On Friday, the eminent hard rock band Underoath put on a finale performance in a livestream series taking place over the course of the past three weeks. The final show focused on the group’s 2004 album They’re Only Chasing Safety, a record which served as a brilliant dichotomy between hard rock and metalcore, bridging the gaps between divisive subgenres.
The virtual concert kicks off with an up-close view of frontman Spencer Chamberlain, with his long curly mane and undeniable stage presence. The venue is dark with the exception of strobe lights illuminating the stage while Underoath’s intense energy creates an ironically spiritual environment. Five cameras capture the performance from every angle and provide a truly VIP experience for the virtual audience. The song titles are introduced onscreen with each fluid transition as the record is played through chronologically. Chamberlain utilizes the microphone stand as a necessary accessory as he travels the space of the stage with a captivating vitality that carries through the screen.
Sonically, the fourth track, “Reinventing Your Exit,” is a standout and serves the breakup track on the diverse record. Chamberlain and drummer/vocalist Aaron Gillespie create a clean vocal dynamic in a song about getting trampled on, time and time again by one person. A 51-second instrumental track, “The Blue Note,” is the metaphorical calm before the storm, dividing the record in half. The evocative song that follows, “It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door,” shows a haunting image of Chamberlain standing solo in dark lighting as he sings the words, “Drowning in my sleep…” with one hand raised in the air.
The seventh track, “Down, Set, Go,” is arguably the catchiest tune on the album with characteristic synth and an upbeat melody which separates it from the others and possesses people to do anything but stand still. “Some Will Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape” is the final track on the 2004 record and it illuminates the subtle Christian themes present in much of Underoath’s earlier records. With the bridge lyrics, “Jesus, I’m ready to come home,” the song is spiritual without crossing the line into worship. The final track is an essential part of a body of work which brought together music lovers from a variety of subgenres and faiths, from emo kids to Christians, teens having their first heartbreak and long-time hardcore lovers.
Frontman Chamberlain takes a moment to address the audience and push forth a positive message about unity, saying, “without live music we’d really be lost,” before introducing the final song in the performance: “I’ve Got Ten Friends and a Crowbar That Says You Ain’t Gonna Do Jack.” The high-energy closer perfectly sums up the praiseworthy series of authentic and inclusive livestream performances from Underoath, leaving fans with excitement for what’s to come when the band makes their in-person return to live music.