Two years passed before We Came As Romans released their latest album, Cold Like War, which is the first full-length through their new alignment with SharpTone Records. Currently, the band is traveling across the country on the Cold Like War tour with The Plot In You, Oceans Ate Alaska, Currents and Tempting Fate. For the Houston, TX tour date, the Detroit natives found themselves at Scout Bar where Music Connection caught the show.
We Came As Romans’ set list comprised well-chosen head bangers. Selections spanned across the band’s discography with songs stemming mostly from the most recent album, Cold Like War (Thank you for playing “Foreign Fire!”). After the band played the title track of their debut album, “To Plant a Seed,” they took a moment to acknowledge and show gratitude to the longtime fans singing in the audience, who are still here with the band after 10 years. One interestingly peculiar detail about the set list is it did not include many songs from We Came As Romans’ self-titled album from 2015—“Regenerate” and “The World I Used to Know” made the cut. In all honesty, this was a smart move, because the new sound the band tried experimenting with didn’t quite catch. The sound did ultimately land marvelously with the latest release, so essentially, the self-titled album cast the first stepping-stone toward Cold Like War.
Without a doubt, with We Came As Romans as the headlining band, the anticipation built every passing minute until it burst when the lights went out, followed by the roar of the crowd in the sold-out venue. Even though Scout Bar is relatively small compared to past stages, the band put on a superb performance. Nevertheless, energy is the name of the game when it comes to We Came As Romans’ performances. The band always starts off the set hard and maintains its high-energy consistency until the very end, and they never disappoint. And Houston’s show was no exception. Every member put on topnotch infectious performances to ensure the audience was always engaged and moving.
In particular, major props to vocalist, Dave Stephens, who was not only performing his usual intense unclean vocals, but he also sang amazingly clean vocals as well. All this while jumping, air kicking and acting as the band’s hype man, inviting the audience to create circle pits and crowd surf to the stage. Watching him work the stage—or anyone in the band, really—could make someone winded, but not once did he or anyone else falter. (Also, color this reviewer pleased that bassist, Andy Glass, had his own microphone to help contribute to the unclean vocals.)
A new addition to the stage setup that hasn’t been seen in previous years was that clean vocalist, Kyle Pavone, had DJ turntables elevated on a platform, which was utilized for the electronic elements in their tunes as well as backup/loop vocals. It’s nice that he has his own station for what he enjoys doing to contribute to the music; however, it was disappointing that he wasn’t as front and center as he was in the past. If he wasn’t singing lead, he was hiding behind his table. He did, however, get the spotlight when segueing into “Encoder” where Pavone and touring drummer, David Puckett, played together with an active colorful light show. Going further, audiences only had the opportunity to witness Pavone and Stephens vibe off each other—singing and screaming in each other’s faces—maybe once throughout the set. No ill will, though, it just means we missed him a little bit!
Undoubtedly, We Came As Romans are a group one must see. The show at Scout Bar was a perfect night to let go of all inhibition and rock out. The band thrives on energy and heavily believes in the notion of rallying together and rising up from being down, which is powerfully delivered in their live show. They ended the set on a high note with staple closer, “Hope,” as a gracious thank you for a great night and leaving the audience dripping in sweat and hungry for more.
Text and photos by Siri Svay
*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.