Teenagers came in big numbers wearing their faded T-shirts, sneakers, and jeans to Revolution Live to celebrate the sounds of Hawthorne Heights and Jacksonville natives, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Appropriately, the two bands are on their Hope Revolution Tour. And though we hoped the night, which started at 7, would end at a decent hour, it ended up lasting quite a long time. There were four opening acts.
The crowd was getting a bit rowdy waiting for the two headliners to take the stage, something that didn't happen until well after 10 p.m. Not early for a Monday night show in Fort Lauderdale.
Hawthorne Heights celebrated the 10 year anniversary of its album The Silence in Black and White with a performance of the LP from start to finish, including two of its more popular songs "Ohio Is For Lovers" and "Silver Bullet." With strong vocals, heavy guitars, and lots of screaming, it had no problem getting the crowd off their feet, jumping, head-banging, and moshing in the pit.
The band remembered lost member Casey Calvert, who passed away in 2007 by dedicating its performance of "Saying Sorry" to him, a song about suicide. The mood was somber but passionate as the audience soaked up every word and remembered a lost musician as the guys on stage remembered a lost friend.
For the last song of the night, "Ohio Is For Lovers," frontman JT Woodruff jumped off the stage into the pit not far from where we were standing. He held onto the hands of the fans who surrounded him as everyone joined in, singing their hearts out with Woodruff to one of the band's most beloved songs.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus finally took the stage after a final sound-check and intermission. It was greeted by ecstatic fans who went nuts the moment Ronnie Winter walked on stage donning a backward baseball cap. For a guy who had to cancel previous shows due to a bad case of bronchitis, he looked great and sounded on point.
Winters delivered the powerful and haunting vocals he's known for while the rest of the guys provided heavy guitar and drums to back him up. He interacted with the fans, talking to them in between songs and even asking for song requests, although it did seem that he already had a master plan.
There didn't seem to be one disappointed fan in the crowd as Winters belted out some new songs off their latest album 4 including "The Right Direction," "California," and "Remember Me," but the majority of the set consisted of old favorites.
"Your Guardian Angel" is a beautiful ballad and one of their most requested songs at shows, so when Winters announced he was about to play it, the crowd screamed happily. He welcomed his girlfriend to the stage to join him for a special duet performance. Hearing this band live is a million times better than listening to them on the radio, and there's no questioning the raw power and beauty of Winter's vocals -- whether he's making his fans tear up with a ballad or getting them to jump with his commanding screams.
The show ended after a performance of the song that put the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on the map, "Face Down," and everyone seemed to be singing along and finishing the chorus for Winters as he grinned and complimented the crowd for doing so, something he seemed to get a real high from. Despite the crowd's chants for "one more song" that was the final number of the night and with that, the place emptied out with a bunch of swooning fans wishing Winters had pulled them onto the stage to sing "Guardian Angel" with him.
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